THE ‘DECLINE OF REALISM’ AND INEFFICACIOUS OLD NORSE LITERARY GENRES AND SUB-GENRES
Abstract: In this article, the authors review the traditional division of the sagas of Icelanders into early, classical and post-classical sagas, discuss some of the foundational principles of this tripartite (or occasionally quinquepartite) categorisation and ask whether they can still be considered valid even though the categories are still in use. Furthermore, they ask whether this categorisation is always in line with the likely dating of individual sagas, discussing a few instances of supposedly post-classical sagas that may in fact be older than often assumed, and of classical sagas that may actually be younger than many ‘late’ sagas. Particular attention is paid to Finnboga saga has been regarded as one of the six youngest sagas but actually exists in an old manuscript. The authors examine some of the arguments for regarding it as a ‘young’ saga and argue that none of the characteristics by which Finnboga saga has been dated are unique to supposedly post-classical sagas.
Keywords: Icelandic sagas, genre, dating, realism, nationalism, textual criticism.
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