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The Sagas of Icelanders (1997)

por Örnólfur Thorsson (Editor)

Outros autores: Kartina C. Attwood (Tradutor), George Clark (Tradutor), Ruth C. Ellison (Tradutor), Terry Gunnell (Tradutor), Viðar Hreinsson (General editor)7 mais, Robert Kellogg (Introdução), Keneva Kunz (Tradutor), Anthony Maxwell (Tradutor), Martin S. Regal (Tradutor), Bernard Scudder (Tradutor), Jane Smiley (Prefácio), Andrew Wawn (Tradutor)

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The Kenandic sagas are amongst some of the most remarkable Nordic contributions to world literature. This selection of sagas and short tales is prefaced by an introductory essay by Robert Kellogg, explaining their literary and social context.
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Mostrando 1-5 de 16 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
This one's a collection of sagas from Iceland, naturally. Set in the era from roughly 850-1060, they tell the stories of the notable people who settled and lived in Iceland, and, in some cases, their travels from Rome to Newfoundland. In one sense, it's history--the people in the sagas were probably real. But there does seem to be embellishments to the stories, so one can't really tell what parts are factual and what parts are fiction. But fact or fiction, it does give an interesting and enjoyable glimpse into a people and place 1000 years past. Check it out!
--J. ( )
  Hamburgerclan | Aug 4, 2020 |
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 collective of translators and advisory academics. The approach taken offers the benefits of consistency, a simple example being that obscure words are given the same translation into English uniformly across all the works.

This volume includes copious supporting material that sets the Icelandic Sagas in their historical, social and literary contexts and provides useful additional information such as family trees that show the interelations of families within and between sagas, diagrams of typical farms and farm houses and Viking sea vessels and a glossary of obscure terms and an index of characters, all of which I found useful. So much for the book in general.

Egil's Saga
It's a long time since I read this but my lasting impression is that of a work that sits in an odd place on the literary map. Imagine genres as territories; fiction would be one area, history another, biography another and so on but defining the boundaries exactly would be difficult - is myth fiction or history? for example - nevermind delimiting the internal genre boundaries within fiction.

This saga lands partially within the bounds of all the above mentioned; it's clearly family history and the biography of Egil specifically but such things as shapeshifters are talked about in passing with the same kind of matter-of-fact casualness as Viking raids and farming. Fantastical elements are few and far between, however and never the focus of the narrative, which rarely spends time in Iceland, prefering Norway and even England, where blood feuds, Kings and battles share time with farming, poetry and romances.

Treating the work as a novel will likely lead to disappointment; looking at it as a window into a very alien past might lead to fascination.

The Tale of Thorstein Staff-struck
I love how this stuff sounds like you're sat round the fire down the pub, of a snowy mid-winter's night, and some guy says, "Let me tell you the story of..." in this case a typically violent tale of mis-deed, revenge, single combat and bizarre outcome - plus some genealogy, of course.
  Arbieroo | Jul 17, 2020 |
This review is based on a partial reading of the first saga, Egil's Saga, and an overall assessment of the book's presentation and formatting. It was reviewed for the Go Review That Book! group.


The sagas of Icelanders may not be that well known to North American audiences, or at least not on the same level as the more general Norse myths. This weighty collection from Penguin Classics contains several of the most important ones, as well as introductions and explanatory material about the translation. Each "verse" of a saga is numbered, and the verses are somewhat short, making it easy to read a few at a time. This is a book that requires concentration and sustained reading in small doses over a long period. It is also important to keep reading it regularly; if you drop the book for a while, it may be difficult to keep track of who everybody is. The book itself is lovely, a handsome paperback with deckle edging, and will certainly look impressive on your shelves until the right moment is found to start reading it.
  rabbitprincess | Feb 12, 2017 |
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 of Europe. It is more egalitarian. Without kings, most of their government takes place at the Althings when people gather to make decisions and settle grievances. There are legal battles, confiscation courts and outlawry. Honor plays a big role, requiring revenge sometimes even when folks would rather not bother.

