A Companion to Old Norse-Icelandic Literature and Culture / Edition 1

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This major survey of Old Norse-Icelandic literature and culture demonstrates the remarkable continuity of Icelandic language and culture from medieval to modern times.

  • Comprises 29 chapters written by leading scholars in the field
  • Reflects current debates among Old Norse-Icelandic scholars
  • Pays attention to previously neglected areas of study, such as the sagas of Icelandic bishops and the fantasy sagas
  • Looks at the ways Old Norse-Icelandic literature is used by modern writers, artists and film directors, both within and outside Scandinavia
  • Sets Old Norse-Icelandic language and literature in its wider cultural context
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In a series that already has a large number and wide range of excellent titles to its credit, I would venture opinion that this volume is one of its best...we have here a major publication of considerable value, not to mention its intrinsic interest. Obviously it will be a necessary acquisition for any specialist collection and for any academic collection where aspects of Old Norse literature and culture may be needed...this will also be a useful addition to major general collections."
Reference Reviews

"...its chapters are crammed full to bursting with facts and figures, references to primary and secondary sources, swift overviews of past scholarship, and (very importantly) present debates. This is ostensibly a reference book, to be consulted on particular issues and subjects. But as with all the best encyclopedias...browsing becomes addictive...Mc Turk's Companion to Old Norse-Icelandic Studies is a great resource for the scholar or graduate student who may think, mistakenly, that he or she is familiar with this field."
The Review of English Studies

"No one could read the volume and not learn something, indeed a great deal"

“A comprehensive guide to Old Norse-Icelandic literature which functions as a basic reference work for scholars in neighboring disciplines, a reliable introduction for students, and an interesting and informative read for Old Norse scholars … a remarkable achievement and a valuable resource.”
Carolyne Larrington, St John’s College, Modern Language Review

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Rory McTurk is Professor of Icelandic Studies at the University of Leeds. Previously he has taught at the Universities of Lund and Copenhagen and at University College, Dublin. He is the author of Studies in Ragnars saga loðbrókar and its Major Scandinavian Analogues (1991) and Chaucer and the Norse and Celtic Worlds (2005), and has translated Kormáks saga for the Penguin Sagas of Warrior-Poets (2002).

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Table of Contents

Notes on Contributors.


Introduction: Rory McTurk.

1. Archaeology of Economy and Society: Orri Vesteinsson.

2. Christian Biography: Margaret Cormack.

3. Christian Poetry: Katrina Attwood.

4. Continuity? The Icelandic Sagas in Post-Medieval Times: Jon Karl Helgason.

5. Eddic Poetry: Terry Gunnell.

6. Family Sagas: Vestinn Olason.

7. Geography and Travel: Judith Jesch.

8. Historical Background: Iceland 870-1400: Helgi Porlaksson.

9. Historiography and Pseudo-History: Stefanie Wurth.

10. Language: Michael Barnes.

11. Late Prose Fiction (lygisogur): Matthew Drisoll.

12. Late Secular Poetry: Shaun Hughes.

13. Laws: Gudmund Sandvik and Jon Vidar Sigurdsson.

14. Manuscripts and Palaeography: Gudvardur Mar Gunnlaugsson.

15. Metre and Metrics: Russel Poole.

16. Orality and Literacy in the Sagas of Icelanders: Gisli Sigurdsson.

17. Pagan Myth and Religion: Peter Orton.

18. The Post-Medieval Reception of Old Norse and Old Icelandic Literature: Andrew Wawn.

19. Prose of Christian Instruction: Svanhildur Oskardottir.

20. Rhetoric and Style: Porir Oskarsson.

21. Romance (Translated riddarasogur): Jurg Glauser.

22. Royal Biography: Armann Jakobsson.

23. Runes: Patrick Larsson.

24. Sagas of Contemporary History (Sturlunga saga): Texts and Research: Ulfar Bragason.

25. Sagas of Icelandic Prehistory (Fornaldarsogur): Torfi H. Tulinius.

26. Short Prose Narrative (pattr): Elizabeth Ashman Rowe and Joseph Harris.

27. Skaldic Poetry: Diana Whaley.

28. Social Institutions: Gunnar Karlsson.

29. Women in Old Norse Poetry and Sagas: Judy Quinn.


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