In Iceland, the age of the Vikings is also known as the Saga Age. A unique body of medieval literature, the Sagas rank with the world’s great literary treasures – as epic as Homer, as deep in tragedy as Sophocles, as engagingly human as Shakespeare. Set around the turn of the last millennium, these stories depict with an astonishingly modern realism the lives and deeds of the Norse men and women who first settled in Iceland and of their descendants, who ventured farther west to Greenland and, ultimately, North America. Sailing as far from the archetypal heroic adventure as the long ships did from home, the Sagas are written with psychological intensity, peopled by characters with depth, and explore perennial human issues like love, hate, fate and freedom.
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The Sagas of Icelanders are enduring stories from Viking-Age Iceland filled with love and romance, battles and feuds, tragedy and comedy. Yet these tales are little read today, even by lovers of literature. The culture and history of the people depicted in the Sagas are often unfamiliar to the modern reader, though the audience for whom the tales were intended would have had an intimate understanding of the material. This text introduces the modern reader to the daily lives and material culture of the Vikings. Topics covered include Icelandic religion, social customs, the settlement of disputes, and major milestones in life of Viking-Age Icelanders. Issues of dispute among scholars, such as the nature of settlement and the division of land, are addressed in the text.
- Author : Viðar Hreinsson
- Publisher : Unknown
- Release Date : 1997
- Genre : Old Norse literature
- Pages : 472
- ISBN : 9979929340
The set contains "the first complete, coordinated English translation of The sagas of Icelanders, forty in all, together with forty-nine of the shorter Tales of Icelanders."--Preface.
Combining an accessible approach with innovative scholarship, An Introduction to the Sagas of Icelanders provides up-to-date perspectives on a unique medieval literary genre that has fascinated the English-speaking world for more than two centuries. Carl Phelpstead draws on historical context, contemporary theory, and close reading to deepen our understanding of Icelandic saga narratives about the island's early history. Phelpstead explores the origins and cultural setting of the genre, demonstrating the rich variety of oral and written source traditions that writers drew on to produce the sagas. He provides fresh, theoretically informed discussions of major themes such as national identity, gender and sexuality, and nature and the supernatural, relating the Old Norse-Icelandic texts to questions addressed by postcolonial studies, feminist and queer theory, and ecocriticism. He then presents readings of select individual sagas, pointing out how the genre's various source traditions and thematic concerns interact. Including an overview of the history of English translations that shows how they have been stimulated and shaped by ideas about identity, and featuring a glossary of critical terms, this book is an essential resource for students of the literary form. A volume in the series New Perspectives on Medieval Literature: Authors and Traditions, edited by R. Barton Palmer and Tison Pugh
In this stimulating and reliable introduction to the Icelandic saga, Peter Hallberg correctly designates the genre as "Scandinavia's sole, collective original contribution to world literature." These prose narratives dating from the thirteenth century are characterized by a psychological realism which sets them apart from all other contemporary forms of European literature. Mr. Hallberg's emphasis is on the branch of saga literature which deals with the native heroes--with the settlement of Iceland by Norse chieftains and with the lives of these settlers and their descendants. After disposing of the controversial "free-prose" theory of the origin and transmission of these stories, the author treats such problems as style and character portrayal, dreams and destinies, values and ideals, humor and irony. Several of the major sagas are studied in some detail. The concluding discussion concerns the decline of saga writing and the role played by the Sagas in modern Scandinavian life and literature. Paul Schach's introduction and copious annotation furnish additional background material and bibliographical references to English translations of the individual sagas and to significant studies on the major problems of saga research. Although intended primarily for the layman, The Icelandic Saga is of value to the specialist since it judiciously evaluates and incorporates the revolutionary findings of the so-called "Icelandic school" of saga study.
- Author : Margaret Clunies Ross
- Publisher : Cambridge University Press
- Release Date : 2010-10-28
- Genre : Literary Criticism
- Pages : 231
- ISBN : 9781139492645
The medieval Norse-Icelandic saga is one of the most important European vernacular literary genres of the Middle Ages. This Introduction to the saga genre outlines its origins and development, its literary character, its material existence in manuscripts and printed editions, and its changing reception from the Middle Ages to the present time. Its multiple sub-genres - including family sagas, mythical-heroic sagas and sagas of knights - are described and discussed in detail, and the world of medieval Icelanders is powerfully evoked. The first general study of the Old Norse-Icelandic saga to be written in English for some decades, the Introduction is based on up-to-date scholarship and engages with current debates in the field. With suggestions for further reading, detailed information about the Icelandic literary canon, and a map of medieval Iceland, this book is aimed at students of medieval literature and assumes no prior knowledge of Scandinavian languages.
- Author : Anonim
- Publisher : Penguin UK
- Release Date : 2003-09-25
- Genre : Fiction
- Pages : 304
- ISBN : 9780141941899
These sagas recount fierce feuds in which honour is fought for, sacrifice is demanded, and blood is shed. The fate of the characters at the centre of each saga, however, is very different. Gisli is a traditional Viking-age hero who is determined to exact revenge at any cost and whose death is tragic when it comes. In contrast his nephew, Snorri, represents a new generation and acts to strengthen the new social order. Taken together these sagas reveal the richness and variety of the saga tradition.
