Birth of a Nation


John Porter translated to English from the Swedish original.

From the translator's foreword:

Iceland's extraordinary medieval literature contains and extends the confident energy of the Vikings in their great migrations. It reflects their historical consciousness, expresses their response to contemporary change and struggle, and reveals their capacity of rabsorbing and adapting European cultural influence. A knowledge of the local conditionsn which generated this literature is vital to its understanding. This translation aims to give English-speaking readers a concise account of early Icelandic society.

It is based on the works of Jon Johannesson, Sigurdur Nordal and Björn Thorsteinsson which head the list of Literary References. It was first published in Swedish, and the present text silently suppresses a few specifically Swedish references, as well as incorporating some minor changes made for the Danish edition of 1974. The original bibliography has been extended slightly with the English-speaking world in mind.