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Comic Sagas and Tales from Iceland by Vidar Hreinsson (editor). New York. 2013. Penguin Books. paperback. 329 pages. Cover: llumination from the Icelandic manuscript Flateyjarbok, depicting King Harold Fine-Hair cutting the fetters from the giant Dofri. 9780140447743.

 

 

9780140447743FROM THE PUBLISHER - 

 

   ‘The axe bit well and the head went flying off and landed some distance away. Then Thorgeir rode off.’ COMIC SAGAS AND TALES brings together the finest comic stories from medieval Iceland. With feuding families and moments of grotesque violence, the sagas see such classic mythological figures as murdered fathers, disguised beggars, corrupt chieftains and avenging sons do battle with axes, words and cunning. The tales, meanwhile, follow heroes and comical fools through dreams, voyages and religious conversions in Iceland and beyond. Shaped by the Icelanders’ oral culture and their conversion to Christianity, these stories are works of ironic humour and stylistic innovation. In the introduction to these new translations, Vidar Hreinsson examines how the stories satirized old-style sagas while exploiting their classic themes of quests and revenge. This edition also includes a map, glossary, index of characters, suggested further reading and notes. Translated by Martin S. Regal, John Tucker, Ruth C. Ellison, Frederic Heinemann, George Clark, Robert Kellogg, Judith Jesch And Anthony Maxwell. Edited With An Introduction And Notes By Vidar Hreinsson.

 

 

 

 

Hreinsson VidarViðar Hreinsson grew up on a farm in Northern Iceland but studied Icelandic and literary theory in Iceland and Copenhagen. He is an independent literary scholar at the Reykjavik Academy and has taught and lectured on various aspects of Icelandic literary and cultural history at universities in both in Iceland and abroad, in Canada, USA and Scandinavia. He is the General Editor of the acclaimed The Complete Sagas of Icelanders I-V (1997), and he is the author of a two-volume biography of Icelandic Canadian poet Stephan G. Stephansson published in Iceland 2002 and 2003. The first volume was nominated for the Icelandic Literary Prize, and the biography as a whole received an the 2003 Award for Excellence in Scholarly Writing. A rewritten English version of this biography, Wakeful Nights, was published in Canada in 2012. He has written a number of scholarly articles on medieval sagas, 17th century literature, manuscript culture and Icelandic emigrant literature. More recently Viðar has been an environmental activist, written two biographies, served as the director of the Reykjavík Academy, and pursued research in Icelandic literary culture and critical cultural theory. At pr esent he is working on a ecocritical research project that will result in a monograph that will at the same time analyse and depict the 17 th century conception of nature, and the life of Jón Guðmundsson the Learned (1574-1658), a self-educated scholar, historian, poet, sorcerer and artist.

 

 

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