The Saga of Grettir the Strong (Penguin Classics)
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Composed at the end of the fourteenth century by an unknown author, The Saga of Grettir the Strong is one of the last great Icelandic sagas. It relates the tale of Grettir, an eleventh-century warrior struggling to hold on to the values of a heroic age becoming eclipsed by Christianity and a more pastoral lifestyle. Unable to settle into a community of farmers, Grettir becomes the aggressive scourge of both honest men and evil monsters - until, following a battle with the sinister ghost Glam, he is cursed to endure a life of tortured loneliness away from civilisation, fighting giants, trolls and berserks. A mesmerising combination of pagan ideals and Christian faith, this is a profoundly moving conclusion to the Golden Age of the saga writing.
Turville-Petre, Joan, ‘Beowulf and Grettis Saga: an Excursion’ in Saga-Book of the Viking Society 19 (1977), pp. 347-57 General Andersson, Theodore M., The Problem of Icelandic Saga Origins: A Historical Survey (New Haven, London, 1964) —— The Icelandic Family Saga: An Analytic Reading (Cambridge, Mass., 1967) ‘The Book of Icelanders’ in The Norse Atlantic Saga, trans. Gwyn Jones (Oxford, 1964) The Book of Settlements (Landndmabók), trans. Hermann Palsson and Paul Edwards (Winnipeg,
nothing else caused any friction. 16| Thorkel Scratcher was very old by now. He was the godi of the people from Vatnsdal and a great chieftain. As befits relatives by marriage, he and Asmund Grey-locks were close friends and Thorkel made a habit of riding to Bjarg every spring to visit everyone there. In the spring after this incident he went to Bjarg as usual. Asmund and Asdis welcomed him with open arms. He spent three nights there and the two kinsmen talked together about many things.
‘There are certainly few men like you around these days,’ said the farmer’s wife. She made him sit in the high seat and treated him well in every respect. Time passed until Thorfinn was due home. 20| After Yule, Thorfinn made preparations to go back home and gave many of the people he had invited to the feast fine gifts when they parted. Then he set off with his band of men until he drew close to his boat-shed. They noticed a ship lying on the sand and soon recognized that it was his big
off for Rome and many people prayed for their well-being. 92| They travelled all the way until they reached Rome. When they appeared before the man who was appointed to hear confessions, they gave a true account of all that had happened and the clever device they had employed to contrive their marriage. They meekly offered to undertake any penitence and atonement that he wished to impose on them, but because they had made up their minds to atone for their shortcomings without any compulsion
clashes occasioned by disputes over boundaries or beached whales in common land are described in a number of sagas. Another beached whale prompts a battle later in this saga, involving the ‘Sworn Brothers’ Thormod and Thorgeir. 13. Ingolf: i.e. Arnarson, the first settler of Iceland. 14. the means to travel abroad: Goods, often homespun or tallow, which Icelanders would take abroad to sell and cover their costs of travelling. It is a widespread motif in the Sagas of Icelanders for budding