First edition in English of the Njals Saga, one of the most popular tales of medieval Iceland.
THE STORY OF BURNT NJAL
"[Thorhall's] face was as though it were all blood, but great teardrops gushed out of his eyes. He bade them bring him his spear, that had been a gift to him from Skarphedinn, and it was the greatest treasure."
Composed in the thirteenth century, the NJÁLS SAGA contains stories of honor and blood feuds from over half a century, a tragic narrative underlying the Icelandic Commonwealth, the state founded by Norwegian settlers during the Viking Age. While the historical details have been disputed, the saga itself has remained a symbol of the times and spirit of the era. Translator George Webbe Dasent was a folklorist whose work influenced J.R.R. Tolkien: "Tolkien identified Dasent's fairy tale SORIA MORIA CASTLE as the source of the name Moria" (Gilliver et al.). Dasent translated a number of great works from the Old North, including the PROSE EDDA and EAST OF THE SUN, WEST OF THE MOON. An exceptionally bright copy in pictorial gilt cloth.
Read more: Gilliver, Marshall, & Weiner, The Ring of Words: Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary.
Edinburgh: Edmonston and Douglas, 1861. Two octavo volumes, 8'' x 5.75''. Original dark green cloth with elaborate gilt pictorial design of Viking weapons and proverbs stamped to front boards, spine lettered and ruled in gilt. Grey endpapers, partially unopened. Two-hundred page historical introduction in first volume; three folding maps and six plates (one double page); index at rear of second volume. cciv, 256; xiv, 507,  pages. Engraved bookplates on front pastedowns. Foxing to some plates, light bumping to cloth, with a nick to front joint of volume two.
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