Berserk for berserkir: Introducing Combat Trauma to the Compendium of Theories on the Norse Berserker

Resource Type
Lily Geraty

This thesis attempts to provide a brief overview of major pieces of the English-language scholarship concerning the Norse berserker. It tries to demonstrate consistent flaws in scholarly treatment and the hollow nature of many major theories and attitudes. In doing so, I hope to demonstrate the importance of brining in outside scholarship on the berserker, specifically the work of Jonathan Shay, who’s book Achilles in Vietnam, demonstrated a strong continuity of experience between Achilles in Homer’s Iliad, and the experiences of American soldiers in the Vietnam War. I believe his work can be equally applied to the Norse berserker, and hope to introduce Shay into the conversation.