Finlay, Alison. Egils saga and other poets’ sagas

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  • Author: Finlay, Alison
  • Title: Egils saga and other poets’ sagas
  • Published in: Introductory Essays on Egils saga and Njáls saga.
  • Editors: John Hines, Desmon Slay
  • Place, Publisher: London: Viking Society
  • Year: 1992
  • Pages: 33-48
  • E-text: Viking Society Web Publications
  • Reference: Finlay, Alison. "Egils saga and other poets’ sagas." Introductory Essays on Egils saga and Njáls saga, pp. 33-48. Eds. John Hines, Desmon Slay. London: Viking Society, 1992.

  • Key words: literary elements, characterization (bókmenntaleg einkenni, persónusköpun)


Contents

Annotation

Finlay compares Egil with poets in other poets’ sagas. She highlights that Egils saga contains less romance than other poets’ sagas which typically include love, albeit usually unhappy love, and that the inclusion or omission of love in the poet’s life influences the way his character is regarded and reflects more broadly contemporary attitudes to poetry and poets. Links the prominence of erotic themes and of love as a source of conflict with the poet’s skill at níð (scorn). Finlay takes examples of this satire from other poets’ sagas and compares it with the more magical and religious aspects of níð in Egils saga. She argues that Egil’s temperament is more developed than other poets’ and is related to his melancholy nature.

Lýsing

Finlay ber Egil saman við skáld í öðrum skáldasögum. Hún vekur athygli á að Egla er ekki eins mikil ástarsaga og hinar skáldasögurnar (sem snúast gjarnan um ástina, oftast ást í meinum). Mismikill þáttur ástarinnar í lífi einstakra skálda hefur áhrif á það hvaða augum menn líta á skáldið og endurspeglar með almennari hætti viðhorf samtímans til skáldskapar og skálda. Finlay tengir mikilvægi erótískra þema í sögunni og þær deilur sem ástin vekur við hæfileika Egils í að yrkja níð. Hún tekur dæmi um kaldhæðnislegt níð úr öðrum skáldasögum og ber saman við níðið í Egils sögu, sem ber fremur vott um að Egill sé ákvæðaskáld og í tengslum við æðri máttarvöld. Að hennar mati er persónulýsing Egils mergjaðri en lýsingar annarra skálda úr skáldasögunum, enda eigi hann við þunglyndi etja.

See also

References

Chapter 56: hverja konu eg yrki: "It is significant that Egill’s two verses about his relationship with Ásgerðr suggest more emotion than is implied by the prose narrative, in which his marriage to her seems to be partly a commercial transaction, partly a stage in the process of healing the grief at his brother’s death" (p. 34).

Chapter 59: sný eg þessu níði: "In Egils saga, the magical aspect of the practice of níð is emphasized, placing it in the context of other mystical powers derived from the pagan religion, such as the skilled use of runes, which the poet has at his command"(p. 38).

Chapter 67: í honum barkann: "Egill kills an opponent in a duel by biting through his windpipe – evoking an echo of Völsunga saga, where while the Odinic Völsungs are living as werewolves in the forest, Sigmundr bites Sinfljötli in the windpipe" (p. 40).

Links

  • Written by: Jane Appleton
  • Icelandic translation: Jón Karl Helgason
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