This book examines translations of Icelandic sagas and the Victorian and Edwardian children's literature they inspired, some of which are canonical while others are forgotten. It covers authors like William Morris, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Thomas Gray, Walter Scott, H. Rider Haggard, W.H. Auden, John Greenleef Whittier and more. In lavish volumes and modest schoolbooks, British and American writers claimed Nordic heritage and explored Nordic traditions. The sagas offered a rich and wide-ranging source for these authors: Volsunga saga's Sigurd the dragon slayer; King Olaf's saga of opposing Nordic Gods and Christianity; Frithiof's model of headstrong youth beset with unfair opposition and lost love. Grettir and Njal tell of men who accepted fate and met conflict and enemies unflinchingly; Aslaug, Gudrida, Hallberga and Hervar exerted remarkable influence; and Eric the Red and Leif the Lucky provided Americans with a Nordic heritage of discovery.
About the Author
Velma Bourgeois Richmond is a professor emerita of English at Holy Names University, Oakland, California. She lives in Berkeley, California.