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Literary Criticism Scandinavian

The Saints in Old Norse and Early Modern Icelandic Poetry

by (author) Kirsten Wolf & Natalie M. van Deusen

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Jan 2017
Scandinavian, General, Medieval
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2017
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    Publish Date
    Jan 2017
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The Saints in Old Norse and Early Modern Icelandic Poetry is a complimentary volume to The Legends of the Saints in Old Norse–Icelandic Prose (UTP 2013). While its predecessor dealt primarily with medieval prose texts about the saints, this volume not only focuses on medieval poems about saints but also on Icelandic devotional poetry created during the early modern period. The handlist organizes saints' names, manuscripts, and editions of individual poems with references to approximate dates of the manuscripts, as well as modern Icelandic editions and translations. Each entry concludes with secondary literature about the poem in question. These features combine to make The Saints in Old Norse and Early Modern Icelandic Poetry an invaluable resource for scholars and students in the field.

About the authors

Kirsten Wolf is a former chair of the Icelandic Department at the University of Manitoba. She has edited Gyndinga Saga, Saga heilagrar ‘nnu, and Dorotheu saga, has been involved in Medieval Scandinavia: En Encyclopedia, and is co-translator and co-editor of an earlier anthology, Western Icelandic Short Stories.

Kirsten Wolf's profile page

Natalie Van Deusen is Assistant Professor and Henry Cabot and Linnea Lodge Professor of Scandinavian Studies in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta.

Natalie M. van Deusen's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Although some of the poems are not great literature, all are of interest to the scholar. The number of manuscripts indicates their popularity, and it should not be forgotten that poems of this kind were also orally transmitted. They express the ideology and emotions of their poets and their audiences."


The Saints in Old Norse and Early Modern Icelandic Poetry is the first handbook of its kind and therefore extremely welcome, useful, and inspiring. Students and scholars are going to discover unedited material waiting to be researched and published. Hopefully, we shall see more editions, various studies on poetry and saints and, not least, on the manuscript and literary culture in early modern Iceland.

Journal of English and Germanic Philology, vol 117:01:2018

Other titles by Kirsten Wolf