In today's post I got a book on Women in the Viking Age. This is a very academic book, looking at the whys and wherefores of historical and archelogical evidence for how women lived durig hte Viking Age. The primary source documentation for the age is mainly the Icelandic Sagas. However, because they were all written several hundred years after the events, we have no way of knowing how much they tell us about the actual events and how much they tell us about Icelandic society at the time of writing. There is an adage in historical writing that the writing/subject matter is a glass through which one views his or her own age. For example, one reason for the huge popularity of the Regency novel in the 1990s and beyond could be perhaps explained by the huge technological and therefore societal upheaval that was going on. This in some ways rivals the Internet revolution. However, it could be that women just like to read about men in tight buckskin trousers.
What we don't know today -- because Icelandic sagas were works of fiction that closely mirriored historical records -- how much was an accurate reflection of Viking society. For example, what was the extent of warrior women. Yes, they are an archetype in the sagas BUT they generally come to a sticky end. How much is allegorical? Still the sagas and their traiditons give me a lot to work with.
In any case, the book basically confirmed what I wanted to do with my first Viking story, and so I was able to complete my synopsis and send that off to my lovely editor. That is one thing off my desk and onto hers. I have two more pieces of work to get off my desk -- my Victorian synopsis and finish my wip. I did my Viking synopsis this morning rather than working on VW In my defence, the wip is getting better and I am happier with it. It will be done in time and it will be the best I can make it at this time. But I still want the thing finished NOW!!!
The Victorian is going to need thinking about, but I am starting to get some good ideas. But at least I don't have to think Viking until I get to Iceland and then I can start writing in a new Moleskine notebook.