Author(s) van Zanten, Arwen
Year 2007
Title Going Berserk: In Old Norse, Old Irish, and Anglo-Saxon Literature
Published in Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik, Vol. 63
ISBN 9789042022560
Pages 43–64
Abstract Anyone familiar with Old Norse literature is familiar with berserkers and úlfheðnar, the male bear or wolf warrior who sometimes experiences a battle-rage which gives him extraordinary powers (Hoops, 1976). Several scholars have hinted that these berserkers and úlfheðnar might have equivalents in Old Irish literature and the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf. These scholars, however, have not elaborated on these hints. Therefore, it is worthwhile to investigate whether berserkers and their wolf-equivalents do indeed occur as an early medieval motif in Old Irish literature and the Anglo-Saxon Beowulf poem.
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