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10 thoughts on “Brennu-Njálssaga

  1. says:

    Gunnar got ready to ride to the Thing, and before he left he spoke to Hallgerd Behave yourself while I m away and don t show your bad temper where my friends are concerned The trolls take your friend, she said.Gunnar rode to the Thing and saw that it was no good talking to her The events of Njal s Saga took place between 960 and 1020 in Icelandic society and were written about in the thirteenth century What was so unexpected for me was to discover, in such an ancient culture, the power that women had in, what I assumed was, a patriarchal society Before I started reading Icelandic sagas, I had the image in my mind of the stereotypical, he man, Viking Icelander, who ruled his home with an iron fist That was not the case at all Hallgerd was famous to scholars of the sagas because she was such a diabolical character She took any slight against her honor very seriously, meddled in others affairs without fear of impunity, manipulated, connived, and ultimately cost seven men their lives in a feud with Bergthora,...


  2. says:

    Often when thinking about the rise of the European novel there s a tendency to look to Cervantes or maybe back to The Golden Ass Yet longer sagas like Njal s saga seem to be very much like novels to me.This is an amazing work Partially based on fact and around factu...


  3. says:

    It is one of the greatest crimes of recent literature that Penguin has replaced this one of the truly great English translations of any work by anyone with a horrendously execrable translation whose only distinguishing characteristic is that it was done recently Seek out Magnus Magnusson s translation thankfully there are oodles and oodles of them second hand due to it being assigned in college courses for decades at all costs.This book is really in a class by itself It might be an epic poem in Icelandic, but in English it behaves like a real novel, which is jaw dropping, considering it was written about 750 years ago 350 years before DON QUIXOTE, which is generally considered the first real novel and is in contrast to other poetic epics such as THE ILIAD which even in prose translations can hardly be mistaken for real novels Using or less factual events that took place between 960 AD and 1020 AD, the book is a long but utterly enthralling history of a few families mostly about two in particular and the cycle of violence and murder that self perpetuates between them, unable to be quelled because of the way the legal system and ethics are instituted in pagan Iceland It isn t until Chri...


  4. says:

    I really enjoyed this one There s some likeable characters even from my soft hearted modern point of view who I really got to care about, which isn t always the case with sagas I was kind of sad when they went out of the saga The translation is good, clear and easy to read, and there s helpful footnotes, a good introduction, and other helpful supplementary material As with all sagas, there s an awful lot of names, but it s still pretty easy to follow.I found some of it amusing in a somewhat macabre way especially at the beginning, with Hallgerd s bloodthirsty nature In the end, the eye for an eye mentality of the characters becomes amusing because of the excess of it, to me Gunnar and Njal are refreshing in their refusal to feud with each other.A lot of the saga is based on the points of the law, as well as the kill...


  5. says:

    _Njal s Saga_ is one of the classics of the medieval genre of the Family Saga, if not perhaps the classic It has everything you could want in a saga extended genealogies of multiple families, inter family conflict between said families through the generations, shifting loyalties, intrigue, bloody battles, crazy nicknames, sardonic witticisms, and enough legal jargon to keep Perry Mason happy It is populated with characters that seem real and often multidimensional even when they are larger than life and gives an intriguing insight into the way of life of medieval Iceland with its unique culture and political legal system Despite being named after Njal Thorgeirsson, the saga is wide ranging and seems to support a fair number of protagonists We start, not uncommonly for a saga of this kind, a generation prior to the main events and see how the marriages and relationships of a completely different set of families will come to bear the seeds of destruction for others After this brief introduction centring around the families of Mord Fiddle and the brothers Hoskuld and Hrut and importantly their daughters Unn and Hallgerd we meet the titular Njal, a man known for his keen legal mind, tendency towards prescience, and the fact that he cannot grow a beard, and his best friend Gunnar Hamundarson This segment of the saga could actually be said to be about G...


