The Arthur of the North: The Arthurian Legend in the Norse and Rus’ Realms by Marianne E. Kalinke
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Overview: In The Arthur of the North, Marianne E. Kalinke offers the first book-length study of the Arthurian literature translated from French and Latin into Old Norse-Icelandic in the thirteenth century. Preserved mostly in Icelandic manuscripts, in early modern times these Scandinavian Arthurian legends inspired the composition of narrative poems and chapbooks in Denmark, Iceland, and Norway, chiefly of the Tristan legend. The importation of Arthurian literature in the North, primarily French romances and lais, is indebted largely to the efforts of King Hákon Hákonarson (r. 1217-63) of Norway, who commissioned the translation of Thomas de Bretagne’s Tristan in 1226, and subsequently several Arthurian romances by Chrétien de Troyes and a number of Breton lais. Kalinke shows the transmission of foreign courtly literature in the non-courtly culture of Iceland, and the changes taken on in narrative and style as the tales made their way north.
Genre: Non-Fiction > Educational