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'Why is your axe bloody?' : a reading of Njáls saga

Author: William Ian Miller
Publisher: Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2016.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
Njáls saga, the greatest of the Icelandic sagas, was written around 1280. It tells the story of a complex feud, that starts innocently enough in a tiff over seating arrangements at a local feast, and expands over the course of 20 years to engulf half the country, in which both sides are effectively exterminated. Njal and his family are burned to death in their farmhouse, the other faction picked off over the entire  Read more...
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Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: William Ian Miller
ISBN: 9780198768920 0198768923
OCLC Number: 951556874
Notes: Originally published: 2014.
Description: xxiii, 334 pages : maps ; 24 cm
Contents: Njála's Unity Problem and the Very Beginning: Chapter 1 --
Marriage Formation and Dissolution: Chapters 2-34 --
Case 1: Hrut and Unn --
Case 2: Hallgerd and Thorvald, with Cameos by Skarphedin and Thorhild, Grim and Astrid, and Helgi and Thorhalla --
Case 3: Hallgerd and Glum (chapters 13-17) --
Making a Scene: Chapters 34-5, 48 --
Thrain --
Seating Arrangements --
Wife-beating in Company --
Looking Forward: Njal's Prescience: Chapters 22-3 --
Disenchantment --
Das Monstrum and the Future Tense --
Prescient Coda --
Bergthora vs. Hallgerd, Part I. The Theory: Chapters 35-45 --
The Balanced-Exchange Model and its Contradictions --
Compensation and its Contradictions --
The Model's Simplifications --
Bergthora vs. Hallgerd, Part II: Some Facts --
Atli's Story (chapters 36-8) --
Njála and Independent People --
Thord Freedmansson (chapters 39-43) --
The Lethal Insults (chapters 44-5) --
Otkel vs. Gunnar: Chapters 46-56 --
The 'Theft' --
Gunnar's Lament --
Gunnar vs. the Thrihyrning People: Chapters 57-66 --
Njal as Banker and Lawyer --
Paying for Those You Have a Right to Kill --
The Two Thorgeirs and Death of Gunnar: Chapters 67-77 --
The Two Prongs of the 'Prophecy' --
Death of Gunnar --
Revenge for Gunnar: Chapters 77-81 --
Gunnar and Envy Mismanagement --
The Atlantic Interlude and Hrapp: Chapters 82-9 --
Setting up Thrain: Chapters 90-2 --
Dining with Runolf --
A Tale of Two Hoskulds: Chapters 93-9 --
Amending the Constitution --
Lyting and the Breach of Father and Sons --
Conversion and the Genius of the Law: Chapters 100-6 --
Concerning Signs and Wonders --
'St.' Thorgeirthe Lawspeaker --
Before and After Conversion: Compare and Contrast --
Valgard 'the Wise' and Hoskuld's Blood: Chapters 107-16 --
Hoskuld Martyr --
The Cloak and Holy Relics --
Skarphedin Ascendans, Flosi's Ninth Nights: Chapters 117-23 --
Reintroducing Skarphedin --
Backing Down Thorkel Hake --
The Struggle for Settlement --
Flosi Furioso --
The Burning: Chapters 124-32 --
The Decision to Go Inside --
Njal's Virtuoso Going to Bed for the Last Time --
Skarphedin's Miracle --
Flosi's Flinch --
Thorhall Asgrimsson Hears of Njal's Death --
Cleaning Up Some Leftovers --
Coda: Exit Skarphedin and his Grins, Obit Njal --
Preparation for the Next Althing: Chapters 132-7 --
Flosi and Support-mustering --
Flosi Visits Asgrim, Chapter 136 --
The Trial of Flosi and the Battle: Chapters 135, 141-5 --
Law and its Limits --
Some Procedural Matters, Chapters 135, 142 --
Three Lawmen --
Kari and Friends: Chapters 145-55 --
Kari and Thorgeir --
Bjorn of Morkand Kari --
Kari vs. Gunnar --
Flosi and Kan --
Kari and the Author --
How Not to End a Saga, Unless...: Chapters 146-59 --
A Conclusion: Justice and Exits.
Responsibility: William Ian Miller.

Abstract:

A reader's guide and a companion to this complex and great saga, a classic of world literature, comparable to the greatest in any language. 'Why is your axe bloody?' provides what, in effect, is a  Read more...

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I cannot imagine an academic text which I would have had as much pleasure quarrelling with as assenting to, nor an author more able than Miller to enlighten, surprise, and delight expert and lay Read more...

 
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