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SEAWOMEN OF ICELAND Margaret Willson SEAWOMEN OF ICELAND Survival on the Edge University of Washington Press Seattle and London Seawomen of Iceland is published with the assistance of a grant from the Naomi B. Pascal Editor’s Endowment, supported through the generosity of Nancy Alvord, Dorothy and David Anthony, Janet and John Creighton, Patti Knowles, Katherine and Douglas Raff, Mary McLellan Williams, and other donors. Epigraph: H. Jónsson 1949, 39.© 2016 by the University of Washington Press Printed and bound in the United States of America Design by Thomas Eykemans Composed in Warnock, typeface designed by Robert Slimbach Display type set in Mission Gothic, designed by James T. Edmondson 20 19 18 17 16  5 4 3 2 1 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. University of Washington Press Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Willson, Margaret, 1953– author. Title: Seawomen of Iceland : survival on the edge / Margaret Willson. Description: Seattle : University of Washington Press, [2016] | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2015046198 | ISBN 9780295995502 (hardcover : alk. paper) Subjects: LCSH: Women fishers—Iceland. | Women fish trade workers—Iceland. | Women in fisheries—Iceland. | Women—Iceland—Social conditions. Classification: LCC HD6073.F672 I739 2016 | DDC 331.4/8392094912—dc23 LC record available at Frontispiece: Holmbergs lighthouse, region of Vestfirðir, Iceland. Courtesy Diego Delso. The paper used in this publication is acid-free and meets the minimum requirements of American National Standard for Information Sciences—Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48–1984. ∞ To the seawomen of Iceland, both of today and in the past This page intentionally left blank I beg of the blood-haired waves, Whose frothing veils harass, Haughty sea-goddess daughters, Please will you spare my ass. Bið ég höddur blóðugar þó bregði upp faldi sínum Ránardætur reisugar rassi að vægja mínum. —Björg Einarsdóttir, seawoman and poet North Iceland, mid-1700s This page intentionally left blank ...


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