In the past few decades, interest in the rich and varied literature of early Scandinavia has prompted a great deal of interest in its background: its origins, social and historical context, and relationship to other medieval literatures. Until the 1980s, however, there was a distinct lack of scholarship in the area, so in 1985, Carol J. Clover and John Lindow brought together some of the most ambitious and distinguished Old Norse scholars to contribute essays for a collection that would finally fill the void of a comprehensive guide to the field. The contributors summarize and comment on scholarly work in the major branches of the field: eddic and skaldic poetry, family and kings' sagas, courtly writing, and mythology. Taken together, their judicious and well-written essays, each with a full bibliography, make up this vital survey of Old Norse literature in English - a basic reference work that has stimulated much research and helped to open up the field to a wider academic readership.
This volume has become an essential text for instructors, and twenty years later, is being republished as part of the Medieval Academy Reprints for Teaching (MART) series with a new preface that discusses more recent contributions to the field.
Carol J. Clover is a professor in the Department of Scandinavian and the Department of Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley. John Lindow is a professor in the Department of Scandinavian and the Folklore Program at the University of California, Berkeley.