Accepted paper:

Sigurður Breiðfjörðs utopian Icelandic country: how the poets opinions on social changes appear in his poems


Arndís Hulda Audunsdottir (University of Iceland)

Paper short abstract:

In this paper I discuss the Utopian Icelandic country as the poet Sigurður Breiðfjörð envisaged it in his poems as well as how social changes affected him.

Paper long abstract:

In this paper I discuss the Icelandic poet Sigurður Breiðfjörð (1798-1846), one of the last great rímnapoets, and how the social changes he lived through affected him. I base my paper on a research I did on his mansöngvar which is, simply put, the personal part of the old Icelandic rímur (the Icelandic narrative poems). By studying them it is possible to get an inside into Sigurðurs feelings and opinions on live, society and politics. During Sigurðurs lifetime the society began to change and romanticism and nationalism had an effect in Iceland. This was not least in the realms of poetry where poets like Jónas Hallgrímsson fought against rímur on the basis of them being too old-fashioned and shameful for the country. Sigurður was very popular amongst the masses but the cultural elite wanted a change and to alter the image of Iceland. In his poems, Sigurður criticises his society, not least the elite and those who had the power and money. In his mansöngvar poems Sigurður sees the countryside and the old Icelandic community as an Utopian country as I will discuss.

panel Nar008
Narratives on agency, well-being and everyday lives in real and imagined societies