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An Introduction to the Sagas of Icelanders$
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Carl Phelpstead

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780813066516

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813066516.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 16 September 2021

Traditions in Time

Traditions in Time

Chapter:
(p.13) 2 Traditions in Time
Source:
An Introduction to the Sagas of Icelanders
Author(s):

Carl Phelpstead

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813066516.003.0002

Chapter 2 explores relevant historical contexts: the period in Icelandic history in which the sagas are set (encompassing the Viking Age, the discovery and settlement of Iceland, and that country’s conversion to Christianity), and also the period during which the sagas were composed (including the Sturlung Age of the thirteenth century, dominated by conflicts between chieftains and complex relations with Norway). It then examines the literary and oral traditions that nurtured the production of sagas of Icelanders, and considers some salient aspects of the preservation of the saga texts: their anonymity, the existence of variant versions, saga manuscript contexts, the difficulties of dating the sagas, and the interpretative decisions that inform modern published saga editions. The chapter shows that the texts do not have single fixed identities but are constituted through a complex process of oral and literary creation, re-creation, and conservation.

Keywords:   Icelandic history, Viking Age, oral tradition, saga manuscript, saga edition, Sturlung Age, Norway

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