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Title: Dreams and visions in medieval Icelandic romance
Author: Roberts, John Joseph
ISNI:       0000 0001 3523 4171
Awarding Body: The University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis is a literary analysis of the entire corpus of dreams and visions described in the prose romances (riddarasogur) composed in Iceland between the late thirteenth and early sixteenth centuries. It considers the sources and analogues of the dreams and visions, the ways in which they are narrated, their narrative functions, and their connections with folk tradition, religious beliefs, and early writings on dreams. The study is organised according to the nature of the material under analysis. The dreams and visions of the riddarasogurfall naturally into six categories: (a) fetch dreams, in which the spirits of individuals appear as animals; (b) dreams and visions which convey information through symbolic images; (c) dear, unencrypted visions of future events; (d) dreams which are reported to have occurred but the contents of which are not described; (e) dreams and visions in which individuals appear to the dreamer and impart useful advice and information; and (f) dreams in which a supernatural being physically interacts with an individual in his sleep. Each chapter of the thesis treats one of these six categories, examining each individual dream or vision with regard to the features outlined above. The study shows that riddarasaga dreams and visions are heavily influenced by foreign literature, but also find a natural place in the Icelandic literary tradition by being integrated with the conventional structures of saga narrative. Dreams are used for a variety of purposes, not only to foreshadow later events in the story, but also as a medium through which the saga protagonist is provided with assistance or confronted by an enemy, and a means of characterisation. Extra-textual factors are also shown to be relevant to the dreams of the riddarasogur, most especially the influence of Christianity and medieval Icelandic conceptions of the relationship between the natural and supernatural worlds.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available