Nordic Sagas as Children’s Literature

Victorian and Edwardian Retellings in Words and Pictures


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About the Book

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(s)

Velma Bourgeois Richmond is a professor emerita of English at Holy Names University, Oakland, California. She lives in Berkeley, California.

Bibliographic Details

Velma Bourgeois Richmond
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 379
Bibliographic Info: 43 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2023
pISBN: 978-1-4766-9163-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4978-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Part I. Contexts and Criticisms
1. English Translations 7
2. British Writers Celebrate the North 44
3. American Heritage 89
Part II. Nordic Sagas as Children’s Literature
4. World Collections 127
5. European Collections 152
6. Books of Nordic Stories 179
7. Nordic Favorite Heroes 242
Part III. Schoolbooks
8. Wide-Ranging Schoolbooks 283
9. Schoolbooks of Nordic Sagas 312
Chapter Notes 341
Bibliography 359
Index 363