Chaos and Love: The Philosophy of Icelandic Family Sagas

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2001-07-01
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
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The Icelandic Family Sagas -- major medieval prose epics such as Egil's Saga, Laxdaela Saga, Njal's Saga, Hrafnkel's Saga -- present detailed sophisticated images of a society in which man acts and suffers the consequences of his actions -- or have them visited upon others. Feuds rage and disaster triumphs. The book introduces the reader to a number of such narratives, studies the notions of guilt and causes embedded in them, and, as a result of the study, suggests that reckless erotic desire, is often at the root of the evil. When love is practised within the boundaries set by family and tradition, peace prevails. When love is pursued as a means of individual satisfaction, regardless of the views of others, disaster prevails. The rules of society, notably the rules of feud, designed to balance competing forces, tend rather to aggravate the disasters, sometimes, as in Laxdaela and Njala, to the extent that only Christian divine grace can restore the peace.

Author Biography

Dr. Thomas Bredsdorff is professor of Scandinavian Literature, Head of Dept. of Nordic Philology, University of Copenhagen.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. 7
The Second Patternp. 13
Thorolf's Sagap. 13
Egil Skallagrimsson's Sagap. 23
Laxdaela Sagap. 35
Forerunnersp. 51
Kormak's Saga, Bjorn's Saga, Eyrbyggja Sagap. 51
The Second Pattern: Between Two Societiesp. 60
Gisli Sursson's Sagep. 59
The Icelandic Mythp. 73
Njal's Sagap. 72
Post-Classical Sagasp. 87
Hrafnkel's Sagap. 86
Grettir's Sagap. 94
The Second Pattern And The Time Of The Saga Of Icelandersp. 102
The Timesp. 101
Histories and Two Historiansp. 109
The Conceptual Universe of the Icelandic Sagasp. 117
Continuationsp. 126
Books On The Sagas Of Icelandersp. 130
Select Bibliographyp. 145
Postscript To The English Editionp. 149
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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