The Growth of the Medieval Icelandic Sagas (1180-1280)

Andersson, Theodore M.

Published by Cornell University Press, 2006
ISBN 10: 080144408X / ISBN 13: 9780801444081
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In this book, Theodore M. Andersson, a leading scholar of the Norse sagas, introduces readers to the development of the Icelandic sagas between 1180 and 1280, a crucial period that witnessed a gradual shift of emphasis from tales of adventure and personal distinction to the analysis of political and historical propositions. Beginning with the first full-length sagas and culminating in the acknowledged masterpiece Njáls saga, Andersson emphasizes a historical perspective, establishing a chronology for seventeen of the most important sagas and showing how they evolve thematically and stylistically over the century under study.

Revisiting the long-standing debate about the oral and literary components of the sagas, Andersson argues that there is a clear progression from the somewhat mechanical gathering of oral lore in the early sagas to an increasingly tight and authorially controlled composition in the later sagas. The early sagas―including The Legendary Saga of Saint Olaf and Odd Snorrason's Saga of Olaf Tryggvason―focus on conspicuous individuals and their memorable deeds; later works are more apt to formulate the abstract problems and ideas that preoccupied their authors. As the authors begin to impose their views on the inherited narratives, the sagas become more and more critical and self-conscious, to the point where Njáls saga may be considered not only to approximate a novel in our sense of the term but also to comment on the saga form.

From the Back Cover: "There is no one in the field who combines so well the virtues of elegance, critical acumen, magisterial knowledge, and sheer love of the sagas. It was via Theodore M. Andersson’s work that I was introduced to the sagas, and now, forty years later, in this splendid book, it is still Andersson who is teaching me how to read them. The Growth of the Medieval Icelandic Sagas has a strong claim to be his finest work and that is praise indeed."—William Ian Miller, University of Michigan

"This strikingly original book by Theodore M. Andersson, who knows more about the craft of saga-writing in medieval Iceland than anyone else, crowns four decades of his writings on these extraordinary texts. From the first glittering appearance of sagas at the end of the twelfth century to the autumnal wisdom and bleakness of Nyála a hundred years later, there is much here to surprise and delight."—Roberta Frank, Douglas Tracy Smith Professor of English, Yale University

"Theodore M. Andersson gathers various threads including oral tradition, Oláfs saga Tryggvasonar, Morkinskinna, and the Ljósvetninga saga into a culmination of his pursuit of the origins and development of the Icelandic sagas over the past forty years. This is a subject that somehow always seems fresh in Andersson’s hands. I am very much impressed by how Andersson manages to convey to the reader some sense of the magic of the sagas. I particularly like his refreshing and somewhat daring new analysis of Njáls saga."—Ármann Jakobsson, Menntaskólinn í Reykjavík

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Title: The Growth of the Medieval Icelandic Sagas (...
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication Date: 2006
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Good

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Book Description Cornell University Press, United States, 2006. Hardback. Condition: New. New. Language: English. Brand new Book. In this book, Theodore M. Andersson, a leading scholar of the Norse sagas, introduces readers to the development of the Icelandic sagas between 1180 and 1280, a crucial period that witnessed a gradual shift of emphasis from tales of adventure and personal distinction to the analysis of political and historical propositions. Beginning with the first full-length sagas and culminating in the acknowledged masterpiece Njals saga, Andersson emphasizes a historical perspective, establishing a chronology for seventeen of the most important sagas and showing how they evolve thematically and stylistically over the century under study.Revisiting the long-standing debate about the oral and literary components of the sagas, Andersson argues that there is a clear progression from the somewhat mechanical gathering of oral lore in the early sagas to an increasingly tight and authorially controlled composition in the later sagas. The early sagas-including The Legendary Saga of Saint Olaf and Odd Snorrason's Saga of Olaf Tryggvason-focus on conspicuous individuals and their memorable deeds; later works are more apt to formulate the abstract problems and ideas that preoccupied their authors. As the authors begin to impose their views on the inherited narratives, the sagas become more and more critical and self-conscious, to the point where Njals saga may be considered not only to approximate a novel in our sense of the term but also to comment on the saga form. Seller Inventory # AAJ9780801444081

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Book Description Cornell University Press, United States, 2006. Hardback. Condition: New. New. Language: English. Brand new Book. In this book, Theodore M. Andersson, a leading scholar of the Norse sagas, introduces readers to the development of the Icelandic sagas between 1180 and 1280, a crucial period that witnessed a gradual shift of emphasis from tales of adventure and personal distinction to the analysis of political and historical propositions. Beginning with the first full-length sagas and culminating in the acknowledged masterpiece Njals saga, Andersson emphasizes a historical perspective, establishing a chronology for seventeen of the most important sagas and showing how they evolve thematically and stylistically over the century under study.Revisiting the long-standing debate about the oral and literary components of the sagas, Andersson argues that there is a clear progression from the somewhat mechanical gathering of oral lore in the early sagas to an increasingly tight and authorially controlled composition in the later sagas. The early sagas-including The Legendary Saga of Saint Olaf and Odd Snorrason's Saga of Olaf Tryggvason-focus on conspicuous individuals and their memorable deeds; later works are more apt to formulate the abstract problems and ideas that preoccupied their authors. As the authors begin to impose their views on the inherited narratives, the sagas become more and more critical and self-conscious, to the point where Njals saga may be considered not only to approximate a novel in our sense of the term but also to comment on the saga form. Seller Inventory # AAJ9780801444081

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