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Old Norse-Icelandic Literature: A Short Introduction

ISBN: 978-0-470-77683-4
256 pages
April 2008, Wiley-Blackwell
Old Norse-Icelandic Literature: A Short Introduction (0470776838) cover image
From runic inscriptions to sagas, this book introduces readers to the colourful world of Old Norse-Icelandic literature.

  • An introduction to the colourful world of Old Norse-Icelandic literature.
  • Covers mythology and family sagas, as well as less well-known areas, such as oral story-telling, Eddaic verse and skaldic verse.
  • An introduction helps readers to appreciate the language and culture of the first settlers in Iceland.
  • Looks at the reception of Old-Norse-Icelandic literature over the ages, as views of the vikings have changed.
  • Shows how a whole range of authors from Shakespeare to Seamus Heaney have been influenced by Old Norse-Icelandic literature.
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List of Illustrations.

Chronology.

Preface.

1. Iceland.

The Beginnings.

Language.

Cultural Heritage.

Discovery and Settlement.

2. The Saga.

What Is a Saga?.

Are Family Sagas Medieval Novels?.

Are Family Sagas Chronicles of Times Past?.

Three Extracts: Egils saga, Vatnsdœla saga and Laxdœla saga.

3. New Knowledge and Native Traditions.

Latin Learning.

Eddaic and Skaldic Verse.

Historical Writings.

Fornaldarsögur.

Riddarasögur and Rímur.

4. The Politics of Old Norse-Icelandic Literature.

Iceland and Scandinavian Nationalism.

Old Norse-Icelandic as ‘Ancient Poetry’.

Bishop Percy’s Translations.

Gray’s ‘Norse Odes’.

The Romantic Viking.

Our Friends in the North.

Old Norse-Icelandic Studies in Academia.

The Debate about Saga Origins.

Why is Old Norse English Literature?.

Old Norse-Icelandic and English Medieval Literature.

5. The Influence of Old Norse-Icelandic Literature.

BlakeTolkien and Fantasy Literature.

Scott, Kingsley and Haggard.

Landor, Arnold and Morris.

Stevenson, Hardy and Galsworthy.

MacDiarmid, Mackay Brown, and Auden and MacNeice.

Heaney and Muldoon.

Appendix: Hrafnkell’s Saga.

Glossary.

Notes.

Bibliography.

Index

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Heather O’Donoghue is Reader in Old Norse at Oxford University. She is a regular contributor to the Times Literary Supplement.
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  • An introduction to the colourful world of Old Norse-Icelandic literature.
  • Covers mythology and family sagas, as well as less well-known areas, such as oral story-telling, Eddaic verse and skaldic verse.
  • An introduction helps readers to appreciate the language and culture of the first settlers in Iceland.
  • Looks at the reception of Old-Norse-Icelandic literature over the ages, as views of the vikings have changed.
  • Shows how a whole range of authors from Shakespeare to Seamus Heaney have been influenced by Old Norse-Icelandic literature.
See More
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