Magnús Fjalldal. A Farmer in the Court of King Athelstan

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  • Author: Magnús Fjalldal
  • Title: Farmer in the Court of King Athelstan: Historical and Literary Considerations in the Vínheiðr Episode of Egils Saga
  • Published in: English Studies 77
  • Year: 1996
  • Pages: 15-31
  • E-text:
  • Reference: Magnús Fjalldal. "A Farmer in the Court of King Athelstan: Historical and Literary Considerations in the Vínheiðr Episode of Egils Saga." English Studies 77 (1996): 15-31.

  • Key words: history, literary elements, characterization, social reality (sagnfræði, bókmenntaleg einkenni, persónlýsingar, samfélagsmynd)


Contents

Annotation

On the Vínheiðr episode and its function in Egils saga. Discussion of this episode has largely centred around its historical veracity and whether or not the narrative draws on historical materials to which its author had access. Magnús Fjalldal argues that Vínheiðr is a purely fictional narrative but one that has an important literary function in the story: the battle is the carefully staged climax of Egill's life. The contrast between the treacherous Norwegian rulers Egill encounters and generous Athelstan in England may also suggest that there is a political function to this "literary counterpoint" within the context of 13th century Iceland.

Lýsing

Magnús fjallar um lýsinguna á orustunni á Vínheiði og hlutverk hennar í Egils sögu. Til þessa hefur umræða um viðkomandi kafla að mestu snúist um heimildagildi þeirra og það hvort þeir séu byggðir á sögulegu efni sem höfundur hafi haft aðgang að. Magnús heldur því fram að frásögnin sé skáldskapur frá rótum en þjóni mikilvægu bókmenntalegu hlutverki í sögunni: orustan er vel sviðsettur hápunktur í lífi Egils. Sú andstæða mynd sem dregin er annars vegar upp af hinum svikulu norsku konungum sem Egill á í höggi við og Aðalsteini Englakonungi og örlæti hans hins vegar kann einnig að benda til að þessi "bókmenntalegi kontrapunktur" hafi haft pólitísku hlutverki að gegna á Íslandi á 13. öld.

See also

References

Chapter 55: rétti yfir eldinn: "When the king puts a gold ring on the tip of his sword and hands it across the fire to Egill, who receives it in like fashion, it is not just a sign of fear or mistrust, but also - symbolically - an act of social recognition. The exact symmetry in the way the two men are presented is more important than the gift involved; it shows Egill and Athelstan as equals. ... The imaginary vision of an English court where justice and generosity prevail is in stark contrast with the less favorable impression which the saga offers of the Norwegian courts of King Harald and his sons. From this point of view the author hardly included the Vínheiðr episode to relate an event in the history of Anglo-Saxon England but as a literary counterpoint with a thinly veiled political message" (pp. 29-31).


Links

  • Written by: Katelin Parsons
  • Icelandic translation: Jón Karl Helgason
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