The Sagas of Icelanders

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Zip The Sagas of Icelanders Wow This book was a huge undertaking but it was completely worth the effort The stories are at once familiar and utterly foreign and so so fascinating It took me a w

Zip The Sagas of Icelanders Wow. This book was a huge undertaking, but it was completely worth the effort. The stories are at once familiar and utterly foreign, and so, so fascinating. It took me a while to fall into the patterns and rhythms of the sagas; they tend to wander, go down long tangents, circle back the long way, and then eventually present a central story of sorts. And that’s not to mention that about 80% of the characters – men and women – have names beginning with the prefix “Thor”. I’m not joking. Thorbjorg, Thorstein, Thorgerd, Thorgils, Thorbjorn, Thorarin, Thorfinn, Thorgeir. I wanted to throw things at some points; I literally had no idea who anybody was in some passages because I was incapable of keeping the names straight. So, these stories are definitely not without their frustrations, but I still highly recommend them if you are willing to invest some time and concentration. There were over a dozen sagas and tales in this collection (which also happens to have a gorgeous cover), but I’m going to highlight my favorite four here:Egil’s Saga:This is the longest of the sagas in this collection, and it is bursting with action thanks to the mercurial and ever-so-slightly sociopathic Egil. The title character gets his start at age seven when he puts an axe through another kid’s skull during a playground scuffle and incites a small blood-feud in the process. His father Skallagrim hardly notices, but his mother fondly notes that he might actually make a decent Viking someday if he applies himself. The rest of the story follows suit with one battle, dispute, and raid after another. Oddly enough (to me, maybe not to the original audience), Egil also happens to be a poet at heart, and his talent with words gets him out of many of the scrapes his temper lands him in. This saga also has the benefit of one of my favorite Viking-Age couples, King Eirik and Queen Gunnhild. Eirik is nice kid who is very fond of Egil when he’s first introduced in the story as a young prince. Things change rapidly after his marriage to Gunnhild, who hates and actively plots against Egil at every turn. She’s a Lady Macbeth of sorts in the story, constantly egging Eirik on to kill Egil and taunting him for being a coward whenever he’s tempted toward mercy. It’s really entertaining to see a guy nicknamed “Bloodaxe” be so thoroughly henpecked. Saga of the People of Laxardal:This second novel-length saga which begins when a guy, Hoskuld, buys a slave-woman (who turns out to be a captured Irish princess) on a business trip. He proceeds to bring her home, now pregnant, to his extremely unimpressed wife. The wife puts her foot down and banishes the woman from the house, but not before a truly lovely catfight erupts. All the while, Hoskuld seems genuinely surprised that the new domestic arrangement is not working out. [fun fact: the YA novel “Hush” is based on this saga]The slave-woman arranges for her son, wonderfully named Olaf Peacock, to go to Ireland and be recognized by her father, the Irish king. The king offers to make him heir to the kingdom, but he declines in favor of returning home (with a much-improved social standing). With some effort, he convinces Egil Skallagrimsson’s refreshingly independent daughter Thorgerd to marry him and they live more-or-less happily ever after in a haunted house in the forest. Olaf’s son Kjartan forms one half of my other favorite couple in the sagas. Kjartan and Gudrun’s depressing, star-crossed relationship is a great big soap opera. They’re childhood sweethearts, but the timing is never quite right for them. She gets married off to a useless man, who she later divorces in favor of another who drowns. Kjartan goes off to Norway to earn a name for himself and asks Gudren to wait for him. She won’t stand for it, and instead marries his best friend/half-brother Bolli (who is Hoskuld’s legitimate son). When Kjartan returns, he is obviously very upset but refuses to admit it. He marries someone else (which really bugs Gudren, though she won’t admit it either) and starts picking fights with Bolli at every opportunity. Despite her continued strained affection for Kjartan, Gudren is offended by the slights to her husband’s, and therefore her, honor and encourages Bolli to fight back. The two men have a confrontation and Bolli ends up killing Kjartan. That initial killing only serves to start a feud that their sons continue for generations, Hatfield and McCoy-style. At the end of her life, her son asks her who she loved best, and she makes a heart-breaking allusion to Kjartan, saying she loved best he who she dealt with worst. Or at least that’s how I choose to interpret it. It was interesting to me how frequently the women in these sagas are the ones instigating the violence, and demanding blood for revenge. I had, rather unfairly, not expected that. And of course since they generally didn’t do the avenging themselves, they had to make sure the men did it for them - whether they liked it or not. Their persuasive techniques are both vicious and extremely effective. The go-to plan seemed to be to tell one’s son/husband/brother that he was a pathetic excuse for a man and/or it was a pity and waste that he ever existed if he didn’t kill so-and-so and restore the family’s honor. Then simply rinse and repeat until the desired effect was achieved. If that didn’t work, there was always the old “too bad you weren’t born a girl, since at least then you could have married and given me a decent son-in-law” to fall back on. Which is just mean.The Saga of Gunnlaug Serpent-Tongue Gunnlaug’s saga was much shorter than the previous two I’ve mentioned, but I absolutely loved it. It really reminded me of a Disney fairy-tale, only with a wild name, a lot more blood and death, and no happy ending. It begins with a nobleman deciding to have his unborn daughter killed at birth after a prophetic dream warns that her beauty will lead men to kill over her, but his wife conspires to have the child raised in secret. She is reunited with her family and develops first a friendly affection and then love for Gunnlaug, who loves her in return but wishes to see the world. Her father agrees to promise Helga to him for three years, but when he does not return in time, he marries her to Gunnlaug’s rival Hrafn instead. Helga makes no secret about her lack of regard for him and pines openly for Gunnlaug, who returns just in time for the wedding. He challenges Hrafn, and they fight several times, eventually killing each other. The story ends with Helga slowly wasting away and dying of a broken heart. I love it. It’s somehow comforting to know that people a thousand years ago liked the exact same hackneyed, melodramatic storylines that we do today. It just never seems to get old, especially when