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The Cambridge Introduction to the Old Norse-Icelandic Saga,9780521735209

The Cambridge Introduction to the Old Norse-Icelandic Saga

Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: 11/29/2010
Publisher(s): Cambridge University Press
Availability: This title is currently not available.


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.

Table of Contents

List of tablesp. viii
A Preface on Practical issuesp. ix
Acknowledgementsp. xiii
Abbreviationsp. xiv
Medieval Icelandp. 1
Setting the scenep. 1
Why Iceland?p. 3
Where Did the settlers come from?p. 5
Medieval Iceland societyp. 7
Religionp. 10
Why did medieval Icelanders write so much and so well?p. 11
What is an Old Norse-Icelandic saga?p. 13
The term Old Norsep. 13
What is an Old Norse-Icelandic saga?p. 14
Saga in the medieval lexiconp. 15
How are sagas different from non-sagas?p. 20
The view from inside the textp. 23
Kinds of sagasp. 27
The genesis of the Icelandic sagap. 37
Theories of saga Originsp. 38
A major controversy in studies of saga origins: bookprose versus freeprosep. 39
Studies of Oral cultures and their impact on saga studiesp. 41
Vernacular literacy in medieval Icelandp. 43
The growth of saga conventionsp. 48
Concepts of authorshipp. 50
Saga chronologyp. 52
The Politics of saga chronologyp. 54
The evidence of the manuscriptsp. 57
Dating criteriap. 61
Some tentative conclusionsp. 69
Saga subjects and settingsp. 72
Time and place in the saga worldp. 72
The world of the fornaldarsögurp. 76
Riddarasögur and their worldp. 80
Kings' sagasp. 84
Sagas of Icelanders and their worldp. 89
Contemporary sagasp. 91
Saga mode, style and point of viewp. 95
An example of prosimetrum: Kormáks saga, Chapter 6p. 99
Literary and cultural backgroundp. 100
The analysisp. 104
Valla-Ljóts saga, Chapter 4p. 106
Literary and cultural backgroundp. 108
The analysisp. 110
Brennu-Njá saga, Chapter 157p. 113
Literary and cultural backgroundp. 114
The analysisp. 115
Qrvar-Odds saga, Chapter 42p. 117
Literary and cultural backgroundp. 118
The analysisp. 120
Conclusionp. 122
Saga structuresp. 124
Structure and meaningp. 125
Structures of conflict and resolutionp. 127
Life-histories: Structures of biography and genealogyp. 131
Structures of travel and the acquisition of Knowledgep. 136
Structural complexity in the Icelandic sagasp. 138
The material record: how we know the sagasp. 140
Medieval Icelandic manuscripts and manuscript copyingp. 141
The Copying and collecting of Icelandic manuscripts after the Middle Agesp. 145
Saga editions: Principles and Practicep. 149
Changing understandings of the sagasp. 153
The reception of sagas in post-Medieval Icelandp. 153
The reception of the Icelandic sagas outside Icelandp. 156
Notesp. 164
Glossary of technical termsp. 172
Guide to further readingp. 174
References of volumes in the Íslenzk fornrit editions of Icelandic sagasp. 184
Indexp. 185
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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