Episode 1C: What is a saga?

Now that you’re an expert in medieval Icelandic history, you’re probably wondering about Icelandic literary expression.  Why wouldn’t you?  In this episode, John and Andy answer the question they probably ought to have covered right away…what is a saga, exactly? Strap yourself in for a whirlwind introduction to the genre of saga literature.  Expect to hear an overview of the different kinds of sagas medieval Icelanders produced.  Along the way, you’ll find out the difference between a family saga and a lying saga, discover the wonders of bookprose and freeprose theory, and learn a little something about a guy named Njal.  All in all, it’s good clean fun for the whole family.

Íslendingasögur

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3 thoughts on “Episode 1C: What is a saga?

  1. Hi. I just listened to this episode. It sounded like you were trying to say that the sagas were the historical fiction of their day. Taking known events and expanding them, either filling in the blanks or adaping them to suit the writers’ purposes. Think either a Bernard Cornwell novel or Ridley Scott historical movie.

    Does that sound right?

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    • I think that the definition you offer captures the essence of it all. This is not to say that saga authors themselves thought of the sagas as historical fiction. That’s a far more complicated issue.

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  2. Pingback: Episode Archive | Saga Thing

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