Hieatt, Constance B. Hrútr's voyage to Norway and the structure of Njála

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  • Author: Constance B. Hieatt
  • Title: Hrútr's voyage to Norway and the structure of Njála
  • Editor: John Tucker
  • Published in: Sagas of the Icelanders
  • Place, Publisher: New York & London, Garland Publishing Inc.
  • Year: 1989
  • Pages: 272-279
  • E-text:
  • Reference: Hieatt, Constance B. “Hrútr’s Voyage to Norway and the Structure of Njála.” Sagas of the Icelanders. Ed. John Tucker. New York & London: Garland Publishing Inc. 1989. 272-279

  • Key words:

marriage, voyage, travel pattern


Contents

Annotation

Hieatt claims that Hrútr’s voyage to Norway in the beginning of Njáls saga has been inadequately explained by scholars (most notably Richard F. Allen and Lars Lönnroth) in relation to the whole of the saga. Working from their theory that ‘digressive’ elements in sagas are keys to understanding the whole, he puts forth the idea that the voyage functions as a prologue which reveals the author’s intentions, sets in motion the central events of the plot, and establishes the main themes to be paralleled later in the saga. One of these themes is ‘bride-wooing’ and disastrous marriages, anticipating Gunnar’s marriage with Hallgerðr. Another theme is the voyages overseas, which serve as markers for significant developments of the plot and move the story into its next phase. Hieatt elaborates on further echoes of Hrútr’s voyage throughout the saga, demonstrating how the audience is given clues by this ‘prologue’ to the events and meaning of the story thereafter.

Lýsing

Constance B. Hieatt heldur því fram að fræðimenn, sérstaklega Richard F. Allen og Lars Lönnroth, hafi ekki sett utanför Hrúts í upphafi Njálu í nægilega gott samhengi við það sem á eftir kemur í sögunni. Hieatt vinnur út frá kenningu Allen og Lönnroth um að útúrdúrarnir inna sögunnar séu lykillinn að því að skilja heildina. Hann setur fram þá hugmynd að utanför Hrúts sé eins konar inngangur sem leiðir í ljós ætlan höfundar, setur atburðarásina af stað og kynnir helstu sagnaminni sögunnar. Tvö af þeim minnum sem koma fram í utanförinni eru brúðarleitin og hörmungarhjónabandið, þessi minni kallast á við hjónaband Gunnars og Hallgerðar seinna í sögunni. Annað sagnaminni er ferðalagið til annarra landa, minnið þjónar sem merki um að framvinda sögunnar muni taka stökk fram á við. Hieatt ræðir enn frekar hvernig utanferð Hrúts er endurspegluð í Njálu, hann sýnir fram á hvernig lesandanum eru gefnar vísbendingar í „formálanum“ um hvað koma skal í sögunni.

See also

References

Chapter 5: nothing venture, nothing have: “The voyage, then, is a significant structural element throughout the saga. Its parallels and variants signal the stages of the over-all design, and, since that of Hrútr sets the basic pattern, it is fitting that it takes up as much space as it does.” (p. 277)

Links

  • Written by: Jensen Scheuer
  • Icelandic translation: Andri M. Kristjánsson
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