Read e-book online Old Norse-Icelandic Literature: A Short Introduction PDF

By Heather O'Donoghue

ISBN-10: 0470776838

ISBN-13: 9780470776834

ISBN-10: 0631236252

ISBN-13: 9780631236252

From runic inscriptions to sagas, this e-book introduces readers to the vibrant international of previous Norse-Icelandic literature.

  • An creation to the vibrant global of outdated Norse-Icelandic literature.
  • Covers mythology and family members sagas, in addition to much less famous parts, comparable to oral story-telling, Eddaic verse and skaldic verse.
  • An creation is helping readers to understand the language and tradition of the 1st settlers in Iceland.
  • Looks on the reception of Old-Norse-Icelandic literature over the a long time, as perspectives of the vikings have replaced.
  • Shows how an entire diversity of authors from Shakespeare to Seamus Heaney were inspired by means of previous Norse-Icelandic literature.

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Sample text

Hrafnkell, in his turn, kills Einarr in the belief, as the saga author tells us, that he ought to abide by the solemn oath he has sworn. The saga author, free to invent, might have credited Hrafnkell with some regret about killing Einarr – or even some sadistic pleasure in the punishment. But instead, we learn that Hrafnkell feels that he has no choice. In both cases, the motivation ascribed to the characters serves to prevent the reader from either sympathizing fully with Einarr, or fully deploring or condoning Hrafnkell’s violence.

The derivations of some of the placenames – for instance, Arnfrúbarstabir, rather implausibly said to have been named after a foreign slave woman who died there the first winter – also serve to insert the story of Hrafnkell into a non-fictional landscape. And finally, the many and detailed references to the topography of eastern Iceland, its valleys, glaciers and rivers still identifiable and bearing much the same names, complete the impression of verifiable historicity. Towards the beginning of the saga, the author tells us that Hrafnkell and his father made frequent visits to each other, but that the most direct route between their two farmsteads was difficult to travel over, being both stony and boggy.

It seems likely that these formed part of the throne on which the head of the family might sit on formal occasions, and that they might have been carved, and had a religious significance. Ingólfr trusts that they will indicate, according to where they are washed up, a place in Iceland favoured by his family’s gods back in Norway. The author of Landnámabók is in no way apologetic about Ingólfr’s pagan practices, and this model of settlement is implicitly contrasted with Leifr’s. Leifr disdains sacrifice to the gods, and does not throw any high-seat pillars overboard in the hope of an omen.

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Old Norse-Icelandic Literature: A Short Introduction by Heather O'Donoghue

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