Njal's Saga or The Story of Burnt Njal

Njal s Saga or The Story of Burnt Njal Instigated by a spiteful and selfish wife a grim blood feud between the families of two well to do Icelandic landowners spirals out of control claiming lives and property Widely regarded as the caps

  • Title: Njal's Saga or The Story of Burnt Njal
  • Author: Sæmundr fróði George Webbe Dasent
  • ISBN: 9780486443676
  • Page: 461
  • Format: Paperback
  • Instigated by a spiteful and selfish wife, a grim blood feud between the families of two well to do Icelandic landowners spirals out of control, claiming lives and property Widely regarded as the capstone of Icelandic literary achievement, this gripping thirteenth century saga not only recounts long and costly battles but documents Viking civic and legal institutions as wInstigated by a spiteful and selfish wife, a grim blood feud between the families of two well to do Icelandic landowners spirals out of control, claiming lives and property Widely regarded as the capstone of Icelandic literary achievement, this gripping thirteenth century saga not only recounts long and costly battles but documents Viking civic and legal institutions as well It also presents a cogent exposition of Icelandic religious practices amid stirring tales of war and conquest.The finest English language version available, this volume includes an informative introduction, editor s notes, and a complete chronology of events.

    One thought on “Njal's Saga or The Story of Burnt Njal”

    1. Often when thinking about the rise of the European novel there's a tendency to look to Cervantes or maybe back to "The Golden Ass". Yet longer sagas like Njal's saga seem to be very much like novels to me.This is an amazing work. Partially based on fact and around factual events such as the coming of Christianity to Iceland (view spoiler)[established in this story thanks to bribery apparently (hide spoiler)] the saga traces a quarrel. As it gets out of hand and men reach for weapons calmer heads [...]

    2. I really enjoyed this one. There's some likeable characters -- even from my soft-hearted modern point of view -- who I really got to care about, which isn't always the case with sagas. I was kind of sad when they went out of the saga. The translation is good, clear and easy to read, and there's helpful footnotes, a good introduction, and other helpful supplementary material. As with all sagas, there's an awful lot of names, but it's still pretty easy to follow.I found some of it amusing in a som [...]

    3. It is one of the greatest crimes of recent literature that Penguin has replaced this -- one of the truly great English translations of any work by anyone -- with a horrendously execrable translation whose only distinguishing characteristic is that it was done more recently. Seek out Magnus Magnusson's translation (thankfully there are oodles and oodles of them second hand due to it being assigned in college courses for decades) at all costs.This book is really in a class by itself. It might be a [...]

    4. 3.5/5There are a lot of written works out there that were never composed solely for the sake of entertainment. Today, these are customarily churned through for philosophical/social/religious/historical/various other noble concerns. All very well, but more rare are the ones through which one can get a firm grip on the origin of 'How to Get Away with Murder' in all its sordid glory: abusing circumstantial technicalities, citing obscure parts of archaic rulings, fighting fire with fire, all in the [...]

    5. One of the best sagas, without a doubt. Epic in scale, but still intensely human, the story of burnt-Njal is dramatic, moving and highly entertaining. The saga style takes some getting used to if you've never experienced it before. It is terse, to the point, characterisation and description is kept to a bare minimum, the plot races along at break-neck speed, there's a plethora of characters (a lot of whom have very similar names). It requires concentration, and you'll almost certainly have to re [...]

    6. An amazing, tragic family drama and one of the greatest works I read in college. In fact, as you will note from my shelving, it's one of my favorite books of all time. This has everything: romance, heartbreak, action, legal drama. And it introduced me to Njal's son Skarp-Hedin, the greatest warrior of all time. Full of snappy one-liners, able to decapitate five men with one blow, I tried to name my firstborn after him, but my husband said no. Alas!

    7. _Njal’s Saga_ is one of the classics of the medieval genre of the Family Saga, if not perhaps the classic. It has everything you could want in a saga: extended genealogies of multiple families, inter-family conflict between said families through the generations, shifting loyalties, intrigue, bloody battles, crazy nicknames, sardonic witticisms, and enough legal jargon to keep Perry Mason happy. It is populated with characters that seem real and often multidimensional even when they are larger [...]

