Gosse, E.W.. The “Egils saga”

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  • Author: Gosse, E.W.
  • Title: The "Egils saga"
  • Published in: The Cornhill Magazine 40
  • Year: 1879
  • Pages: 21–39
  • E-text:
  • Reference: Gosse, E.W. "The "Egils saga"." The Cornhill Magazine 40 (1879): 21–39.

  • Key words:



Gosse segir í grein sinni stuttlega frá tveimur tímabilum í íslenskri sögu: “spennutímabilinu” og “vitsmunatímabilinu”. Hann nefnir einnig hversu fínir lausamálstextar, sem skrifaðir voru á Íslandi á milli 1220 og 1262, eru. Gosse ræðir líka stuttlega hvernig Egils saga er lík forngrískum sögum, sérstaklega hvernig hetjurnar eru kynntar í báðum gerðum af sögum, og hvernig hún tengist kristinni trú. Gosse ver þó mestu rými í er að endursegja alla söguna á ensku með nokkrum athugasemdum um einstök atriði.


In his article, Gosse briefly touches upon two particular periods in Icelandic history: the “action” period and the “intellect” period. He emphasizes the quality of Icelandic prose that was written between the year 1220 and 1262. Gosse also compares Egils saga to ancient Greek stories (particularly with regards to how the protagonists are introduced) as well as Christianity. He then goes on to retell the plot of Egils saga in English.

See also


Chapter 40: hjó hann banahögg: “The innocent reader must not imagine that Egil avenged his foster-mother; it was Thord’s death that demanded a sacrifice. But this was a very terrible child of twelve years old; and we are presently assured that no one could master him, not even, as indeed we have seen, his father” (p. 31)þ

Chapter 55: mikilleitur, ennibreiður, brúnamikill: “The hero is introduced after a full account of his ancestors and of the events which coloured the fate of his family. He arrives on the scene at the critical moment, when that fate has to be wound up to a crisis; that crisis is the story of his life--is, in other words, his saga” (p. 21).


  • Written by: Derek T. Allen
  • Icelandic translation: Derek T. Allen
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