Childhood in early Icelandic society : representations of children in the Icelandic Sagas

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Dokumentart: ConferenceObject
Date: 2002
Language: English
Faculty: 5 Philosophische Fakultät
Department: Sonstige - Neuphilologie
DDC Classifikation: 890 - Literatures of other languages
Keywords: Saga , Island
Other Keywords:
Iceland , Childhood , representations of children , Íslendingasögur
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Drawing especially on the research of the past decade, including works such as Shulamith Shahar’s 'Childhood in the Middle Ages' (1992) and Sally Crawford’s 'Childhood in Anglo-Saxon England' (1999), I have come to the conclusion that representations of children in the Icelandic sagas suggest that the thirteenth century Icelanders acknowledged an early phase of life, childhood, which was distinct from the latter phases of life, adulthood. Unlike Western twentieth century attitudes towards childhood, however, the thirteenth century Icelanders did not sentimentalize childhood, but rather viewed it as a learning stage, a crucial period for the acquisition of culture. My paper will examine specific representations of children from the Icelandic Íslendingasögur, detailing what we can learn about thirteenth century Icelandic attitudes towards children from such representations.

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