A Farewell Gift

Jackson Tatjana N.

This paper, written for this collection of articles in memory of Sergei Tokhtasyev and being my “farewell gift” to him, is devoted to the motif of gift-giving that is widespread in the Old Icelandic sagas, and more specifically, to the farewell gift. It is based on the evidence of the Knýtlinga saga composed in the middle of the thirteenth century. A systematic review of the five incidents described in the saga allows us to conclude that the spectrum of ideas about the farewell gift in Iceland at that time was very wide. The language of gifts was, no doubt, well known to medieval Icelanders, listeners and readers of the sagas. As a result, the use of gift-giving situations by the saga author gave him an opportunity, while preserving the imaginary “objectivity” of the saga, to express what, according to the canons of the genre, he “could not know”, namely, to describe the thoughts, feelings and intentions of his heroes.

Keywords: gift-giving motif, farewell gift, Icelandic sagas, “objectivity” of the sagas, Knýtlinga saga , mid-thirteenth century

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