Hallberg Peter - The Icelandic Saga

Author : Hallberg Peter
Title : The Icelandic Saga
Year : 1962

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Preface. Peter Hallberg’s Den isländska sagan is the most readable and reliable introduction to the Sagas of Icelanders to come to my attention since the publication of Sigurður Nordal’s remarkable monograph Sagalitteraturen (1953). Indeed, these two slender volumes supplement each other in a most fortunate manner. Whereas Nordal’s treatise presents a concise, lucid delineation of the development of Old Icelandic prose writing in general (with major emphasis, of course, on the classical sagas), Hallberg’s study comprises a perceptive analysis of salient features of the substance and form of the Icelandic sagas of native heroes together with a penetrating, sensitive interpretation of several masterpieces of this literary genre. Although Hallberg may differ somewhat in detail or emphasis with Nordal and Einar Ólafur Sveinsson, he is in essential agreement with these eminent leaders of the realistic “Icelandic school" of saga research, whose revolutionary findings he discusses and utilizes with critical acumen. This fact alone warrants the translation of his book on the sagas, for the Icelanders’ views of the origin, composition, and significance of their ancient prose literature have still not found proper recognition among educated laymen or even among scholars not conversant with Modern Icelandic. ...

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