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Books About Iceland


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Book categories: History, Sagas, Eddas, Denmark, Vikings, Greenland, Scandinavia

History of Iceland

Viking Age Iceland by Jesse L. Byock. Norse society in Iceland was almost a republican free state, without warlords or kings. This book covers all aspects of Viking Age life: feasting, farming, the power of chieftains and the church, marriage, and the role of women.

Medieval Iceland: Society, Sagas, and Power by Jesse L. Byock. Uses all the available sources -- the medieval Icelanders' historical writings, extensive saga literature, and intricate laws -- to explore the way Iceland's social order functioned.

The History of Iceland by Gunnar Karlsson. During Iceland's age of the sagas, there was no monarch or central authority. Its "dreary period" and loss of independence started in the 13th century, and its renaissance began with the struggle for independence from Denmark in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Historical Dictionary of Iceland by Gudmundur Halfdanarson. Contains a detailed chronology, notes on the Icelandic language, and more.

Ring of Seasons: Iceland, Its Culture and History by Terry G. Lacy. Written by an American who has lived in Iceland for more than 20 years.

Iceland: Land of the Saga by David Roberts, photographs by Jon Krakauer. Colorful account of the authors' adventures as they walk, climb, and photograph their way through one of Europe's most gorgeous countries, discovering the myths and legends of Iceland's stirring history.

Icelandic Sagas

Laxdaela Saga translated by Hermann Palsson and Paul Edwards. Composed by an unknown author around 1245, this dynastic chronicle sweeps across 150 years of Iceland's early history.

The Saga of the Volsungs translated by Jesse L. Byock. An unforgettable tale of princely jealousy, greed, and vengeance, based on Viking Age poems.

Njal's Saga edited by Robert Cook. Written by an unknown author in the late 13th century and based on events in Iceland some 300 years earlier, this prose saga describes a 50-year feud from its violent beginnings to its tragic end.

Eyrbyggja Saga translated by Hermann Palsson and Paul Edwards. An Icelandic saga which mixes history with wild gothic imagination to dramatize the pagan anarchy of the Viking age.

Hrafnkel's Saga and Other Icelandic Stories translated by Hermann Palsson. Seven stories from the 13th century, including Thorstein the Staff-Struck, Ale Hood, Hreidar the Fool, and Ivar's Story. Some are set in medieval Iceland, and some describe the adventures of Icelandic people at the royal courts of Norway and Denmark.

The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki translated by Jesse L. Byock. Composed in medieval Iceland, this saga recalls ancient Scandinavia of the Migration Period, when the warrior chieftan King Hrolf ruled in Denmark.

Eirik the Red: And Other Icelandic Sagas edited by Gwyn Jones. Nine Icelandic sagas, including Hen-Thorir, The Vapnfjord Men, Hrafnkel the Priest of Prey, Authun and the Bear, and Thidrandi Whom the Goddesses Slew.

The Sagas of the Icelanders: A Selection, introduction by Robert Kellogg, preface by Jane Smiley. The 10 Sagas and seven shorter tales in this volume include Gisli Sursson's Saga, the Saga of Gunnlaug Serpent-tongue, and the Saga of Ref the Sly.

Feud in the Icelandic Saga by Jesse L. Byock. Explains the function of feuds in medieval Iceland.

More Viking Sagas

The Eddas

The Poetic Edda translated by Carolyne Larrington. Collection of Norse-Icelandic mythological and heroic poetry. This 1999 edition from Oxford World's Classics is the first complete translation to be published in Britain in 50 years.

The Prose Edda: Tales from Norse Mythology by Snorri Sturluson. This guidebook for Icelandic poets has been inspiration for generations of writers, including Wagner, Borges, and Tolkien.

Song of the Vikings: Snorri and the Making of Norse Myths by Nancy Marie Brown. Snorri, author of the Prose Edda, was a rich 13th century Icelandic chieftain who wrote about Norwegian kings and Norse mythology. He came close to ruling Iceland and even closer to betraying it.

More Norse Mythology

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Related Topics

The Vikings
Greenland
Royalty in Denmark
Royalty in Norway
Royalty in Sweden
Scandinavian Royalty
European Royalty
World Royal History




Other Websites

Iceland.org
Iceland Review Online
The Story of the Volsungs
The Laxdaela Saga

Tolkien & Icelandic-Norse Sagas:
Sacred Texts: Sources of Lord of the Rings
Mordor, He Wrote
Books by & About J. R. R. Tolkien



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