Crocker, Christopher. Fear and Loathing in Landeyjar

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  • Author: Crocker, Christopher
  • Title: Fear and Loathing in Landeyjar: Hegelian Tragedy in Saga Iceland
  • Published in: Viator-Medieval And Renaissance Studies 46/1
  • Year: 2015
  • Pages: 181-201
  • E-text:
  • Reference: Crocker, Christopher. "Fear and Loathing in Landeyjar: Hegelian Tragedy in Saga Iceland." Viator-Medieval And Renaissance Studies 46/1 (2015): 181-201.

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This article explores some tragic elements in Brennu-Njáls saga, a late thirteenth-century Icelandic saga. Although often described as such, there has been little elaborate discussion on precisely why this and other medieval sagas can be and often are considered tragic literature. Interpreting the saga through a critical lens drawn from Hegel's work on classical and modem tragedies provides a great deal of insight on this matter. More specifically, such a reading addresses just how Flosi Þórðarson, the leading perpetrator of one of the most villainous deeds in all of saga literature, emerges not as a villain but as a sympathetic and perhaps even heroic character. This reading also reveals not only a great deal about the subtle artistry with which Flosi's character is drawn, but also some key insight towards the unity of the saga as a whole.


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  • Written by: Christopher Crocker
  • Icelandic translation:
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