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Lögberg-Heimskringla

						Lögberg 1
eimsKnngia
77ie lcelandic  Weekly
Lögberg Stofnaö 14. janúar 1888
Heimskringla Stofnaö 9. september 1886
109.  Árgangur
109th Year
Publications Mail Registration No. 1667
Föstudagur   24.  febrúar  1995
Friday,   24   February   1995
Inside this week:
Poet's Corner...............................................2
The Times They Are A Changin',
by Tom Oleson.'.............................................3
Memory Bites from Halli..............................4
Grímkell's Story, nineteenth installment..........5
Heather Ireland............................................6
Viking Ship is Back.......................................8
Númer 7
Number 7
lcelandic
News
Sisters in concert:
¦ The Chamber Music Club in
Reykjavík held its fourth music event
of the year on January 29. This time
the musicians were the sisters Sigrún
and Sigurlaug Eðvaldsdóttirs, violin-
ists, along with Helga Þórðardóttir,
viola and Richard Talkowsky, cello. In
the table of contents were music by
Mozart and Haydn. Sigrún Eðvalds-
dóttir and Helga Þórarinsdóttir played
together Mozart's B-major duet at the
Chamber Music Club in 1991. The
Club's managers then asked them to
play the G-major duet at a later date.
The four musicians who made up the
the quartet have all played together
before, although not as a quartet.
They found it very interesting to play
chamber music together and hope
that they can do so more often.
Sigrún Eðvaldsdóttir usually appears
as a soloist, whereas the others play in
orchestras. They feel that chamber-
music has this home feeling and is "so
perfect in its simplicity".
Gaultier Goes North:
¦ Beautiful fashion pictures recently
appeared in the fashion magazine Elle
showing Jean Paul Gaultier's Fall line
with the heading "Gaultier Goes
North". The Fall line has a rnongolian
and eskimo folk/herdsmen flavour;
with fur parkas and nordic-eastern
patterns. The design which appears to
attract Gaultier's photographer the
most is the old lcelandic gablehead
and most of his pictures are taken at
the old gableheads.
^                        GUNNUR ISFELD                        .
Women in Old lcelandic Literature
Two Lectures — March 6 & 7 — By Professor Helga Kress
At The University Of Manitoba
by Kirsten Wolf, Chalr, Department of
lcelandlc, Universlty of Manltoba
Helga Kress, professor of
Comparative Literature at
the University of Iceland,
has accepted an invita-
tion by the Department
of Icelandic to present two lectures at
the University of Manitoba in early
March.
Professor Kress is well known within
the field of Modern and Old Icelandic
literature and has a number of publica-
tions to her credit. Most of her publica-
tions concern women: the portrayal of
women in literary works or literary
works by women. Professor Kress is in
the forefront of Women's Studies in
Iceland.
The first lecture by Professor Kress,
"Waiting for Passage: Júlíana Jónsdóttir
and the Emergence of Women's Poetry
in Iceland," is scheduled for the evening
of 6 March. This lecture is directed
especially to members of the Icelandic
community and will, as usual, be' fol-
lowed by a reception in University
College's Senior Common Room. The
lecture will, as its title announces, focus
on Júliana Jónsdóttir, the first Icelandic
woman to publish a book of poetry.
Júlíana Jónsdóttir is of particular interest
to North Americans of Icelandic extrac-
tion, for in 1880 she emigrated to North
America, where she spent the rest of her
life and published yet another book of
poetry. (Most of the biographical details
. about Júlíana Jónsdóttir's life in the
New World are, however, obscure, and
readers of Lögberg-Heimskríngla may
recall a letter written a couple of years
ago on Professor Kress's behalf and
published in the paper, in which readers
were asked for any information they
might have about the poet.) In fact,
North Americans of Icelandic extrac-
tion can lay claim to also the first
Icelandic woman novelist, Torfhildur
Þorsteinsdóttir Holm, who emigrated in
1876 (but returned to Iceland in 1889)
and to the first Icelandic woman to pub-
lish a play, Hólmfrídur G. C. Sharpe,
who emigrated in 1873. It is difficult to
consider this a mere coincidence. It may
very well have been exactly the pioneer
experience, forcing many women to
redefine their feminine role within the
family unit and within the society
aróund them, which gave women a
sense of greater personal freedom from
constricting societal rules and which, by
extension, gave them confidence to
write.
