Cover image for Old Norse-Icelandic literature : a short introduction
Old Norse-Icelandic literature : a short introduction
O'Donoghue, Heather.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Malden, MA : Blackwell Pub., [2004]

Physical Description:
ix, 241 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PT7154 .O5 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



From runic inscriptions to sagas, this book introduces readers to the colourful world of Old Norse-Icelandic literature.

An introduction to the colourful world of Old Norse-Icelandic literature.
Covers mythology and family sagas, as well as less well-known areas, such as oral story-telling, Eddaic verse and skaldic verse.
An introduction helps readers to appreciate the language and culture of the first settlers in Iceland.
Looks at the reception of Old-Norse-Icelandic literature over the ages, as views of the vikings have changed.
Shows how a whole range of authors from Shakespeare to Seamus Heaney have been influenced by Old Norse-Icelandic literature.

Author Notes

Heather O'Donoghue is Reader in Old Norse at Oxford University.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. vii
Chronologyp. viii
Prefacep. x
1 Icelandp. 1
The Beginningsp. 1
Languagep. 5
Cultural Heritagep. 9
Discovery and Settlementp. 17
2 The Sagap. 22
What Is a Saga?p. 22
Are Family Sagas Medieval Novels?p. 24
Are Family Sagas Chronicles of Time Past?p. 36
Three Extracts: Egils saga, Vatnsdoela saga and Laxdoela sagap. 47
3 New Knowledge and Native Traditionsp. 61
Latin Learningp. 61
Eddaic and Skaldic Versep. 62
Historical Writingsp. 93
Fornaldarsogurp. 99
Riddarasogur and Rimurp. 102
4 The Politics of Old Norse-Icelandic Literaturep. 106
Iceland and Scandinavian Nationalismp. 107
Old Norse-Icelandic as 'Ancient Poetry'p. 110
Bishop Percy's Translationsp. 111
Gray's 'Norse Odes'p. 116
The Romantic Vikingp. 120
Our Friends in the Northp. 124
Old Norse-Icelandic Studies in Academiap. 128
The Debate about Saga Originsp. 130
Why is Old Norse English Literature?p. 134
Old Norse-Icelandic and English Medieval Literaturep. 136
5 The Influence of Old Norse-Icelandic Literaturep. 149
Blakep. 149
Tolkien and Fantasy Literaturep. 154
Scott, Kingsley and Haggardp. 157
Landor, Arnold and Morrisp. 166
Stevenson, Hardy and Galsworthyp. 176
MacDiarmid, Mackay Brown, and Auden and MacNeicep. 184
Heaney and Muldoonp. 196
Appendix Hrafnkel's Sagap. 202
Glossaryp. 224
Notesp. 227
Bibliographyp. 229
Indexp. 232