  6. says:

    I have had this book on my waiting list for ages, ever since it was recommended to me by my GR friend J.Boo after I mentioned in a review that I was becoming interested in the sagas Thanks, J.Boo It took me forever to get to and almost forever to get through, but I liked it, learned a lot, and want to read others Someday This book at Gutenberg is a 1900 edition of two volumes that were published in 1861 Here is a short paragraph from the editor s preface The present reprint has been prepared in order that this incomparable Saga may become accessible to those readers with whom a good story is the first consideration and its bearing upon a nation s history a secondary one or is not considered at all For Burnt Njal may be approached either as a historical document, or as a pure narrative of elemental natures, of strong passions and of heroic feats of strength Some of the best fighting in literature is to be found between its covers Sir George Dasent s version in its capacity as a learned work for the study has had nearly forty years of life it is now offered afresh simply as a brave story for men who have been boys and for boys who are going to be men.They abridged the translator s preface and introduction, and left out the maps and such that were part of the original publication But even with the editing, these pieces are full of information which is important to know in order to understand the action of the story, the why ...


  7. says:

    One of the best sagas, without a doubt Epic in scale, but still intensely human, the story of burnt Njal is dramatic, moving and highly entertaining The saga style takes some getting used to if you ve never experienced it before It is terse, to the point, characterisation and description is kept to a bare minimum, the plot races along at break neck speed, there s a plethora of characters a lot of whom have very similar names It requires concentration, and you ll almost certainly have to resort to consulting the family trees so thoughtfully included It made me laugh when I saw a family tree included in One Hundred Years of Solitude Six generations I scoffed, That s nothing, even if they do all have the same names Njal s Saga has seven Thorsteins, eight Thorkels, six Thorgeirs, six Thorgerds and about forty other characters whose names begin with Thor Although to r...


  8. says:

    3.5 5There are a lot of written works out there that were never composed solely for the sake of entertainment Today, these are customarily churned through for philosophical social religious historical various other noble concerns All very well, but rare are the ones through which one can get a firm grip on the origin of How to Get Away with Murder in all its sordid glory abusing circumstantial technicalities, citing obscure parts of archaic rulings, fighting fire with fire, all in the effort to, leastwise in terms of the main story, continue the toppling dominoes of a revenge tragedy I won t pretend I didn t find the TV show far engaging than the saga, but that s a natural consequence of modern taste and modern law You won t find habeas corpus or DNA evidence or drone surveillance in the world of Njal Instead, you ll get outlaws, premonitions, fifty bajilliion witnesses, hundreds of judges, gigantic religious shifts, lawyers, and the kind of evidence based foresight that Sherlock would kill to have if he ever found himself the head of an 10th 11th century Icelandic household One would think having multiple instances of a character uttering a string of events that are later replicated exactly in the narrative would dull rather than sharpen the intensity of the events, but often the logic is so strangely engaging that you wouldn t be surprised if such crafty plo...


  9. says:

    An amazing, tragic family drama and one of the greatest works I read in college In fact, as you will note from my shelving, it s one of my favorite books of all time This has everything romance, heartbrea...


  10. says:

    So engrossing that I missed my bus stop once while reading on the bus I think that is a good sign.Basically guys hack each other to pieces for 50 years until eventually the only two dudes left finally make peace People who are all like Oh our culture is so violent nowadays should read this for a little perspective Because a guy will be like Where s so and so And another guy will be like Oh, I severed his head And the first guy will be like Oh, that seems like something you d do And then life moves on and somebody owes somebody money All that being said, it was very gripping And here is a life lesson If a bunch of armed men come to your house to kill you, and you are standing there with a bunch of other armed men do NOT go inside your house.I now present to you a list of extremely delightful names from this book mostly from the genealogies Sigurd Snake in the EyeRagnar Hairy BreeksKetil Flat Nose...


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Brennu-Njálssaga Written In The Thirteenth Century, Njal S Saga Is A Story That Explores Perennial Human Problems From Failed Marriages To Divided Loyalties, From The Law S Inability To Curb Human Passions To The Terrible Consequences When Decent Men And Women Are Swept Up In A Tide Of Violence Beyond Their Control It Is Populated By Memorable And Complex Characters Like Gunnar Of Hlidarendi, A Powerful Warrior With An Aversion To Killing, And The Not So Villainous Mord Valgardsson Full Of Dreams, Strange Prophecies, Violent Power Struggles, And Fragile Peace Agreements, Njal S Saga Tells The Compelling Story Of A Fifty Year Blood Feud That, Despite Its Distance From Us In Time And Place, Is Driven By Passions Familiar To Us All This Penguin Classics Edition Includes An Introduction, Chronology, Index Of Characters, Plot Summary, Explanatory Notes, Maps, And Suggestions For Further Reading.