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						Lögberg 1


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



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


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


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


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



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-


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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