The women have more agency there than in the rest of Europe as well. They are consulted before marriage and able to reject suitors they do not like. They own property and even, occasionally, lead their own expeditions and captain their own ships. Perhaps because their husbands may be gone for a year or more on trading voyages, they gained power from the need to manage and safeguard their family estates and farms.

With all the patronymic, it can be confusing to keep track of who is who, except there are all the wonderful nicknames. I would love to know how Filth-Eyjolf and Eystein Fart got their names. There is Alf the Wealthy, Asbjorn the Fleshy, Asgeir Audunarson Scatter-brain, Atli the Squinter, Ketil Flat-Nose and so many more.

Most of the stories are about this, that, or the other person getting in a snit, killing someone, then getting killed in return, though some are pretty clever at escaping. Ref the Sly even built a cabin with walls filled with water piped from a stream to automatically put out fires by pulling shims to open the flow, a sprinkler system created around 1050.

I loved The Sagas of Icelanders. It’s a huge book of more than 750 pages so I read it over many weeks a little bit at a time. This is easy because even the longest sagas are broken up into short stories of a page or two.

I love the matter of fact writing and the quick, naturalistic characterization of the people. This person was a scold, that one was lazy, this one thought too highly of himself. They just said it. See how easily and plainly this situation is set up.

“There was a man named Thorbjorn who was rich, overbearing, a great fighter and a trouble-maker. He had lived in every quarter of the country, but the chieftains and the public had expelled him from each district in turn because of his unfairness and his manslaughters. He had not paid compensation for any man he had killed. His wife was named Rannveig; she was stupid and domineering. It was generally felt that Thorbjorn would have committed fewer outrages if she had not driven him on. Now Thorbjorn bought land at Saudafell mountain. Many of those who knew his reputation beforehand were apprehensive about his coming.”

With such plain narratives filled with action, The Sagas of Icelanders is full of adventures and heroics. It also includes the sagas of Eirek the Red and Leif Eireksson who settled, for a time, in Vinland on the coast of Canada. While these are the sagas of the people of Iceland and Greenland, they travel to Sweden, Norway, Ireland, England, Denmark, Russia, and Rome and even Constantinople, traveling all around Europe trading and raiding.

http://tonstantweaderreviews.wordpress.com/2016/11/05/the-sagas-of-icelanders-ed... ( )
2 vote Tonstant.Weader | Nov 5, 2016 |
It is interesting to read The Sagas of the Icelanders as they recall stories of important people that have shaped Iceland. The two sagas I particularly like — Saga of Erik the Red and Greenland saga — are recollections of how the Vikings were the first Europeans to discover the American continent 400 years before Columbus. ( )
  YoCottin | Sep 29, 2016 |
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Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Thorsson, ÖrnólfurEditorautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Attwood, Kartina C.Tradutorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Clark, GeorgeTradutorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Ellison, Ruth C.Tradutorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Gunnell, TerryTradutorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Hreinsson, ViðarGeneral editorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Kellogg, RobertIntroduçãoautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Kunz, KenevaTradutorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Maxwell, AnthonyTradutorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Regal, Martin S.Tradutorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Scudder, BernardTradutorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Smiley, JanePrefácioautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Wawn, AndrewTradutorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
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The prose literature of medieval Iceland is a great world treasure – elaborate, various, strange, profound, and as eternally current as any of the other great literary treasures – the Homeric epics, Dante's Divine Comedy, the works of William Shakespeare or of any modern writer you could name. (Preface by Jane Smiley)
The later Middle Ages in Europe were a time of striking innovation in literature. (Introduction by Robert Kellogg)
Egil's Saga is acknowledged as one of the masterpieces of the genre, a magnificently wrought portrait of poet, warrior and farmer Egil Skallagrimsson, loosely contained within the framework of the family saga, but with an unusual twist - the feud that Egil and his forebears wage is with the kings of Norway.
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"The sagas and tales in this book are reprinted from the Complete sagas of Icelanders I-V, published 1997 by Leifur Eiríksson Publishing, Iceland, with minor alterations"--P. [lviii].
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The Kenandic sagas are amongst some of the most remarkable Nordic contributions to world literature. This selection of sagas and short tales is prefaced by an introductory essay by Robert Kellogg, explaining their literary and social context.

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