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Women in Old Norse Society: A Portrait
Jenny Jochens captures in fascinating detail the lives of women in pagan and early Christian Iceland and Norway: their work, sexual behavior, marriage customs, reproductive practices, familial relations, leisure activities, religious practices, and legal constraints and protections. Much of this information also applies to everyday life in the entire Germanic world. Convey ...more
Paperback, 284 pages
Published March 26th 1998 by Cornell University Press
(first published January 1st 1996)
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Feb 05, 2016 Michael rated it really liked it
Jochens' book is an extremely informative treatment of Old Norse culture, specifically women's role in it both before and after Christianity. She explores the ways in which society exhibited both continuum and decisive change in reaction to the new religion, drawing heavily from contemporary sagas, the sagas of the Icelanders, and the old Norse laws. Jochens extrapolates from these sources — despite, or perhaps because of, a critical stance toward their accuracy — information about the cultures ...more
It cannot be overstated how excellent of a book this is, and how seminal to the growing body of work on women in Norse society. Jochens research is extensive and well-documented, while her analysis helps clarify some of the muddier aspects of Scandinavian culture and the roles of women within it. If you only get one book on this subject, you can do no better than this one.