by Bodwyn Wook
IF, Like myself, you have need to suppress from time-to-time in your eleemosynary quotidian round the urgent felt impulse to let someone have it who really has it coming, with an axe, then the following links are for you; and, they are the more so if, in addition to your fine abstract sense of ivstvs, you should happen also to have an abiding interest in the Old Atlantic world of our northern forebears:
THIS Is a version in post-modern Icelandic of the story of Njall the law-giver and what happened to him. Mainly, his troubles stemmed from an excess of neighbourhood-feeling, oh, a thousand years ago. My 87-years’ old farm-neighbour here to-day, in southern Minnesota on the North Coast of “Ioway,” is Mr Judson Andersen. He is a Dane through his father, and when I got him just last Winter to read Magnusson’s translation into late-modern English, of the story of Burnt Njall, afterward Judson said to me:
“Jesus Christ! This has GOT TO be one of the most hair-raising stories that I have ever read — the sonofabitch got his fool self burned alive by the ungrateful God-damned cock-knockers that he helped by being TOO GOOD a lawyer! How the Hell does THAT add up? Most of the dirty bastards SHOULD cook in Hell — but for the OTHER reason! These God-damned oldtime Vikings were some pretty fierce customers, at least until the God-damned bleeding-heart CHURCH got its hands in their wallets, that’s all I can tell you!”
SO, Just imagine for yourselves the effect of learning to read the tale in Icelandic & Old Norse….
HEREWITH Follow some other on-line resources, with brief descriptions of contents following:
THE Highlighted titles appear in post-modern Icelandic.
HERE Are many mediaeval texts from across Europe and the nearer East, all translated, alas!
THESE Canadian academics keep alive the spirit with these Old English lessons.
THIS Is a source of Old English resources.
THIS Link is the jewel in the crown! Learn Old Norse on-line with a load of helpful people who actually know their stuff!
THIS Is a Sweden-based ‘omniglot’ site that deals both with languages of the world — and, their writing-systems!
WRETCHEDLY, These are all in a variety of modern Englishes; but, you can get an initial idea, anyhow, of the range of saga-literature.
Good old effing ‘Wikipediar’! This site is linked all the way to Hel and back; and, the really nice thing is that many sagas appear in full in post-modern Icelandic — a step in the right direction, at any rate!
ANYWAY You cut it, it now is the first of June in this, our Northern World; and, as my Swedish grandfather often started in to say at about this time of year:
“Ya, by God…pretty soon the snow will fly, now.”
And since, in those good old long-ago days of the 1950s before Mr Gore and ‘global warming’, it used to snow “to beat Hell” in these parts in October as often as not (just four months’ away, mind), the foregoing should help you get started on planning your hibernation-reading by the wood-stove down in the Fall, now. There is no such thing as stashing away a large supply of these good & useful things ‘too early’.
[Emmett R Smith all rights reserved 26 May 2007]