The second lecture by Professor
Kxess, "Mighty Maidens: Gender as the
Source of Narration in the Sagas," is
sponsored by the Department of
Icelandic in collaboration with the
Women's Studies Program and is sched-
uled for the afternoon of 7 March. The
lecture treats the (in)famous women in
the íslendingasögur and is extracted
from Professor Kress's recent book
Máttugar meyjár: íslensk fornbókmen-
ntasaga (1993), a stimulating and innöv-
ative feminist analysis of women in Old
Icelandic literature.
We in the Department of Icelandic
look forward to yet another visit from an
Icelandic colleague and to an evening
and an afternoon with members of the
Icelandic community. Every single one
of our visitors has commented upon the
warm reception he or she has received
from the Icelandic community, and we,
in turn, wish toexpress our gratitude to
the many supporters of our lecture
series.
Huldufólk
and Social History
by Kevin Jon Johnsan
Resourcefulry marrying the dis-
ciplines of anthropology,
social history and literary exe-
gesis, Dr. Jón Haukur Ingimund-
arson is supplying critical insights
into the experience of nineteenth
century Icelandic women. With the
assumption that traditional, oral hul-
dufólk narratives, when analysed
with modern academic tools, give
significant information about a poor-
ly represented historical class,
Icelandic women, this anthropolo-
gist from the University of Arizona,
applying his Marxist-Feminist
approach to cultural anthropology,
provides us with a new and rich per-
ception of what líkely contributed to
the Diaspora of Icelanders to North
America around the turn of this cen-
tury.
Dr. Ingimundarson, in his presen-
tation at the University of Manitoba
on the second of February, provided
through the generous assistance of
the Department of Icelandic
Language and Literature, developed
an ihtelligent and provocative thesis
about the cultural milieu within
which nineteenth century Icelandic
women found themselves. In a soci-
ety where only around forty seven
percent of females married, balanc-
ing the joys of sex with the fearfully
high level of reproductive death, sis-
ters often found themselves relegat-
ed to very different functions and
levels of status in society. Because of
the high levels of infant mortality
and the lack of effective birth con-
trol, one might add, wedded women,
in bringing forth large families, fre-
quently ran the risk of dying in child
birth. As opposed to the Germany of
this time, where the various strata of
society were well defined, and each
level free to propagate itself, the vast
majority of Icelandic girls were
shunted into supporting roles in the
household, under the control and
vigilance of the hús-móðir. In the
huldufólk stories retained and told,
most often by a thoughtful amma,
many of the tensions, unrelieved
guilt, and predicaments of this cul-
turally imposed division of sister-
hood were sublimated, an.d the col-
lection and analysis of such oral nar-
ratives from north-east Iceland
establishes a "seminal and insightful
basis from which we can better
understand the history underlying
the massive emigrations.
Without denying the validity of
the common historical argument for
this exodus, that volcanic eruptions
and accompanying vicissitudes in
climate spurred many hungry indi-
viduals to seek the milk and honey
of the Manitoban Interlake, this gift-
ed professor would also bring to our
attention the cultural tensions which
helped make our grass look even
greener. The huldufólk, he advises
us, were maintained to be more
beautiful than humans, often invisi-
ble to the insensitive or societal elite,
and frequently involved in sexual
escapades with certain happy mor-
tals, a unique mythopoeic vision in
European culture.
An iHustrative story related in his
. lecture was of a young serving girl
who is approached by a strange man
as she goes to gather the laundry. He
See Huldufólk page 6
					
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