“Obey My Will or Suffer”: Violence against Women in Icelandic Folk Legends
This article will look at how domestic and sexual violence against women is presented in the Icelandic folk legend collections from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Gender-based violence is a subject relatively absent in Icelandic legend collections which were mostly told, collected and published by men (the exception being the collection of Torfhildur Þorsteinssdóttir Hólm). Violence plays a role in the subordination of women, and there is good reason to consider how violence against women is portrayed in the oral legends of the past. I will among other things consider the effect these particular legends might have had on those who heard them and examine the roles of the legends in maintaining and shaping a discourse which in many cases may well have attempted to normalise this violence.