Tidsskriftet Kulturstudier
Tidsskriftet Kulturstudier

Tidsskriftet

Et samfunds ægteskabsideal afføder nogle mere eller mindre uskrevne regler for, hvad der er tilladt og – måske især – hvad der ikke er tilladt med hensyn til udenomsægteskabelige forhold. Det var også tilfældet i 1800-tallets bondesamfund, hvor det at indlede et seksuelt forhold til en anden person end den, man var forlovet eller gift med, ikke alene kunne være en trussel for de enkelte par, men for hele landsbyfællesskabet. Seksuelle emner er ofte tabubelagte. I denne artikel vil jeg vise, hvordan bondesamfundets seksualmoral blev kommunikeret igennem såvel omgangsformer, ritualer og traditioner som igennem sagn om bjergfolk og ellefolk.

English summary

The marital ideal of a society generates certain more or less unwritten rules forwhat is permissible and - perhaps especially - impermissible in terms of extramaritalrelations. This was also the case in the rural society of the 19th century,where engaging in a sexual relationship with someone other than the person to whom you were married or betrothed could be a threat not only to the individual couple but to the whole village community. Although the village community in 18th-century rural society underwent a number of changes in the course of the century, it was apparently still important to strengthen the authority of the community or at any rate to give the appearance that it existed. The community in the rural village meant not just something communal in general, but a particular way of performing certain communal actions, including - and perhaps especially - certain social conventions. More fundamentally,'community' therefore refers to the farmer-dominated village's culturally protected norm for what was right and wrong.Besides the norms that were communicated through the unwritten socialconventions, one could also express what was right and wrong through the stories that were told. In the tales it was also possible to engage with sexual themes.The tales that are most relevant in this study are legends of mountain spirits andelves, where human beings engage in some kind of interaction with the supernatural beings. There are a good 300 of these legends. Looking at the consequences such relations could have for the protagonists of the legends enables us to gain insight into how extramarital relations were regarded in rural society. In 19th-century rural society the norms of the village for sexual morality were thus communicated both through games and traditions and through the tales thatwere told of mountain spirits and elves. Both forms of expression involved acommon set of principles for the members of the village community, and laiddown guidelines for the way one was to handle relations with other people ineveryday life.