it’s told so well. The Vinland SagasI remember the stories of Eric the Red and Leif Ericson from grade school social studies classes, but this was a much, much better version. Eirik starts his career as an outlaw and murderer on the lam. Leif has a crazy sister, Freydis, who leads her own expedition to the new world and has a crowd of rival settlers butchered; when the men refused to kill the women in the group, she grabs an axe and does the job herself. Where was that in my textbook? I would have paid attention to that. It’s fascinating to read about the first recorded interactions between Europeans and Native Americans. They were violent and exploitative, but yet refreshingly honest; the Vikings seemed to see the native peoples simply as threats to be fended off. In other words, they treated them like anyone else whose lands they wanted who happened to get in the way, and who had the bad luck of inferior weaponry. Naked greed is so much more palatable to me than the kind that gets tarted up in divine mandates and racial superiority. It took me about five months to read this, but it was well worth it. This completely rocked my sense of Norse culture of that time. Who knew that Vikings were so litigious or artistic? They seemed far more engrossed by their lawsuits and poetry than they did by raiding and pillaging. Color me surprised. I have a painfully beautiful picture of Iceland painted in my head after reading this, and am putting it firmly on my life-travel list. Fantastic book. . The Sagas of Icelanders Viral Ebook 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 ofIn 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.. Jane Smiley is a Pulitzer Prize winning American novelist.Born in Los Angeles, California, Smiley grew up in Webster Groves, Missouri, a suburb of St Louis, and graduated from John Burroughs School She obtained a A.B at Vassar College, then earned a M.F.A and Ph.D from the University of Iowa While working towards her doctorate, she also spent a year studying in Iceland as a Fulbright Scholar From 1981 to 1996, she taught at Iowa State University Smiley published her first novel, Barn Blind, in 1980, and won a 1985 O Henry Award for her short story Lily , which was published in The Atlantic Monthly Her best selling A Thousand Acres, a story based on William Shakespeare s King Lear, received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1992 It was adapted into a film of the same title in 1997 In 1995 she wrote her sole television script produced, for an episode of Homicide Life on the Street Her novella The Age of Grief was made into the 2002 film The Secret Lives of Dentists.Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel 2005 , is a non fiction meditation on the history and the nature of the novel, somewhat in the tradition of E M Forster s seminal Aspects of the Novel, that roams from eleventh century Japan s Murasaki Shikibu s The Tale of Genji to twenty first century Americans chick lit.In 2001, Smiley was elected a member of The American Academy of Arts and Letters.. The best Book The Sagas of Icelanders Stories are important. Maybe even essential. We learn about each other through stories; whether it be the Cliff Notes version of ourselves we tell to coworkers and clients or the long narratives enjoyed of our child's daily exploits at school. Long before our first attempts at writing stories we shared tales of ourselves, our heritage, our world through the spoken word. Homer's hymns, Aesop's fables or Icelandic sagas - they are all instructive, rich and certainly the greater for having been heard rather than read. I have a personal story I've told about a half dozen times to different friends over the years involving me, Ozzy Ozbourne, Teddy Roosevelt and the Alamo. In its few tellings I've never failed to solicit a laugh or a smile. I feel, however, if I tried to write that story rather than tell it I would kill its soul. When my audience is nodding their head and laughing at a certain part of the narrative I can embelish that portion and play it longer. If I see their eyes begin to glass or their attention wane, I move quicker to the next act. By the end of the anecdote I've (hopefully) played the strengths of the story to my audience and, if not entertained them, at least shared something personal about me that helps to further explain who I am. It was an absolute pleasure to read these dozen or so sagas of Icelanders whose culture is foreign to me, and yet I found the recognizable humanity in their struggles, the pleasures and pains of living and the search for some way to leave a mark on the world. Many of these stories were oral traditions passed through multiple generations of story tellers. How wonderful to know that the version I've read is an English translation of a collection of Icelandic texts written onto animal skins 700-1000 years ago from a story told and retold countless of times - to the point that whatever I'm reading is certainly a pale copy of the original. And yet the center of the story still holds. I'm invested in these explorers, their story. I truly want to understand the why, where and how of their lives. It makes me genuinely happy to know that while I appreciate great writers from the last 200 years, it isn't necessary to be a master of the written word to tell a compelling story.Vonnegut exhorts his reader in a few of his novels: Listen. He doesn't tell us to Look, or Read Carefully, but to hear what he is writing. I can hear his words in my head, but I don't think that is what he meant. I love reading Vonnegut aloud, even to myself if my wife or daughter won't listen. As a lover of storytelling, I'd like to think that Vonnegut would be happy to know that a fan of his works took him at his literal meaning. And perhaps some master Icelandic storytellers of yore could relate as well.
The Sagas Mythology Wiki Fandom Saga Saga literature Britannica Saga, in medieval Icelandic literature, any type of story or history in prose, irrespective of the kind or nature of the narrative or the purposes for which it was written Used in this general sense, the term applies to a wide range of literary works, including those of hagiography biographies of List of Sagas Dragon Ball Wiki Fandom This article is about the sagas in the Dragon Ball franchise For the video game, see Dragon Ball Z Sagas. This is a list of the sagas in the Dragon Ball series combined into groups of sagas involving a similar plotline and a prime antagonist. The Sagas of Icelanders Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition A unique body of medieval literature, the Sagas rank with the world s greatest literary treasures as epic as Homer, as deep in tragedy as Sophocles, as engagingly human as Shakespeare. The Sagas of Icelanders by Jane Smiley The Sagas of Icelanders The Saga age was from about to about The Sagas were collected and written down about years after the events took place in Norway and Iceland at the time of the Vikings It is different from almost any other world literature.

