JoAnn Conrad


This article’s focus is the intersection of sexual and textual violence against women in traditional narratives as they have come to be mediated through folkloric and narrative processes. It argues that stories about women’s (sexually motivated) abduction and containment function at the narrative, typological, and structural levels to sustain a gendered hierarchy that works to contain/constrain women. Although the gendering of these narratives inheres in much of the material, the interventions on the part of institutions, publishers, editors, collectors, translators, scholars, and folklorists in general have organized, selected, explicated, and canonized some tales at the expense of others that has maintained an entrenched patriarchal privilege by denying the sexual violence that is at the heart of these same narratives. With an exploration of the wide-ranging Scandinavian theme of Bergtagning (taken into the mountain) across multiple genres and in the context of its editorial and publishing history, this article traces the narrative processes that shape the discursive field through which threads a gender ideology that asserts and normalizes male privilege.