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Title: The lost literature of medieval Iceland : sagas of Icelanders
Author: Jesch, Judith
ISNI:       0000 0004 2742 4698
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 1984
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This is a literary-historical investigation of the evidence for lost Sagas of Icelanders which it has been assumed once existed but no longer are preserved in manuscript form. The aim is a critical reevaluation and systematization of these hitherto haphazard assumptions. A brief introductory chapter discusses and defines the terms 'lost literature' and 'medieval Iceland' and restricts the study to written literature and to one genre in particular, the Sagas of Icelanders. The process by which literature is lost is also considered. A long chapter on methodology describes the general principles involved in a literary-historical search for lost sagas, as they have evolved in the course of the investigation. The types of evidence for lost sagas are discussed in detail, with cross-references to the following chapter, under the categories: 'Citations', 'Lost sagas as sources of Landnamab6k', 'Lost sagas as sources of existing sagas' and 'Lost sagas as sources of rfmur'. The evidence is constantly considered in the context of medieval Icelandic literature as a whole. The next chapter contains, in catalogue form, individual detailed analyses of seventeen instances where lost sagas have been posited, using the methodology described in the previous chapter and including further evidence which may have been too specific to be mentioned there. Further, a number of cases where the evidence seems to indicate a lost saga, but where no lost saga has ever previously been suggested, are discussed. The conclusion condenses the results of the two preceding chapters and distinguishes between those lost sagas for which there is convincing evidence of their erstwhile existence and those for which there is not (the two categories being roughly equal). Some tentative conclusions are drawn about the consequences a knowledge of lost literature may have for our total picture of saga literature, in terms of the distribution of sub-types of the genre and of the use of sources.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available