The Saint and the Saga Hero
Title Details

17th November 2017

318 Pages

15.60 x 23.40 cm

1 colour. Illustrations

Series: Studies in Old Norse Literature

Imprint: D.S.Brewer

The Saint and the Saga Hero

Hagiography and Early Icelandic Literature

by Siân E. Grønlie

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Reviews
A compelling argument that far from developing in a literary vacuum, saga literature interacts in lively, creative and critical ways with one of the central genres of the European middle ages.
The relationship between that most popular of medieval genres, the saint's life, and the sagas of the Icelanders is investigated here. Although saga heroes are rarely saints themselves - indeed rather the reverse - they interact with saints in a variety of ways: as ancestors or friends of saints, as noble heathens or converts to Christianity, as innocent victims of violent death, or even as anti-saints, interrogating aspects of saintly ideology. Via detailed readings of a range of the sagas, this book explores how saints' lives contributed to the widening of medieval horizons, allowing the saga authors to develop multiple perspectives (moral, eschatological, psychological) on traditional feud narratives and family dramas. The saint's life introduced new ideals to the saga world, such as suffering, patience and feminine nurture, and provided, through dreams, visions and signs, ways of representing the interior life and of engaging with questions of merit and reward. In dialogue with the ideology of the saint, the saga hero develops into a complex and multi-faceted figure.

Siân Grønlie is Associate Professor and Kate Elmore Fellow in English Language and Literature at St Anne's College, Oxford.
Preface
Saints' Lives and Sagas of Icelanders
The Failed Saint: Oddr's Óláfr Tryggvason
The Confessor, the Martyr and the Convert
The Noble Heathen and the Missionary Saint
The Outlaw, the Exile and the Desert Saint
The Saint as Friend and Patron
Conclusion
"The Saint and the Saga Hero is an inspiring, well-researched and well-written book. It has not left my desk since I was fortunate to get it, and I think it is going to stay there." EARLY MEDIEVAL EUROPE
"Grønlie has produced a study that manages to use its own wide horizons of knowledge to elevate the peripheral and the particular, as only the best scholarship can." MEDIUM ÆVUM
"Grønlie has done a tremendous service to the field of Old Norse-Icelandic, and her monograph will undoubtedly be consulted for years to come as scholars continue to examine the various and complex ways in which the lives of saints shaped saga literature and the characters therein." SPECULUM
"The Saint and the Saga Hero has been a pleasure to read and review. It is a book well served by Grønlie's evident attention to detail, innovative approach to intertextuality, and patient and thoughtful approach to medieval 'genre.' This volume adds a valuable new perspective to the study of Old Norse-Icelandic texts and their interaction with, and place within, wider European literary endeavours." CERÆ

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Title Details

17th November 2017

318 Pages

1.56 x 2.34 cm

1 colour. Illustrations

Series: Studies in Old Norse Literature

Imprint: D.S.Brewer