Grettir's Saga (Anglais) Broché – 11 juin 2009
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Grettir's saga is perhaps the most famous of Iceland's "outlaw sagas," and for good reason; after being exiled, Grettir roams Iceland and Norway, ridding the land of all types of creatures, including trolls and zombies. However, within this brutal warrior we also see a human, almost touching side: Grettir is also a poet, and happens to be deathly afraid of the dark, a fear that develops to the point that he will not travel at night alone. Byock's translation captures the story in all of its violent, stripped down beauty. This story is further illuminated by maps, illustrations and explanatory notes.
While I can not directly compare this translation to that available from Penguin Classics (by Bernard Scudder) I can say that I have read sagas from both translators, and both are excellent. I have read Bernard Scudder's rendering of Egil's Saga, and it is everything one could wish for. I would imagine the two Grettir translations are equally excellent, and I am sure that the maps and notes are adequate in the Penguin version. The Oxford version which I am reviewing here is a few dollars more than the Penguin, but I believe it also has a better "feel" to it than the Penguin one, which seems to have flimsy binding which is not usually characteristic of Penguin.
Read and enjoy. If you are new to Icelandic Sagas I would recommend "The Saga of the Volsungs," but don't miss out on Grettir.
Grettir's saga is one of the heavyweights of Iceland's sagas (the others being Egil's, Njal's, and one other I believe).
If the thought of reading 1,000 year old stories seems intimidating or potentially dull, I would encourage you to read just the last segment of Grettir's saga. (It's basically a stand-alone tale for all intents and purposes). It takes place after Grettir's death and tells the tale of how his bother Thorstein avenges his death meets the woman who ultimately becomes his wife.
It is pure comedy gold.
You'd figure that life in that time was all misery and death - but nope - they had a sense of humor that transcends time.
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