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Hrafnkel's Saga and Other Icelandic Stories

by Anonymous

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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489339,196 (3.88)4
Written around the thirteenth century AD by Icelandic monks, the seven tales collected here offer a combination of pagan elements tightly woven into the pattern of Christian ethics. They take as their subjects figures who are heroic, but do not fit into the mould of traditional heroes. Some stories concern characters in Iceland - among them Hrafknel's Saga, in which a poor man's son is murdered by his powerful neighbour, and Thorstein the Staff-Struck, which describes an ageing warrior's struggle to settle into a peaceful rural community. Others focus on the adventures of Icelanders abroad, including the compelling Audun's Story, which depicts a farmhand's pilgrimage to Rome. These fascinating tales deal with powerful human emotions, suffering and dignity at a time of profound transition, when traditional ideals were gradually yielding to a more peaceful pastoral lifestyle. For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.… (more)
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The title story is much more consciously literary than the other stories in this short collection. It's a tale of broken oaths, murder, revenge, legal drama and redemption in medieval Iceland.

Several of the other stories have similar themes but have a somewhat different tone, being more like a cross between a short biography of an individual and the anecdotes about him that would get told down the pub on a long winter's night.

The latter-most stories take a wider look at the Norse world as they tell of Icelanders who travel abroad. One character goes so far as Rome, escaping the North altogether for a while.

Both types offer a fascinating glimpse of the prevailing culture in an entertaining fashion. ( )
  Arbieroo | Jul 17, 2020 |
Hrafnkel's Saga
Thorstein the Staff-Struck
Ale-Hood
Hreidar the Fool
Halldor Snorrason
Audun's Story
Ivar's Story

Seven stories written in thirteenth century Iceland. The first three are set in Iceland, and include murder, revenge and law suits. The other four are tales of Icelanders abroad, as they travel to their adventures at foreign courts and their relationships with the kings of Denmark and Norway. All seven are part of a literary tradition of writing realistic stories looking back nostalgically to the Iceland of the 10th and 11th centuries.

My favourite was "Audun's Story", in which a poor farmhand travels to Greenland and buys a polar bear to present to the King of Denmark. ( )
  isabelx | Apr 22, 2011 |
Used
  Czrbr | Jun 7, 2010 |
Showing 3 of 3
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anonymousprimary authorall editionscalculated
Pálsson, HermannTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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INTRODUCTION -- The stories in this volume date from the thirteenth century, the Golden Age of saga writing, and they exemplify the outstanding qualities of realistic fiction in medieval Iceland.
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Written around the thirteenth century AD by Icelandic monks, the seven tales collected here offer a combination of pagan elements tightly woven into the pattern of Christian ethics. They take as their subjects figures who are heroic, but do not fit into the mould of traditional heroes. Some stories concern characters in Iceland - among them Hrafknel's Saga, in which a poor man's son is murdered by his powerful neighbour, and Thorstein the Staff-Struck, which describes an ageing warrior's struggle to settle into a peaceful rural community. Others focus on the adventures of Icelanders abroad, including the compelling Audun's Story, which depicts a farmhand's pilgrimage to Rome. These fascinating tales deal with powerful human emotions, suffering and dignity at a time of profound transition, when traditional ideals were gradually yielding to a more peaceful pastoral lifestyle. For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

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Contains:
  • Hrafnkel's Saga
  • Thorsteein the Staff-Struck
  • Ale-Hood
  • Hreidar the Fool
  • Halldor Snorrason
  • Audun's Story
  • Ivar's Story
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