The Enigma of Egill: The Saga, the Viking Poet, and Snorri Sturluson (Islandica, Book 57)

October 31, 2020
The Enigma of Egill: The Saga, the Viking Poet, and Snorri Sturluson (Islandica, Book 57)

Egils saga, composed some eight hundred years ago to relate thelife and times of Egill Skallagrimsson, the Viking poet andIcelander of the tenth century, is a major prose narrative thoughtby many scholars to be written by Snorri Sturluson, the greatmedieval historiographer of Iceland. Essential elements forunderstanding Egils saga in its time and place include, amongothers, the settlement of Iceland, the relationship betweenIcelanders and Norwegian kings, and the Christianization of theNorse world as pagan beliefs receded. The saga, one of the longestand best-structured in the medieval Icelandic literary canon, is,in the words of Torfi Tulinius, a story "of how people create animage of their past to give meaning to what is happening in theirlives or of those that surround them."In a close reading of the saga, Tulinius brings forth thecomplex relationship between structure and meaning in the saga, aswell as hitherto unnoticed references to Scripture that suggest aChristian interpretation of the main protagonist's life. A carefulanalysis of Snorri Sturluson s life and times allows Torfi topropose a context for a fuller perception of Egils saga as a greatwork of art."