A fresh new look at women's lives in the Viking Age and the roles of feminine figures in myth and legend, written for a broad audience.
More information about the book and how to order it can be found on Bloomsbury's website.
For links to podcasts and articles featuring Valkyrie, please see the media section of this site.
Longlisted for the Cundill History Prize 2020.
An online talk I did for the London History Festival on November 23, 2020.
An online talk I did for the University of York / York Ideas online lecture series on November 25, 2020.
'Fridriksdottir weaves a complex picture in which different kinds
of evidence successfully illuminate each other to provide a rich and detailed picture ... this book is intelligent, engaging and well written, with many new insights.'
- Professor Judith Jesch, BBC History Magazine, June 1, 2020
'The pages sparkle with tales of the fierce Valkyries and vengeful wives of poetic legend ... connecting stylised literary constructions of womanhood to the broader historical picture'.
- Dr Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough, Literary Review, November 1, 2020
'Accessible to all levels of education and suitable for readers whether they are familiar with the subject or not ... Valkyrie is a vital contribution'
- Karl Johnson, Shetland Times, May 15, 2020
'A fascinating overview of women's roles in the Viking world, from infancy to death. It's a period of history that continues to grip the popular imagination, here brought evocatively to life through archaeological discoveries and contemporary sources, including emotive
stories and verse.
- BBC History Revealed, June 20202
The author excels in the literary analysis. She combines it with archaeological insights and shows Viking Age women as more than literary archetypes ... My verdict: really excellent. A must-read.'
'Fridriksdottir is too rigorous a scholar to leap to sensationalist conclusions but she brilliantly manages to make the Vikings feel far closer to us than ever before.' ****
- Kathryn Hughes, Mail on Sunday, May 2, 2020
'Supernatural figures such as Valkyries have an obvious appeal, but the real women of the Viking age are more exciting. In Jóhanna Katrín Friðriksdóttir’s significant new history, they are brought engagingly to life.'
- Dr Jane Kershaw, Times Literary Supplement, July 31, 2020
'This deep dive into the lives of the women of the Viking era is
a fascinating one, combining as it does both the realities and mythology of the time to reveal the complexity and sophistication of the culture. Johanna Katrin Fridriksdottir's investigation merges these two worlds brilliantly, helping to elevate the everyday while also grounding the fantastic to give each the meaning that they deserve.' ****
- JG, All About History, June 1, 2020
'Jóhanna’s contribution to the study of Viking history and society is immense. In her book, she successfully views the Viking Age from the point of view of its women.'
'L’ouvrage démontre avec succès la contribution notable des femmes à la vie quotidienne du peuple nordique.'
- Juliette Deborde, Libération, November 6, 2020
Recommended reading in Historia magazine, November 12.
Les femmes vikings, des femmes puissantes est un livre historique mais qui se lit comme un roman. Jóhanna Katrín Friðriksdóttir rend l’histoire vivante, mêlant faits historiques et interactions entre des personnages ... Un livre passionnant.'
- Olivier Kauf, Notre-Siècle, October 12, 2020
'Combattantes, écrivaines et maîtresses de leurs décisions, ce livre reprend l'histoire des Vikings sous le prisme du féminin, appuyé par des sources historiques, archéologiques, et les grandes sagas islandaises. On y découvre ainsi tout un pan de la vie des Vikings complètement passé sous silence par l'Histoire. Édifiant!'
- La Croix, October 2020
'Un essai très éclairant sur les destinées variées qu’ont pu connaître ces femmes puissantes.'
Archéologia, October 2020
Women in Old Norse Literature:
Bodies, Words, and Power
Palgrave Macmillan, 2013
A wide-ranging analysis of women as they appear in Old Norse-Icelandic saga literature.
Góssið hans Árna:
Minningar heimsins í íslenskum handritum
The Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies, 2014
A collection of essays (in Icelandic) to mark the Arnamagnæan Manuscript Collection being added to the UNESCO Memory of the World register.
Víðförul – a widely travelled woman – is a podcast series about the women of the Vinland sagas, pioneers who crossed the sea to explore and settle new lands. Aud ‘the Deep-Minded’ Ketilsdóttir, the protagonist of the first chapter of The Saga of Eric the Red, lived through a time of upheaval, when the Vikings sailed from Scandinavia across the Atlantic, founding colonies everywhere they went. Following in our heroine’s footsteps, the journey takes us from Dublin and the Hebrides to Scotland and Orkney, the Faroe Islands and Iceland, where Aud becomes one of the country’s few independent female settlers. Two generations later, Gudríd Thorbjarnardóttir and Freydís Eiríksdóttir live in the Norse colony in Greenland, and after surviving privation and a pandemic, they join Viking expeditions to North America, or Vinland, as it is called in medieval Icelandic sagas. In Vinland, they have fascinating encounters – both friendly and hostile – with Amerindians, but events take a shocking turn in The Saga of the Greenlanders when Freydís becomes a mass murderer. In this podcast series, we learn about these women’s historical background and some of the realities of life in the Viking Age. We also think about the stories in the wider context of Norse myths and legends, saga literature and Icelandic folklore.
‘With mirthful merriment: Masquerade, Masculinity and Power in Mágus saga jarls’. In Masculinities in Old Norse Literature, eds. Gareth Lloyd Evans and Jessica Clare Hancock, 77–93. Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2020.
‘Manuscripts and Codicology’. In A Critical Companion to Old Norse Literary Genre, eds. Carolyne Larrington, Massimiliano Bampi and Sif Ríkharðsdóttir, 89–111.Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2020.
‘Konungs skuggsjá [The King’s Mirror] and Women Patrons and Readers in Late Medieval Iceland’. Viator 49.2 (2019): 277–305.
‘Gender’. In Routledge Research Companion to the Medieval Saga, eds. Ármann Jakobsson and Sverrir Jakobsson, 226–239. London: Routledge, 2016.
With David Clark. ‘The Representation of Gender in Eddic Poetry’. In Handbook for Eddic Poetry: Myths and Legends of Early Scandinavia, eds. Carolyne Larrington, Judy Quinn and Brittany Schorn, 331–348. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016.
With Haukur Þorgeirsson. ‘Hrólfs rímur Gautrekssonar’. [Edition of the late medieval ballad about Hrólfr Gautreksson with introduction and notes.] Gripla 26 (2015): 81–138.
For pdf files of some of my articles, please visit my academia.edu page.
I have been speaking at conferences since 2007 and have presented my research to a variety of specialised and non-specialised audiences.
In February 2019, I gave a keynote lecture at the Richard Hall Symposium at the Jorvik Viking Festival in York (UK).