Baldur Hafstað. Egils saga, Njáls saga, and the Shadow of Landnáma

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  • Author: Baldur Hafstað
  • Title: Egils saga, Njáls saga, and the Shadow of Landnáma.
  • Published in: Sagnaheimur: Studies in Honour of Hermann Pálsson
  • Editors: Ásdís Egilsdóttir, Rudolf Simek.
  • Place, Publisher: Wien: Fassbinder
  • Year: 2001
  • Pages: 21-37
  • E-text:
  • Reference: Baldur Hafstað. "Egils saga, Njáls saga, and the Shadow of Landnáma." Sagnaheimur: Studies in Honour of Hermann Pálsson, pp. 21-37. Eds. Ásdís Egilsdóttir, Rudolf Simek. Wien: Fassbinder, 2001.

  • Key words: textual relations, intertextuality, literary elements (rittengsl, textatengsl, bókmenntaleg einkenni)


Contents

Annotation

Baldur Hafstað argues that hidden influences of the Landnámabók can be found in Egils saga and Njáls saga, and point out the similar use both sagas make of genealogies, and first settlers’ names, to anchor their characters in broader history. Baldur interprets the indirect influence of Landnáma on Egils saga as a deliberate attempt to connect Egill’s descendants, the Mýramenn, with Ingólfur Arnarson and other illustrious figures from Landnáma by means of parallels and analogies. Regarding Njáls saga, he argues that the narrative relies on the same mechanisms, and that Egils saga was probably used as a model. However, the Norwegian stage present in Egla is replaced by a more Icelandic focus, as Njála emphasises Christianisation and other changes in Icelandic society (e.g. the establishment of fimmtardómur).

Lýsing

Baldur Hafstað heldur því fram að hægt sé að finna undirliggjandi áhrif frá Landnámabók bæði í Egils sögu og Njáls sögu. Hann bendir á að í báðum sögum eru ættir persóna raknar aftur til landnámsmanna til þess að staðsetja þær betur innan sagnfræðinnar. Baldur heldur því fram að undirliggjandi áhrif Landnámu á Egils sögu séu vísvitandi tilraun til að rekja ættir Egils og Mýramanna beint til Ingólfs Arnarsonar og annarra landnámsmanna. Baldur segir að frásögn Njálu styðjist að mörgu leyti við samskonar gangverk og Egils saga, enn fremur telur hann líklegt að Egla hafi verið notuð sem fyrir fyrirmynd af Njálu. Hins vegar sé hinu norska sögusviði skipt út fyrir íslenskt sögusvið, þar sem athyglinni er beint að kristnitökunni og öðrum breytingum sem verða á íslensku samfélagi t.d. stofnun fimmtardóms.

See also

References

Egils saga

Chapter 88: “Hidden silver of gold is a well-known motif, Atlakviða being another example. But this version – hiding your silver with the help of slaves who are then killed – appears only in these two sources in Old Icelandic literature [Egils saga and the Landnámabók account of Ketilbjörn gamli]. This reinforces the view that there are direct connections between the two works” (p. 28).

Njáls saga

Chapter 97: Höskuldur Hvítanesgoði: "The author of Njála 's innovative approach to Landnáma is revealed in several ways. With his knowledge of Landnáma and of genealogy, he appears to take names from the first generations of the settlement age, giving them to „invented“ people from the families concerned. Höskuldur Hvítanessgoði is a good example of this practice. He is mentioned nowhere except in Njála." (p. 33).


Links

  • Written by: Katelin Parsons/ Barbora Davídková
  • Icelandic translation: Jón Karl Helgason/ Andri M. Kristjánsson
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