Telling Tales and Setting the Scene
DOI link for Telling Tales and Setting the Scene
Telling Tales and Setting the Scene book
As both literature and historical document, the significance of the Icelandic sagas can hardly be over-estimated. From a historical perspective they provide meticulous records of events not just in the medieval Icelandic Commonwealth, but also in Scandinavia and the British Isles. Icelandic sagas are not concerned just with special events; as literature, they are valued above all for their richly detailed characterizations of everyday life, of family dramas, romances and tragedies. This large collection of literature has played an extensive and complex role in Icelandic identity, a central construct of which is the concept of individuality so prominent in the sagas themselves. The significance ascribed to the Icelandic sagas in the construction of modern Icelandic identity should thus be recognized from the outset in any ethnography of the descendants of these ninth-century Vikings. The chapter also presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in this book.