    8. So engrossing that I missed my bus stop once while reading on the bus. I think that is a good sign.Basically guys hack each other to pieces for 50 years until eventually the only two dudes left finally make peace. People who are all like "Oh our culture is so violent nowadays" should read this for a little perspective. Because a guy will be like "Where's so-and-so?" And another guy will be like "Oh, I severed his head." And the first guy will be like "Oh, that seems like something you'd do." And [...]

    9. A legal saga with gratuitious violence, revenge,strong characters and what I would call magical realism. It makes me want to visit the site of Njal's farm in Iceland - a country I am fascinated by but only get to pass through .And our cat is now called 'Ragnar Hairy - Breeks'

    10. Njal's Saga is by far the longest of the sagas of the Icelanders, and it appears to be the general agreement that it is also the best among them, an assessment that I am not going to deviate from. In principle, Njal's Saga is just like the other sagas (The Sagas of Icelanders) - it has their freshness and immediacy that are striking for texts that are hundreds of years old, it has their sparse, laconic style, their reliance on action and dialogue, their absence of psychology and their emphasis o [...]

    11. --------GENERAL THOUGHTS--------Okay, so this ancient Icelandic saga is confusing but also strangely engrossing and kind of funny (one memorable line: “He will ask you whether there are a lot of good men up [where you’re from]; to which you reply, ‘A lot of perverts, that’s about all.’”). Names: these get real confusing. There are multiple characters with the same names, and the long-dead author, whoever it is, usually doesn’t bother to make an effort to clarify which Mord (grandfa [...]

    12. I have read an abridged version of Njal's Saga before, but never in its entirety. When I received this tome for my birthday, I was most excited to begin it. Njal's Saga features an incredible amount of characters, and is prefaced by a series of extensive - and necessary - family trees. As with all good sagas, it is filled with slayings, battles, marriages, and betrayals. It is a true epic, and its story is fascinating and far-reaching, but at times I must admit that I found the translation rathe [...]

    13. In the tradition of Icelandic sagas it is very violent and barbaric. Tons of fun in other words, and based on a true story by all accounts. Lots of modern law practice goes back to the people and principles described in this book. My favorite part is the vision of the Valkyries at the end. Delightfully macabre!

    14. მეგონა "უფროსი ედასავით" მაგარი იქნებოდა.სიუჟეტურად ძალიან ცარიელია: ცოლი მოვიყვანე, გავეყარე, ქონება დავაგროვე, კაცი მოვკალი. სულ, სულ, სულ. სხვა არაფერი ხდება.რა პრეტენზიებია ეხა ეს?აი, ისლ [...]

    15. Who knew the Vikings were also skilled lawyers?Okay, apparently using the word Viking is a misnomer as in the text 'Viking' is used to represent raiders of indistinguishable origin. Anyway, written 800 or 900 years ago, and purportedly describing events taking place 1000 years ago, this saga has it all, giving truth to the use of the word 'saga.' It has battles, romance (as much as you can have when marriages are arranged - Does this man please you? Good, because you are now married), the conver [...]

    16. Njáls saga is a 13th century Icelandic saga that describes events between the years 960 to 1020. It deserves respect because of its antiquity. But I found it be a challenge to get through. It is a long collection of stories about "so-and-so" of "such-and-such" family killing "so-and-so" of "such-and-such" family. The names were all exotic to my English language ears; thus it all passed through my memory as a blur. In this regard it reminded me of my reaction to the Iliad. However this book is m [...]

    17. The storyline of Njal’s Saga can seem hopelessly complicated at first glance. The tales are based on historical events, so there are a number of people who play only minor roles, there are long lists of characters’ ancestries, and there are people who share the same name. However, just a little way into the book, the reader should be able to pick out and focus on the key characters with ease, and once he does, he will become wonderfully invested in their lives. The cast of Njal’s Saga is q [...]

    18. I'm a hopeless reader. When I read a good book, I tend to read it over again – several times. As I write this review, I'm reading Njal's Saga for the second time in a row. The book is fantastic; it is the longest and probably the best of all the Old Icelandic family sagas. The thing is, I have read it before: three or four times in Norwegian and parts of it in the Old Icelandic language. These are the first times I read the saga in English.Composed in the thirteenth century by an anonymous Ice [...]