About Author

  • Jane Smiley Robert Kellogg Katrina C. Attwood George Clark Anthony Maxwell Bernard Scudder Andrew Wawn Keneva Kunz Post author

    Jane Smiley is a Pulitzer Prize winning American novelist.Born in Los Angeles, California, Smiley grew up in Webster Groves, Missouri, a suburb of St Louis, and graduated from John Burroughs School She obtained a A.B at Vassar College, then earned a M.F.A and Ph.D from the University of Iowa While working towards her doctorate, she also spent a year studying in Iceland as a Fulbright Scholar From 1981 to 1996, she taught at Iowa State University Smiley published her first novel, Barn Blind, in 1980, and won a 1985 O Henry Award for her short story Lily , which was published in The Atlantic Monthly Her best selling A Thousand Acres, a story based on William Shakespeare s King Lear, received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1992 It was adapted into a film of the same title in 1997 In 1995 she wrote her sole television script produced, for an episode of Homicide Life on the Street Her novella The Age of Grief was made into the 2002 film The Secret Lives of Dentists.Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel 2005 , is a non fiction meditation on the history and the nature of the novel, somewhat in the tradition of E M Forster s seminal Aspects of the Novel, that roams from eleventh century Japan s Murasaki Shikibu s The Tale of Genji to twenty first century Americans chick lit.In 2001, Smiley was elected a member of The American Academy of Arts and Letters.

One thought on “The Sagas of Icelanders

  • Stories are important Maybe even essential We learn about each other through stories whether it be the Cliff Notes version of ourselves we tell to coworkers and clients or the long narratives enjoyed of our child s daily exploits at school Long before our first attempts at writing stories we shared tales of ourselves, our heritage, our world through the spoken word Homer s hymns, Aesop s fables or Icelandic sagas they are all instructive, rich and certainly the greater for having been heard rath [...]


  • Wow This book was a huge undertaking, but it was completely worth the effort The stories are at once familiar and utterly foreign, and so, so fascinating It took me a while to fall into the patterns and rhythms of the sagas they tend to wander, go down long tangents, circle back the long way, and then eventually present a central story of sorts And that s not to mention that about 80% of the characters men and women have names beginning with the prefix Thor I m not joking Thorbjorg, Thorstein, T [...]



