The discourse of dreams in medieval saga writing

  • Christopher Crocker University of Iceland

Abstract

Abstract: The dreams described and discussed in the medieval Icelandic sagas always seem to bear some profound connection to the events of waking life. Scholars have often considered how this aspect of the medieval narratives may reflect either native, pre-Christian beliefs common to the medieval Nordic world or foreign literary traditions imported to the area during the later Middle Ages. Interestingly, several such examinations focus on certain passages in the sagas wherein disputes arise over the perceived significance – or insignificance – of a given dream. However, a close exploration of several such passages – within their respective narrative contexts – seems to reveal more complex attitudes towards the perceived significance of dreams to waking life in the sagas than scholars have sometimes allowed for. Moreover, the discourse of dreams employed by medieval saga writers and used to communicate to their medieval audience may ultimately resist attempts to draw a definitive boundary between that which derives from native traditions, on the one hand, and foreign traditions, on the other.

 

Resumo: Os sonhos descritos e discutidos nas sagas islandesas medievais parecem sempre ter alguma conexão profunda com os eventos da vida em vigília. Estudiosos têm frequentemente considerado como esse aspecto das narrativas medievais pode refletir crenças nativas pré-cristãs comuns ao mundo nórdico medieval ou a tradições literárias estrangeiras importadas para a região durante a Idade Média. Curiosamente, vários desses exames se concentram em certas passagens nas sagas, nas quais surgem disputas sobre o significado percebido - ou a insignificância - de um dado sonho. No entanto, uma exploração minuciosa de várias dessas passagens - dentro de seus respectivos contextos narrativos - parece revelar atitudes mais complexas em relação ao significado percebido dos sonhos para a vida desperta nas sagas do que os acadêmicos às vezes percebem. Além disso, o discurso dos sonhos empregados pelos escritores de saga medievais e usado para comunicar a sua audiência medieval pode, em última instância, resistir às tentativas de traçar um limite definitivo entre o que deriva das tradições nativas, por um lado, e as tradições estrangeiras, por outro.

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Published
2018-12-01
Section
Articles