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Icelandic Sagas

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Icelandic sagas.

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Icelandic Sagas. First written down in the 13th century, the sagas tell the stories of the Norse settlers of Iceland, who began to arrive on the island in the late 9th century. They contain some of the richest and most extraordinary writing of the Middle Ages, and often depict events known to have happened in the early years of Icelandic history, although there is much debate as to how much of their content is factual and how much imaginative. Full of heroes, feuds and outlaws, with a smattering of ghosts and trolls, the sagas inspired later writers including Sir Walter Scott, William Morris and WH Auden.


Carolyne Larrington
Fellow and Tutor in Medieval English Literature at St John's College, Oxford

Elizabeth Ashman Rowe
University Lecturer in Scandinavian History at the University of Cambridge

Emily Lethbridge
Post-Doctoral Researcher at the Árni Magnússon Manuscripts Institute in Reykjavík

Producer: Thomas Morris.

Available now

42 minutes

Last on

Thu 9 May 2013 21:30


Dr Carolyne Larrington at the University of Oxford


Dr Elizabeth Ashman Rowe at the University of Cambridge


Dr Emily Lethbridge - The Saga-Steads of Iceland: A 21st-Century Pilgrimage


Icelandic Saga Database


New Northvegr Center - The Icelandic Sagas


Memories of Old Awake


The Story of the Volsungs


Sagas of Icelanders - Wikipedia





Theodore M. Andersson and William Ian Miller, Law and Literature in Medieval Iceland (Stanford University Press, 1989)


Jesse L. Byock (trans.), The Saga of the Volsungs: The Norse Epic of Sigurd the Dragon Slayer (University of California Press, 1990)


Jesse Byock, Viking Age Iceland (Penguin, 2001)


Margaret Clunies Ross, Cambridge Introduction to the Old Norse-Icelandic Saga (Cambridge, 2010)


R. Cook (trans.), Njál’s Saga (Penguin, 2006)


E. Paul Durrenberger, The Dynamics of Medieval Iceland: Political Economy and Literature (University of Iowa Press, 1992)


Anthony Faulkes (trans.), Three Icelandic Outlaw Sagas (Everyman, 2001)


Lavinia Greenlaw, William Morris in Iceland: Questions of Travel (Notting Hill, 2011)


Gunnar Karlsson, The History of Iceland (University of Minnesota Press, 2000)


Jonas Kristjansson (trans. Jeffrey Cosser), Icelandic Manuscripts: Sagas, History and Art (The Icelandic Literary Society, 1993)


Rory McTurk (ed.), A Companion to Old Norse-Icelandic Literature and Culture (Blackwell, 2005)


William Ian Miller, Bloodtaking and Peacemaking: Feud, Law and Society in Saga Iceland (Chicago UP, 1990)


Gudrun Nordal, Ethics and Action in Thirteenth-Century Iceland (Odense UP, 1998)


Heather O’Donoghue, Old-Norse Icelandic Literature: A Short Introduction (Oxford, 2004)


Jane Smiley (trans.), The Sagas of Icelanders (Penguin, 2005)


Matthew Townend, The Vikings and Victorian Lakeland: The Norse Medievalism of W. G.  Collingwood and His Contemporaries (Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, 2009)


Andrew Wawn, The Vikings and the Victorians: Inventing the Old North in 19th-Century Britain (Brewer, 2002)


Diana Whaley (trans.), Sagas of Warrior-Poets (Penguin, 2002)



Role Contributor
Presenter Melvyn Bragg
Presenter Melvyn Bragg
Producer Thomas Morris
Producer Thomas Morris
Producer Victoria Brignell
Producer Victoria Brignell
Interviewed Guest Carolyne Larrington
Interviewed Guest Carolyne Larrington
Interviewed Guest Emily Lethbridge
Interviewed Guest Elizabeth Ashman Rowe
Interviewed Guest Elizabeth Ashman Rowe
Interviewed Guest Emily Lethbridge


  • Thu 9 May 2013 09:00
  • Thu 9 May 2013 21:30

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