  • This book is immediately misleading in that the title might make you think it contains all the Icelandic sagas It does not not even close What it does contain is two of the longest sagas and a selection of the shorter ones including the Vinland Sagas as well as a selection of Tales.This single volume is a Penguin reprint of part of the complete multi volume translation into English of all the Icelandic mediaeval sagas and tales conducted under the general editorship of Ornolfur Thorsson by a col [...]


  • Because the same language was spoken in north east England and Icleand at the time of the arrival of William the Conqueror many English speakers consider Icelandic literature to be part of their cultural heritage For those who subscribe to this notion, this handsome volume will be a great delight.The sagas were all translated simultaneously under the direction of a signal committee which imposed consistent translations of words for all the works My own feeling is that what resulted was an artifi [...]


  • I picked up this tome a few years ago and tried to speed through it, like I was reading a history book or a modern, plot driven page turner Bad idea It was like trying to speedread the Bible, where a verse or two can encapsulate an entire life In anything, the sagas are even spare and packed with action than the Bible.So, this go around, I am taking the sagas on one at a time I just finished reading The Saga of the People of Vatnsdal, a tale that extends across five generations of a family that [...]


  • Pretty much the first thing that struck me about these sagas is how immediately accessible they are I have read medieval texts before even if not very many , and usually i.e unless one happens to be a medievalist it takes a lengthy introduction and extensive notes for any modern day reader to even get the point of any tale from that period, not to mention any deeper significance or wider ranging connotations Not that one should expect a penetrating exploration of the conditio humana from those t [...]


  • The best one volume introduction to the sagas The translation of Egil s Saga features much better English versions of the verses than its predecessors, whicih is essential since it s the biography of a skaldic poet In Gunnlaug Serpent Tongue, on the other hand, the verses rhyme Laxdaela is very good, as is Gisli Of course, the editors had to make tough choices about what to include Personally, I would ve left out the Vinland sagas and the tales in favor of Njal s, and included Grettir rather tha [...]


  • Prose stories detailing the various misadventures of man and woman who were born or exiled to or who died in Iceland from, roughly speaking 900 1200 AD What s the point of reading ancient works of world literature 1 it gives you some insight into a past culture, and into the broader sweep of history 2 it s difficult, and strange, and not like reading anything written in the last few centuries, and there s a value to that in and of itself 3 there are always a handful of peculiar concepts which ar [...]


  • The sagas and tales in this selection account for maybe a bit less than 2 5 of the entire corpus of the slendinga s gur respectable as far as selections go, and for all but a select few, than enough to convey the general content and scope of this strange body of literature For all their interweavings, the truth is that nearly every saga I ve sampled from this book, and volumes I and IV of the complete translation expresses essentially the same qualities of genealogical grounding, pagan Christia [...]


  • ICELAND S CONTRIBUTION TO WORLD CULTURERoots time for me I am half Icelandic People tend to think of the ancient Norsemen as barbaric murderers Well, they went a Viking, and you probably wouldn t want to meet them on one of their shopping trips But the Norse had a rich and complicated culture, their own religion, and some of the most powerful sagas in the world Icelanders were the scribes and intellectuals The Icelandic sagas have been compared to the Greek in scope and power Sample a civilizati [...]


  • More history than sagas themselves, this book nonetheless provides a geographical and demographic backdrop for the Norse Sagas which we have remaining to us following their 13th century compilation and preservation in Iceland, primarily by Snorri Sturlusson.



  • I ve spent the past month reading many of the major sagas included in this edition, specifically, EGILS SAGA SKALLAGRIMMSON, HRAFNKEL S SAGA FREYSGODI and LAXDAELA SAGA I ve done so with a great deal of enjoyment, as I d really never read anything like this They re essentially just stories about farmers in various degrees of conflict none of them very complex, none of them very intrcate, all of them very good.I really enjoyed both EGILS SAGA and LAXDAELA SAGA, because they were kind of connected [...]


  • What a joy to read this book in my timber cabin in the woods, by the flickering of a log fire, with a hard frost outside, and a full moon shining from a starlit northern sky Perfect conditions in which to enjoy these vivid translations, and feel transported to a congenial time and place except for the sudden eruptions of deadly violence I would have given five stars except that some of my favourite sagas are omitted and also, I wish the publishers hadn t had the daft idea of rough cutting all t [...]



