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21. Romance (Translated riddarasögur)

Jürg Glauser

Subject Literature » Medieval Literature

Place Northern Europe » Scandinavia

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631235026.2004.00024.x


Along with the sagas of Icelandic prehistory ( fornaldarsögur ) and the lying sagas ( lygisögur ), the translated riddarasögur are among the narratives of Norwegian and Icelandic literature of the Middle Ages that have attracted least attention in the research community. As translation literature, they have usually been viewed as less interesting than the indigenous genres, such as the family sagas or kings' sagas, and since their narrative style was not oriented to the objectivity of the classical saga style, they have at times come near to being held responsible for the alleged decline in the highly developed art of Old Norse narrative. One result of this, among others, is that they have been neglected and little researched. Not even international romance research has taken much notice of the Norse translations of courtly literature, and only recently has a certain reorientation emerged in this field. The aim of the present chapter is to outline this reorientation, by giving an overview of the corpus, a brief survey of the development of the texts in literary history, and a description of the current research situation. The narratives discussed here will be called translated riddarasögur , following a tradition reaching back to the Middle Ages. In the longer version of Mágus saga jarls (‘The Saga of Earl Mágus’, c. 1350), there is a reference at the end to ‘frásag-nir … ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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