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dc.contributor.authorOlley, K
dc.date.accessioned2017-11-17T11:56:55Z
dc.date.available2017-11-17T11:56:55Z
dc.date.issued2018-02-01
dc.identifier.urihttps://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/269373
dc.description.abstractIn spite of the frequent characterization of the maternal body as a site of genealogical corruption and change in Old Norse legendary literature, it is rarely depicted at the moment of its greatest transformation, when pregnancy gives way to labour and birth. The article explores attitudes toward birth in the fornaldarsögur and the Poetic Edda by examining those rare but graphic scenes of labour which do survive. From Borgný’s traumatic labour in Oddrúnargrátr, which can only be eased by Oddrún’s attendance, to the pregnancy of Völsungr’s mother in Völsunga saga, which drags on for six years until her son must be cut from her body, to the elfin woman in Göngu-Hrólfs saga, who must endure nineteen days of labour until human intervention speeds the process along: such scenes demonstrate that danger arises chiefly when a birth is prolonged or delayed. The article examines how the drama of prolonging birth extends a liminal moment between the hope of new life and the threat of death, emphasizing birth as a communal process, in which multiple identities, including those of the parents, child and even the midwife, must be (re)negotiated in order to bring the birth to a successful conclusion. Thus scenes of giving birth encapsulate moments of changing identity or ‘scenes of becoming’ wherein a child (in particular a firstborn child) is both created by its parents and creates them in turn, entering them into new kinship roles as mothers and fathers in the genealogical matrix.
dc.description.sponsorshipThis work was supported by an AHRC-Trinity studentship (2015–2018) from the Arts and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Training Partnership (AHRC DTP) together with Trinity College, Cambridge (grant number AH/L503897/1). I am further indebted to Trinity College, Cambridge for the Research Scholarship which has assisted my research.
dc.languageEnglish
dc.publisherCambridge Colloquium in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic
dc.subjectChildbirth
dc.subjectOld Norse Literature
dc.titleLabour Pains: Scenes of Birth and Becoming in Old Norse Legendary Literature
dc.typeArticle
prism.endingPage77
prism.publicationDate2018
prism.publicationNameQuaestio Insularis: Selected Proceedings of the Cambridge Colloquium in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic
prism.startingPage46
prism.volume18
dc.identifier.doi10.17863/CAM.15591
dcterms.dateAccepted2017-09-01
rioxxterms.versionVoR
rioxxterms.licenseref.urihttp://www.rioxx.net/licenses/all-rights-reserved
rioxxterms.licenseref.startdate2018-02-01
dc.contributor.orcidOlley, Katherine [0000-0002-3077-9399]
rioxxterms.typeJournal Article/Review
cam.orpheus.successThu Jan 30 12:58:48 GMT 2020 - The item has an open VoR version.
rioxxterms.freetoread.startdate2100-01-01


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