Size Matters: Penile Problems in Sagas of Icelanders
Author: Phelpstead, Carl
Source: Exemplaria, Volume 19, Number 3, Fall 2007 , pp. 420-437(18)
Publisher: Maney Publishing
Abstract:This article explores the relationship between men's genitals and men's identities in medieval Iceland by analysing accounts of penile problems (impotence, a penis that is surprisingly small, and one that becomes too large) in Egils saga, Grettis saga, and Njáls saga. Accounts of castration in Grágás and Íslendinga saga provide a context for the main discussion and the article also evaluates the usefulness of psychoanalytic theory, arguing that Freudian theory can usefully highlight similarities between medieval and modern, but is insufficiently sensitive to historical difference, and suggesting that Lacanian theory may prove more fruitful in future work.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2007-09-01