(Note: This module explores these texts in English, so no experience in Old Norse is necessary.)
Somewhere between the historical and the fantastic are the traditions of heroic legend, telling of extraordinary men and women whose triumphs and tragedies are writ larger than those of everyday life. In medieval Scandinavia, sagas of heroic legend such as The Saga of the Volsungs, The Saga of Ragnar Lothbrok, The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki, and The Saga of Hervor and King Heidrek retold already ancient stories in the new prose styles of the Middle Ages. Bravery and knavery; loyalty and treachery; magic and the mundane, horror and hope; these tales’ themes have enthralled audiences for more than a thousand years and played an outsized role in the birth of modern fantasy literature.
• Crawford, Jackson, trans. The Saga of the Volsungs: With the Saga of Ragnar Lothbrok . Hackett Classics. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 2017.
• Crawford, Jackson, trans. Two Sagas of Mythical Heroes: Hervor and Heidrek and Hrólf Kraki and His Champions . Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 2021.
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