The history of Icelandic literature dates all the way back to the founding of Iceland in the 9th century. During this time, many Nordic and Gaelic nations displayed their strengths through Viking raids in Europe, but the small nation of Iceland preferred to win their battles using their words and eventually writing those accomplishments down on paper. This adeptness with words gradually developed into rich literary traditions.
Explore Iceland’s rich and varied literary history through a free lecture with Guðmundur Andri Thorsson, acclaimed Icelandic author and literary critic, on May 20th. The lecture is to take place at the Scandinavia House in New York City and is sure to be worth your while.
When one thinks of Vikings, the nations of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden immediately come to mind. However, during this same time period, “Paper Vikings” became the norm in Iceland. The Scandinavia House writes, “Despite its geographical position and small population, Iceland produced some of the most remarkable literary treasures of the Middle Ages, in particular the sagas and Eddic poetry.”
Iceland’s literary culture continues to flourish; today one in ten people in Iceland will publish a book in their lifetime. Given the continued importance of Iceland’s literary heritage, Guðmundur Andri Thorsson will discuss how this history continues to inspire and influence contemporary authors–including himself. Icelandic writers must learn from their rich and unique history while reflecting on Iceland’s more recent social upheavals and economic boom and collapse.
Click here for more information on the lecture and Guðmundur Andri Thorsson.