The Walking Icelanders: Revenants in the Íslendingasögur
MetadataShow full item record
Type of Work75 pages
ProgramMaster of Arts in English
This study analyzes the revenants found in six different sagas from the Íslendingasögur, or Icelandic Family Sagas. Revenants are those people who die and then reanimate post-mortem to haunt the living, or pre-mortem. This analysis contains seven categories. The first is Post-Mortem Rising, which examines the four most common reasons that revenants return in the Icelandic Family Sagas. The second is Corporeality, otherwise understood as a revenant’s physicality or lack thereof. The third is Ambulation and refers to a revenant’s ability to wander. The fourth is Articulation, which examines a revenant’s ability to speak. The fifth is Detriment, or a revenant’s ability to harm the pre-mortem whether through physical or nonphysical means and in an offensive or defensive manner. The sixth is Vampirism, or the way Icelandic revenants can infect the pre-mortem and create more revenants through physical attacks or simply existing in close proximity to a pre-mortem person. Finally, the seventh category is Removal, which refers to the different avenues through which either the revenant itself or the saga’s protagonist can disanimate that revenant for good. Each category helps illuminate the functions the Icelandic revenant serves within the sagas. Together they provide a framework for other scholars to perform similar analyses on the Íslendingasögur, other medieval liminal beings, and analogous entities in contemporary American media.