The fantastic in the family sagas : implications for saga authorship

Gislason, Kari (2006) The fantastic in the family sagas : implications for saga authorship. In McKinnell, John S. (Ed.) The Fantastic in Old Norse/Old Icelandic Literature. Preprints of the 13th International Saga Conference, Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Durham University, Durham University, Durham, pp. 486-494.


There is increasing acceptance that characterisation in the family sagas is complex enough to include the subtle incorporation of protagonists’ inner lives. Thus, despite saga authors’ apparent desire to pass on traditional stories, saga characterization brings with it the possibility of a connection between the medieval author and the early Icelandic community represented in the sagas, a break in the saga code of objective narration that adds further weight to recent arguments that saga authorship was conceived in broader terms than merely the preservation of oral tales. One such break in objectivity occurs in the range of responses to the fantastic, when characters are forced to interpret the supernatural or strange events in their lives. At such times, the author allows glimpses of the inner lives of characters, focussing our attention on the way in which characters perceived and dealt with extraordinary occurrences, but also highlighting and thematising the distinctive social context of the early Icelandic community.

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ID Code: 77360
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: No
Keywords: Old Icelandic Literature, Family Sagas, Authorship, The Fantastic in Literature
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > LITERARY STUDIES (200500)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Past > Schools > School of Media, Entertainment & Creative Arts
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2006 [please consult the author]
Deposited On: 08 Oct 2014 22:05
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2014 04:30

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