30 Sagas in 30 Days on Twitter

30 Sagas in 30 Days on Twitter

Many people might know about Njal’s Saga and Egil’s Saga, but the literary production from Iceland was quite diverse. This month, a scholar is using Twitter to tell the stories of thirty lesser known tales written by Icelanders.

Dr. Sheryl McDonald Werronen launched her #riddarasaga project on Twitter on September 1st, with each day tweeting the story of a saga from the chilvaric/romance genre of Icelandic sagas. By the end of the month she will have tweeted about 30 different stories that were written in late medieval Iceland.

Good Monday morning! It’s Day 21 of ’30 Icelandic Romances in 30 Days’! Today I’m tweeting Sálus saga ok Nikanors #SalusNikanor #riddarasaga

— Sheryl M. W. (@SMcDWer) September 21, 2015

During the feast Sálus+Nikanor get into a boasting contest: both are famous knights & they want to say who’s best #SalusNikanor #riddarasaga

— Sheryl M. (@SMcDWer) September 21, 2015

McDonald Werronen explains that despite being at the far corner of the medieval European world, these writers produced “a great number of stories about knights and ladies, quests for brides and fame, magical objects and supernatural beings, with settings stretching from England and France to Syria and India – all of which are original Icelandic compositions from the 14th and 15th centuries.”

She notes notes that while some scholars such as Alaric Hall, who supervised her PhD at the University of Leeds, have been working on translating Icelandic romances, these stories are still not widely known. “So I thought tweeting the romances would be a good way to quickly introduce lots more people to them and raise awareness of the genre, which has been neglected until quite recently by scholars of Old Norse literature,” McDonald Werronen adds.

These include works such as Nítíða saga, a 14th century tale about a ‘maiden-king’ who rules France while having to fend off male suitors from far off lands like India.

Saga starts with Nitida travelling to Visio, a northern island paradise/pleasance & home of magical objects #Nitida_saga #riddarasaga

— Sheryl M. (@SMcDWer) September 5, 2015

Nitida takes a set of magic stones (náttúrusteinar) in which she can see over all the earth. Will be handy later! #Nitida_saga #riddarasaga

— Sheryl M. (@SMcDWer) September 5, 2015

This text is great because it is not a straightforward ‘male-protagonist-adventures-and-gets-wife’ narrative #Nitida_saga #riddarasaga

— Sheryl M. (@SMcDWer) September 5, 2015

You can also read her full edition and translation of Nítíða saga here.

McDonald Werronen explains, “I think they are just really fun, fascinating stories, full of adventure. But a lot of them also demonstrate that their authors were really learned, with access to a wide range of European texts, not just other European romances but encyclopedic literature as well. It shows that Iceland, though geographically isolated, was not culturally isolated. Geraldine Barnes has a really good discussion of this in her recent book The Bookish Riddarasögur: Writing Romance in Late Mediaeval Iceland (University Press of Southern Denmark, 2014), but there’s still so much more work that can be done on these texts.”

You can follow Sheryl McDonald Werronen on Twitter @SMcDWer

Watch the video: The TommyInnit and KSI Twitter Saga ft. Ph1LzA (January 2022).