Comic Sagas and Tales from Iceland
Icelandic literary culture was one of the richest and most important in the medieval world. Texts that were written in Iceland during this period include "Njal's Saga", "Egil's Saga", "The Vinland Sagas", as well as the "Comic Sagas and Tales" collected in this volume. "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 Iceland's 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 satirised 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.
Vidar Hreinsson grew up on a farm in Northern Iceland and 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 both in Iceland and abroad, in Canada, USA and Scandinavia. General Editor of The Complete Sagas of Icelanders I-V (1997), he has also authored an award-winning two-volume biography of Icelandic Canadian poet Stephan G. Stephansson (2002-3). More recently, he has been an environmental activist, written two additional biographies and served as director of the Reykjavik Academy.