Comic Sagas and Tales brings together the very finest Icelandic stories from the thirteenth to the fifteenth centuries, a time of civil unrest and social upheaval. With feuding families and moments of grotesque violence, the sagas see such classic mythological figures as murdered fathers, disguised beggars, corrupt chieftains and avenging sons do battle with axes, words and cunning. The tales, meanwhile, follow heroes and comical fools through dreams, voyages and religious conversions in medieval Iceland and beyond. Shaped by Iceland's oral culture and their conversion to Christianity, these stories are works of ironic humour and stylistic innovation.
Kormak's Saga, The Saga of Hallfred Troublesome-Poet, The Saga of Gunnlaug Serpent-Tongue, The Saga of Bjorn, Champion of the Hitardal People, Viglund's Saga Set in the farmsteads of Viking age Iceland at a time when the old ethos of honour and heroic adventure merged with new ideas of romantic infatuation, each of these sagas features poet heroes, complex love triangles, and travels to foreign lands.
- Author : Rory McTurk
- Publisher : John Wiley & Sons
- Release Date : 2008-03-11
- Genre : Literary Criticism
- Pages : 584
- ISBN : 9781405137386
This major survey of Old Norse-Icelandic literature and culturedemonstrates the remarkable continuity of Icelandic language andculture from medieval to modern times. Comprises 29 chapters written by leading scholars in thefield Reflects current debates among Old Norse-Icelandicscholars Pays attention to previously neglected areas of study, such asthe sagas of Icelandic bishops and the fantasy sagas Looks at the ways Old Norse-Icelandic literature is used bymodern writers, artists and film directors, both within and outsideScandinavia Sets Old Norse-Icelandic language and literature in its widercultural context
A collection of essays on Icelandic sagas from the middle ages, which concern the earliest period of Icelandic history. Includes references.
The descriptions of the weather in medieval Icelandic sagas have long been considered unimportant, mere adjuncts to the action. This is not true: the way the weather is depicted can give us an insight into the minds of medieval Icelanders. The first part of this book illustrates how the Christian world-view of authors of the twelfth to fourteenth centuries influenced their descriptions of meteorological conditions in earlier times. The second part is more literary in approach. It points out the formulaic nature of descriptions of storms, and shows how references to the weather help to structure the narrative in some sagas. It also demonstrates how medieval Icelandic attitudes to the weather affect the portrayal of the hero.
Composed at the end of the fourteenth century by an unknown author, The Saga of Grettir the Strong is one of the last great Icelandic sagas. It relates the tale of Grettir, an eleventh-century warrior struggling to hold on to the values of a heroic age becoming eclipsed by Christianity and a more pastoral lifestyle. Unable to settle into a community of farmers, Grettir becomes the aggressive scourge of both honest men and evil monsters - until, following a battle with the sinister ghost Glam, he is cursed to endure a life of tortured loneliness away from civilisation, fighting giants, trolls and berserks. A mesmerising combination of pagan ideals and Christian faith, this is a profoundly moving conclusion to the Golden Age of the saga writing.
- Author : Ármann Jakobsson
- Publisher : Routledge
- Release Date : 2017-02-17
- Genre : Literary Criticism
- Pages : 364
- ISBN : 9781317041467
The last fifty years have seen a significant change in the focus of saga studies, from a preoccupation with origins and development to a renewed interest in other topics, such as the nature of the sagas and their value as sources to medieval ideologies and mentalities. The Routledge Research Companion to the Medieval Icelandic Sagas presents a detailed interdisciplinary examination of saga scholarship over the last fifty years, sometimes juxtaposing it with earlier views and examining the sagas both as works of art and as source materials. This volume will be of interest to Old Norse and medieval Scandinavian scholars and accessible to medievalists in general.
This book explores accounts in the Sagas of Icelanders of encounters with foreign peoples, both abroad and in Iceland, who are portrayed according to stereotypes which vary depending on their origins. Notably, inhabitants of the places identified in the sagas as Írland, Skotland and Vínland are portrayed as being less civilized than the Icelanders themselves. This book explores the ways in which the Íslendingasögur emphasize this relative barbarity through descriptions of diet, material culture, style of warfare and character. These characteristics are discussed in relation to parallel descriptions of Icelandic characters and lifestyle within the Íslendingasögur, and also in the context of a tradition in contemporary European literature, which portrayed the Icelanders themselves as barbaric. Comparisons are made with descriptions of barbarians in classical Roman texts, primarily Sallust, but also Caesar and Tacitus, showing striking similarities between Roman and Icelandic ideas about barbarians.
Set around the turn of the last millennium, these stories depict with an astonishingly modern realism the lives and deeds of the Norse men and women who first settled Iceland and of their descendants, who ventured farther west - to Greenland and, ultimately, the coast of North America itself."
- Author : Keneva Kunz
- Publisher : Penguin UK
- Release Date : 2008-04-24
- Genre : Fiction
- Pages : 223
- ISBN : 9780140447750
Presents two classic folktales translated from the Old Icelandic.