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Teenage angst: The structures and boundaries of adolescence in twelfth- and thirteenth-century Iceland

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Chapter Summary

The varied interpretations of adolescence reflect the problems that both medieval and modern scholars encounter when attempting to define the line between childhood and adulthood. It is important to rid ourselves of modern constructs of ?adolescence' and ?youth'. In this instance, the intention is to explore the structures and boundaries of the period of transition during which a twelfth- or thirteenth-century Icelandic male attained the characteristics associated with male adulthood. The question of how medieval men expressed their masculinity involves turning to the sources which provide arguably the most detailed and selfconscious accounts of twelfth- and thirteenth-century Iceland, i.e., the legal statements and the contemporary sagas. This chapter uses the contemporary sagas as the point of comparison rather than the more well known family or legendary sagas.

Keywords: adolescence; contemporary sagas; Icelandic male; legal statements



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