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Njal's Saga

by Anonymous

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,032205,942 (3.91)41
'Njal's Saga' is the finest of the Icelandic sagas, and one of the world's greatest prose works. Written c.1280, about events a couple of centuries earlier, it is divided into three parts: the first recounts the touching friendship between noble Gunnar and the statesman Njal, together with the fatal enmity between their wives. The second part works out the central tragedy of the saga, while the third describes the retribution wrought by Flosi and Kari. The saga is remarkable not only for the details of everyday life - the farming, the feasting and the charcoal-burning - but also for the social structure of the society in which that life took place - the Althing or Parliament, the lawmaking and the lawgiving. The grandeur of the narrative and the beauty and distinction of the characters mark 'Njal's Saga' as an essential text for all who love adventure and great literature.… (more)
  1. 11
    Michael Kohlhaas by Heinrich von Kleist (andejons)
    andejons: Both are stories dealing with legal procedure and violence.
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» See also 41 mentions

English (17)  Norwegian (1)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (20)
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
Copy 1 of 350 printed for the Imperial Edition ( )
  ME_Dictionary | Mar 19, 2020 |
An icelandic Iliad. A gory, funny saga of a 50 year feud ( )
  viking2917 | Jul 8, 2019 |
Republication of Dasent's 1861 translation. ( )
  aodha | Mar 18, 2019 |
Njal's Saga is epic tale of toxic masculinity spiraling out of control as a 50 year blood feud builds to greater and greater acts of vengeance over insults like gifts of silk and manliness being called into question. Many people are murdered and an entire family is burnt down in their home. Peace is finally achieved when a man marries a widow. One man is given a bracelet worth 19 cows.

Medieval Icelanders were petty AF. ( )
1 vote Zoes_Human | Nov 17, 2018 |
Here’s a family saga that makes the Hatfields and the McCoys seem like amateurs, genealogical narratives that make those in the Bible seem brief, and grisly descriptions of hand to hand combat that are the equal of the Iliad. In the introduction to this edition of the English translation by Bayerschmidt and Hollander, Þorsteinn Gylfason notes, “An Icelandic scholar of the eighteenth century said that all the sagas of the Icelanders could be summed up in four words, 'Farmers came to blows.'"

But between these dismemberments are the stories of resentment and craftiness that precede the gore, and more fascinating to me, the legal suits and maneuverings in the Althing, the medieval Icelandic assembly, to award compensation to the families of the slain in exchange for a pledge of peace. Then after all parties were satisfied, the plotting of the next round of the vendetta starts just as soon as all have returned home. Equally fascinating to me is that in the middle of all this feuding and strife—in the year 1000 by our current calendar—everyone converts to Christianity, and then continues on exactly as they did as worshipers of the old Norse gods. ( )
1 vote MaowangVater | Dec 6, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (102 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anonymousprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Örnólfur Thorsson,Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cook, RobertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dasent, George WebbeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Drummond, JamesCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lönnroth, LarsTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lucas, E. V.Prefatory Notesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Magnusson, MagnusTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Otten, MarcelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pálsson, HermannTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sveinsson, Einar Ol.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Turville-Petre, Professor E.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tuuri, AnttiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Einar Ólafur Sveinsson
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There was a man named Mord whose nickname was Gigja.

translated by Robert Cook (1997)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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'Njal's Saga' is the finest of the Icelandic sagas, and one of the world's greatest prose works. Written c.1280, about events a couple of centuries earlier, it is divided into three parts: the first recounts the touching friendship between noble Gunnar and the statesman Njal, together with the fatal enmity between their wives. The second part works out the central tragedy of the saga, while the third describes the retribution wrought by Flosi and Kari. The saga is remarkable not only for the details of everyday life - the farming, the feasting and the charcoal-burning - but also for the social structure of the society in which that life took place - the Althing or Parliament, the lawmaking and the lawgiving. The grandeur of the narrative and the beauty and distinction of the characters mark 'Njal's Saga' as an essential text for all who love adventure and great literature.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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