Cinderella in Old Norse Literature

01 Feb 2018

Although ATU 510A, ‘Cinderella’, is known to have ancient origins, it was widely thought that the ash-name did not become a feature of the tale type until Giambattista Basile’s ‘La Gatta cenerentola’ (The Ashy Cat) in the seventeenth century. However, it is preceded in this regard by a little-known fourteenth-century Icelandic romance, Vilmundar saga viðutan (The Saga of Vilmundr the Outsider). Using this saga as a starting point, this article traces the literary transmission of ATU 510A through the extant corpus of Old Norse literature, with particular reference to the development of three key aspects of ‘Cinderella’: the persecuted heroine; the lost-and-found shoe; and the cinder-name.