The Sagas of Icelanders: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) Paperback – Mar 1 2001
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From Library Journal
The Icelandic Sagas are among the masterpieces of world literature whose composition stretches from about the year 1000 to 1500. Presenting the adventures of Norse and Viking heroes, the sagas are told with ritual simplicity and a realism that anticipate the modern novel. This volume offers nine full sagas and six tales, all new translations by various hands and all part of The Complete Sagas of the Icelanders, also edited by Thorsson. Published to mark the 1000th anniversary of Leif Ericksson's voyage to North America, as told in the Vinland Sagas, this selection includes (along with the Vinland Sagas) the famous Egil's Saga and that of Gisli Sursson. The volume also offers a preface by novelist Jane Smiley and a scholarly introduction by Robert Kellogg of the University of Virginia. Wonderful for anyone interested in world literature, this selection is recommended for public and academic libraries.
-Thomas L. Cooksey, Armstrong State Coll., Savannah, GA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"One of the great marvels of World Literature.... This is a dream come true." --Ted Hughes
"A testimony to the human spirit's ability not only to endure what fate may send it but to be renewed by the experience." --Seamus Heaney
"The glory of the Sagas is indisputable." --Milan Kundera
"Generally excellent, accurate and readable, these translations are sure to become the standard versions." --The Times Literary Supplement (London)See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
However, I have to subtract a few of my stars, with the proviso that I do recommend this book as a must-own for anyone interested. This may raise a few hackles, but I really think that the "Tales" could have been omitted, and included should have been two sagas that inexplicably were left out: Njal's Saga and the Eyrbyggja Saga. How a book on the poetry of the North Atlantic could have left out these two sagas I do not know, but it is almost reason enough not to buy the book. It cannot claim to be a book on "The Sagas" because it leaves out these two fundamental sagas. The inclusion of these sagas would mean something had to go, and I think that the sagas can stand without the Tales to augment them. This was a sad mistake, and makes this book at best a "Selection of the Sagas of the Icelanders.Read more ›
The collection is a good sampling of all of the available sagas, with a good mix of short and long.
Egil's Saga is, at least based on date of occurence, the first of the Sagas and is a must-read. It's long, and the poetry will take a few times to get, but it is a classic.
Also of note in this collection are the Vinland Sagas, which tell the tales of the Icelanders who made it to present day North America, some 4 centuries before Columbus.
When picking from the plethora of 40 Sagas, something is going to be left out. Njal's Saga is noticeably missing, but to their defense Njal's is also the largest saga and it probably would have meant cutting 4-5 of the other sagas out of this book. As I understand it, this is planned to be a series of books and undoubtedly will be part of the next book.
Overall, this is a good inexpensive way to get into the sagas.
Get the book - no shelf should be without the sagas and it is a thrifty choice.
The collection that both the hardback and softback are taken from is a large collection called _Sagas of the Icelanders_ which is about ~$600 so you might also keep that in mind when buying. By no means is this all the sagas from that massive collection but it is a good survey and there is a good further sources section.
For those who are saga junkies be aware that the Sagas of the Icelanders (Islendasogur) is only the Icelandic family sagas and not any of the Bishop Sagas nor Heroic/Mythic Sagas e.g., Saga of Hralf Kraki. So if you are hoping to score the Saga of Harold or any saga whose action is outside of Iceland or not related to one of the great families look elsewhere. Also, for saga junkies these translations do not footnote the geneaology of the characters which the Penguin translations usually did. So you get more of the original feel with "son of...daughter of.."
Overall, if you have become enthralled with the sagas or just taking the plunge for the first time this is a very good and economical choice. Be aware that it is a very thick paperback and not as sturdy as it could be. But by all means get it.
Highly recommended. If you like this set then get Njal's Saga.
Most recent customer reviews
This book is full of exciting adventures, daring deeds,heros and villians. A good read.Published 4 months ago by Colette J Laplante
This imposing tome is a beautiful and inclusive collection of the Icelandic Sagas. The quality is very good and the translations are excellent. Read morePublished 9 months ago by M. Parker
Great book for the price. Just started reading and love it.Published 13 months ago by Loni Petrowski
All but one of my favorite Sagas are in this collection, with good notes and maps to accompany them. The only thing missing is Njal's Saga, which is arguably the best of the lot.Published on March 24 2004 by Todd Dwyer
Icelanders and others reading these Sagas should be aware that vital and even more amazing parts of Iceland's history from 930-1262AD were left out. Read morePublished on Dec 20 2003 by David J. Heinrich
The Icelandic sagas are interesting in their own right, but much better when the translation is done well. Read morePublished on Dec 10 2003 by William Creedle
This is simply a great collection of Sagas--a treasure-trove for the beginning student of Norse Studies. At 700+ pages, you essentially can't go wrong.Published on May 21 2003 by PipBoy
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