"We raised our fists and cheered. . . . With the sagas in our heads, with Iceland at its wildest beneath our boots, it would not have been impossible to see Bárdr clumping along the summit ridge, prodding the glacier with his staff, ready to show us the way down." Iceland is a pictorial classic on one of the last "undiscovered" countries in Europe--reissued for the first time in paperback. Iceland is often thought to be covered by ice, but in fact it is gloriously green. Lush meadows, wildflower fields, and miles of rich tundra cover a landscape of remarkable variety: deep lakes, bubbling hot springs, tumbling waterfalls, snow-capped mountains. It's also a landscape amazingly alive with massive lava flows and enormous glaciers. The human story of Iceland goes back more than eleven thousand years, and its heritage is told here in a treasury of riveting sagas of real-life heroes and all manner of supernatural beings. Both the land and the people of one of Europe's most gorgeous countries come to life in this colorful account of the authors' adventures as they walk, climb, and photograph their way through Iceland and connect to the bone-chilling sagas and the unfamiliar terrain. With breathtaking photographs from critically acclaimed writer and journalist Jon Krakauer, author of the international bestsellers Into Thin Air and Into the Wild, and a penetrating narrative from Outside contributing editor and travel writer David Roberts, Iceland splendidly captures the spirit of this enigmatic country. Circumnavigating Iceland in summer and winter, Krakauer and Roberts encounter tales of monks and Vikings, outlaws and adventurers, trolls and witches. While touring and photographing, they discover the myths and legends of Iceland's stirring history. Numerous other feats--including a hazardous winter climb to the summit of one of Iceland's tallest mountains--round out a fascinating introduction to this unique and beautiful land.
Byock sees the crucial element in the origin of the Icelandic sagas not as the introduction of writing or the impact of literary borrowings from the continent but the subject of the tales themselves - feud. This simple thesis is developed into a thorough examination of Icelandic society and feud, and of the narrative technique of recounting it.
Andersson introduces readers to the development of the Icelandic sagas between 1180 and 1280, a crucial period that witnessed a gradual shift of emphasis from tales of adventure and personal distinction to the analysis of politics and history.
A trove of traditional lore, this Icelandic prose epic tells of love, jealousy, vengeance, war, and the mythic deeds of the dragonslayer, Sigurd the Volsung. The saga is of special interest to admirers of Richard Wagner, who drew heavily upon this Norse source in writing his Ring Cycle. With its magical ring acquired by the hero, and the sword to be reforged, the saga has also been a primary source for writers of fantasy such as J.R.R. Tolkien and romantics such as William Morris. Byock's comprehensive introduction explores the history, legends, and myths contained in the saga and traces the development of a narrative that reaches back to the period of the great folk migrations in Europe when the Roman Empire collapsed.