Arnold, Martin Books
Dr. Martin Arnold is Senior Lecturer in English at the Scarborough Campus of the University of Hull. He completed his PhD on medieval Icelandic saga literature at the University of Leeds in 1996. Dr. Arnold has acted as co-editor of the journal Studies in Medievalism, and his publications include topics ranging from the Viking place-names of North Yorkshire to the representation of monstrosity in Old Northern literature.2003 0-7734-6804-8
This book aims to establish theoretical principles for analyzing the group of late 13th- and 14th- century Íslendingasögur (Icelandic family sagas) traditionally designated as post-classical. Two periods of Icelandic history are examined. First, the medieval period is examined in terms of the cultural background to the production of the Íslendingasögur. Secondly, the 19th and early 20th centuries are examined in terms of the development of medieval Icelandic studies and the rise of an Icelandic nationalist movement. Both periods are interpreted as times when the dominant ideological forces were characterized by a form of National Romanticism. The Íslendingasögur can thus be regarded as originally the product of an idealizing sensibility and as having been later evaluated according to scholarly principles which were also prone to idealise certain characteristics of this literary form. As a consequence, certain of the Íslendingasögur have been regarded as classical and therefore as high quality literature, whilst others have been regarded as post-classical and therefore as low quality literature. Once these idealizing forces have been acknowledged, it is possible to see that the post-classical Íslendingasögur are responding to a different set of social, political and, more broadly, cultural circumstances in which an ethnic Icelandic ideal is no longer a viable literary formulation.