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Main page » Fiction literature » Story of Burnt Njal (Njal's Saga)

Story of Burnt Njal (Njal's Saga)


Originally written in Icelandic, sometime in the 13th Century A.D. Author unknown.

The saga deals with the process of blood feuds in the Icelandic Commonwealth, showing how the requirements of honor could lead to minor slights spiralling into destructive and prolonged bloodshed. Insults where a character's manhood is called into question are especially prominent and may reflect an author critical of an overly restrictive ideal of masculinity. Another characteristic of the narrative is the presence of omens and prophetic dreams. It is disputed whether this reflects a fatalistic outlook on part of the author.

The saga dates to the late 13th century while the events described take place between 960 and 1020. The work is anonymous, although there has been extensive speculation on the author's identity. The major events described in the saga are probably historical but the material was shaped by the author, drawing on oral tradition, according to his artistic needs. Njáls saga is the longest and most highly developed of the sagas of Icelanders. It is often considered the peak of the saga tradition.[2]

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Tags: Icelandic, author, restrictive, ideal, masculinity, Story, Burnt, critical