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Long lives of short sagas
Long lives of short sagas

Long lives of short sagas

The Irrepressibility of Narrative and the Case of Illuga saga Gríðarfóstra

The Viking Collection


401 Pages, 5.5 x 8.5

Formats: Cloth

Cloth, $47.00 (US $47.00) (CA $63.00)

Publication Date: December 2019

ISBN 9788740832495

Rights: US & CA

Univ. Press of Southern Denmark (Dec 2019)
University Press of Southern Denmark

Price: $47.00


Over the last few decades a number of works have appeared which have increased our knowledge and appreciation of the pre-modern Icelandic genre of fornaldarsogur (often translated into English as legendary sagas, heroic sagas, or the sagas of ancient times). This new work builds upon the preceding research but takes as a case study a short, late version of the genre. By looking at a peripheral narrative—one which many would exclude and ignore when considering the genre—new perspectives on many of the questions which researchers put to this genre can be provided. Illuga saga Grioarfostra turns out to be a story which has served many functions for multiple audiences. By tracing the complete history of this work from its origins through multiple manuscript witnesses, its use in Scandinavian intellectual history in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and through to the many poetic reworkings produced in Iceland up to the twentieth century, a comprehensive picture is produced which allows us to see how a short story can have a much fuller life than is immediately apparent.

Author Biography

Philip Lavender is a postdoctoral researcher working on projects at the University of Gothenburg and the University of Copenhagen. His research interests include legendary sagas, romance sagas, rímur, medieval and early modern Icelandic culture, and literary forgery.