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Title:Heroes and Kings in the Legend of Hrolf Kraki
Author(s):Bradley, Johanna
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Marianne Kalinke
Department / Program:Comparative Literature
Discipline:Comparative Literature
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, Germanic
Abstract:The figure of the mythical Danish king has traditionally been understood as an exemplary pagan king of the heroic age. The portrayal of Hrolfr kraki as one of the great kings of prehistoric Denmark is most evident in Hrolfs saga kraka, where the narrator and various characters laud him for his generosity, his gentleness and moderation, his humility, and his strength and courage. An analysis of the saga has shown, however, that not only the behavior of the king but also that of his royal ancestors as well as his contemporaries does not support the laudatory portrait. A reading of Hrolfs saga kraka in the context of medieval historiography, didactic literature, heroic lays, and courtly fiction has supported the thesis that the saga of Hrolfr kraki can be read as a negative King's Mirror, presented not in the traditional dialogic form but rather as a narrative. The saga can be understood as a mirror that reflects not an ideal king but rather the antithesis. Despite the occasional positive portrayal of King Hrolfr kraki, his actions and those of his courtiers can be understood as a negative example of kingship. Furthermore, the saga posits as the true heroic individual not Hrolfr kraki but rather his retainer Bothvarr bjarki, a warrior who refuses to rule on his own ancestral throne.
Issue Date:2006
Description:211 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2006.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3223549
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:2006

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