  • Remarkable and horrifying and beautifully written This book was an epiphany for me understanding the Calvinist upbringing I had deep seeded fear of the other.


  • I originally got ahold of this book because I decided to do some research into Viking Age Iceland for the novel I m writing, and the Sagas were the perfect place to go.That said, at first I found the Sagas pretty challenging who knew medieval literature was hard The stories were interesting and I learned loads about the culture, but the detached writing style and rather different storytelling than what I was used to slowed me down a lot I think it took me almost two months to finish them all.Whi [...]


  • I m currently reading the Sagas of IcelandEgil s SagaEgil and his entire family are pricks Given how this is a story about a great family, the lessons I get is that great men have the capacity for being good and being terrible Every generation of the family has an ugly and troublemaking brother as well as a handsome and good brother The good brother dies every time, but with his death, the troublemaker brother comes into his own The entire family preaches justice, but are always willing to sacri [...]


  • The Sagas of Icelanders is an expansive collection of Icelandic family sagas and stories Most of them were written from the 13th and 14th century Iceland and Greenland were settled a few centuries earlier and the sagas cover the stories of that settlement With all the interest in Vikings and the success of the TV series, it was fun to go back to some of the original stories of the real Viking adventures.There are several sagas Their society is very different from the feudal society of the rest o [...]


  • I think the Vinland Sagas were my favourite, but not just because of Newfoundland They re better stories, I think I keep thinking about when the exploratory party has to survive on the meat of beached whales, and the one crewman who regrets converting to Christianity is overwhelmed with despair And Freydis Eriksdottir I d love to go back to L Anse Aux Meadows someday I started reading the Sagas hoping for something alien and unknown, and ended up reading stories that were strangely familiar Ther [...]


  • I am currently reading this, in no particular order, and am loving it The characters are so utterly recognisable in their human attributes, both positive and negative These sagas give an insight into the culture and history of those times I am not finding these sagas archaic or difficult either the stories romp along with such gusto, uncluttered by unnecessary verbiage.I started with Gisli Sursson s saga, simply because I had seen on Vimeo a wonderful short film called Memories of old awake , cr [...]


  • The following is not really a review, so skip it if that s what you re after I ve read several of the sagas included in this collection before Egil s, Laxardal, Bolli Bollason, Greenlanders, and Eirik the Red , and I intend to deal with additional sagas separately if I review them However, there are also several tales given here that I haven t seen elsewhere, i.e the shorter works known as ttr, and I might as well make some notes on individual tales in this collection here Thorstein Staff Struck [...]


  • The Icelandic Sagas are a remarkable collection of medieval literature While in England, France and elsewhere the literature were verse works concentrating on Kings and rulers, the Icelandic Sagas were prose narratives describing ordinary Icelanders especially their heroes who were often on the edge of society Eril s Saga, the first in the book, is, at least for me, too much of a chronological story of people starting in Norway and then traveling to Iceland It becomes interesting toward the end [...]


  • The Sagas of Icelanders are the stories of the first people settling Iceland, recorded in the 13th century, although the events actually took place as early as 830 Most of them are fairly interesting but they can be difficult to follow because there are so many characters some of which have the same names Gisil Sursson s Saga has two people named Gisil and the Saga of Eirik the Red has two Eiriks or have names that are very similar so many names starting with Thor They take a lot of concentratio [...]


  • I know I m probably biased, but this stuff is awesome As a monument of western literature, the sagas and tales of the Icelanders are as strange as they are magnificent Intensely violent, utterly human, and completely entertaining Don t let the thought of having to read Beowulf again fool you This is not Beowulf The sagas are surprisingly realistic Check it out You ll be glad Make sure you start with some of the shorter sagas though The long ones, though great, can be a little too detailed.


  • I ve read various sags before but never such a huge chunk at one go The language the Icelandic daughter of one of the translators tells me they capture the feel of the original very well gets into your blood I ve been going around for days saying things like that would not seem to be far wrong or it may be that I would not be the one who would be far wrong should you turn out to be not entirely right And the names The names are demented and wonderful Essential stuff.


  • 1 What inspired Tolkien s names.2 That early Icelanders were a paradox poet, pirate, farmers who besides exhibiting tremendous individualism and sense of freedom, developed sophisticated legal systems and literature.Egil s Saga was perhaps the most impressive and the one I keep rereading.


  • Yes, this book is IMMENSE and demonstrates Smiley s unreal rigor and discipline I love Viking sagas and Smiley proves readable over all one million or so pages I ve read it twice


  • This is a daunting book at first glance, but the stories are for the ages, and one of humanities greatest treasures This translation is very easy to read, and I tore through it like fiction.


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