    19. Blood rains From the cloudy webOn the broad loomOf slaughter.The web of man, Grey as armor,Is now being woven;The ValkyriesWill cross itWith a crimson welt.Njal’s Saga, written by an unknown author in the 13th century (around the year 1280), is often regarded as the greatest of the Icelandic sagas. It is primarily a prose narrative, but there are some passages of verse. 24 manuscripts, more copies than of any other saga, have survived, sometimes in fragments. The saga is based on historical ev [...]

    20. In the modern era most generations of most families tend to pass their time in unremarkable ways. We’re born. We go to school. We work. We marry and maybe have children or even grandchildren. Then we die. Along the way we move house two or three times and take up a hobby. You are likely to be disappointed in reviewing the list of your known ancestors if you want to discover evidence of blood feuds, rapine, piracy, and superior skills in hand-to-hand combat involving axes and halberds. If we’ [...]

    21. If you relish:1) reading about characters with names such as Sigurd Snake-in-the Eye, Brynjolf the Brawler, Ragnar Shaggy Breeches, and Thorolf Pus-Nose2) verbal insults to masculinity, such as being called a "Dung-Beardling"3) and constant, epic murder with swords, spears and axes, along the lines of: "Thrain was about to put on his helmet, but Skarphedin came at him first and swung his axe at him on his head and split it down to the jaw, so that the molars fell out on the ice"Then you'll enjoy [...]

    22. Blood feuds and prophecies and gory revenge and the intricacies of 13th-century Icelandic legal procedure! What's not to like? This is the story of several intertwined blood feuds, marriages, lawsuits, and raiding trips (they really endorse raiding trips as a healthy educational experience for a young man), but especially of the burning of Njal, the greatest lawyer in Iceland, and the revenge pursued for that burning. Many of the characters are compelling and memorable, which is impressive, cons [...]

    23. I was made aware of this book by The Machinery of Freedom, which had a chapter on Medieval Iceland and specifically recommended this work. According to the author, David Friedman, the Icelandic Sagas are better than most novels. While I wouldn't go quite that far, I must say that Njals Saga was very good as a story and offered valuable historical insights.I was surprised both by the rawness of the Icelandic people and by their honor and civility. You only had to insult someone and he would come [...]

    24. I really enjoyed this. At some point, a researcher summed up the Icelandic Sagas in four words: "Farmers came to blows". This story was like that.Tthere is a blood feud that accounts for rounds of slayings. The surviving combatants then are required to pay indemnities at the annual Assembly, not that that resolves anything. There are still scores to settle. The climax comes when Njal's homestead is burned along with Njal, his wife and their sons. (A foster son escapes to continue the revenge). P [...]

    25. This was shockingly good. I had heard about this a year ago and attempted to read it, but found it boring and quickly moved on to something else. A year later I return and find it to be one of the greatest works of literature I have ever read. *shrug*It's sort of silly at parts, like a norseman leaping over a river, landing on ice, sliding to a man and axing his head causing his molars to fly out, proceeding to slide across the ice block, past 12 armored men, and escape free. But it seriously is [...]

    26. Njals Saga or is a 13th century Icelandic saga that describes events between 960 and 1020. The principal characters are the friends Njáll Þorgeirsson, a lawyer and a sage (who for some reason can’t grow a beard), and Gunnar Hámundarson, a formidable warrior and wielder of a mighty Halberd. Gunnar's wife instigates a feud that leads to the death of many characters over several decades as interesting and exciting as this sounds, this is not an easy book. The writing structure is a bit odd to [...]

    27. On one hand it’s soap opera--often seedy, sometimes petty, and capitalizing on an interminable progression of taboo, jealousy, and revenge. And on the other hand the book is an incisive, monumental exploration of humanity’s tragic predicament. It would be too intimidating a project to count the number of times, in this saga, that we witness weddings, vengeance killings, and the negotiation of blood-money settlements. Yet the saga’s author uses these repetitions to build a foundation, a bro [...]

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