Arthur, Susanne M. The Devil in Disguise?

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  • Author: Arthur, Susanne M.
  • Title: The Devil in Disguise? Scribal Remarks on Valgarðr inn grái in Njáls saga
  • Published in: Leeds studies in English 43
  • Year: 2012
  • Pages: 1-7
  • E-text: academia.edu
  • Reference: Arthur, Susanne M. "The Devil in Disguise? Scribal Remarks on Valgarðr inn grái in Njáls saga." Leeds studies in English 43 (2012): 1-7.

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Contents

Annotation

In this article, Arthur talks about Valgarður the grey in Njáls saga, among others in the light of eight manuscripts from the 15th to the 18th centuries. She argues that the nickname grái ("grey") shows the temperament of Valgarður, since he appears as Mörður's advisor and makes sure that he pits Höskuldur Þráinsson and the sons of Njáll against each other. He also fights with his son over his conversion to Christianity, and hence one may see him as a representative of the pagan faith - if not of the devil himself. Arthur comes to the conclusion that Valgarður is avoided by the literary scholars. She maintains that he is not one of the main characters in Njáls saga, but has notable influence on the plot of the saga because he dares his son Mörður to bring about the death of the Njáll's sons and Höskuldur. She compares the works of Jon Geir Høyersten, Richard F. Allen and Lars Lönnroth, who all put special emphasis on Valgarður. In her article, Arthur analyses Valgarður's character - when and how he appears in certain places in the saga. She also mentions that the scribes of later times often added in their copies of Njáls saga some comments on Valgarður being evil and having gone to hell because he was against the Christian faith and bore the responsibility for the death of many virtuous heroes.

Lýsing

Í greininni fjallar Arthur um Valgarð hinn gráa í Njáls sögu, meðal annars í ljósi átta handrita frá 15. öld til 18. aldar. Hún leiðir rök að því að viðurnefnið grái vísi til hugarfars Valgarðar, þar sem hann kemur fram sem ráðgjafi Marðar og sér til þess að hann rægir saman Höskuld Þráinsson og Njálssyni. Hann berst líka með syni sínum gegn kristnitöku og má því líta á hann sem fulltrúa heiðninnnar - ef ekki fjandans sjálfs. Arthur kemst að þeirri niðurstöðu að Valgarður sé sniðgenginn af bókmentafræðingum. Hún heldur því fram að hann sé ekki aðalpersóna í Njáls sögu en hafi markverð áhrif á atburðarás sögunnar vegna þess að hann manar Mörð son sinn til að koma því til leiðar að synir Njáls og Höskuldur deyja. Hún ber saman skrif Jons Geir Høyersten, Richards F. Allen og Lars Lönnroth sem allir einbeita sér sérstaklega að Valgarði. Í grein sinni greinir Arthur persónu Valgarðs - hvenær og hvernig hann birtist á nokkrum stöðum í sögunni. Hún nefnir einnig að síðari tíma skrifarar hafi oft bætt inn í uppskriftir af Njálu athugasemdum um að Valgarður hafi verið illur og hafi farið til helvítis af því hann var mótfallinn kristinni trú og bar ábyrgð á bana margra dyggðum prýddra hetja.

See also

References

Chapter 25: maður grályndur og óvinsæll: "The description of Valgarðr shows that the composer of Njáls saga used him as the ultimate antagonist. His refusal of the Christian faith and his attempt to convince his son to revoke his new-found belief portray Valgarðr not only as a mean and hostile man looking for revenge, but as a devil - like figure using his son as a tool in his evil plans” (p. 6).


Links

  • Written by: Ewelina Ośmiałowska
  • English translation: Ermenegilda Müller
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