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Grettir's Saga (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 11 Jun 2009

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Grettir's Saga (Oxford World's Classics) + The Saga of the Volsungs: The Norse Epic of Sigurd the Dragon Slayer (Penguin Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (11 Jun. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019280152X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192801524
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 1.8 x 12.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 59,775 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Jesse Byock is a specialist in North Atlantic and Viking Studies, and director of the Mosfell Archaeological Project in Iceland. His previous translations from Old Norse include The Prose Edda (Penguin, 2005), Sagas and Myths of the Norsemen (Penguin, 2006), The Saga of the Volsungs (University of California Press 1990), and The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki (Penguin, 1998). He has also participated in documentaries on the Vikings for the BBC and the History Channel.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By L Slade on 6 Feb. 2012
Format: Paperback
I purchased this copy of this title because it is part of my study into medieval Iceland. Now I must start by saying that this is by far the best translation of Grettis Saga and provides a wonderful introduction and fantastic notes. If you are studying this book in translation then this is the one to get. Similarly Oxford simply know how to publish books for students or the interested.

My issue with this edition is that it is printed by Amazon. Usually the covers for these books have a matt finish but this one is quite glossy. Also the best and images on the cover are of a much lower quality than usual. Now again, this makes no difference to the text itself. I do, however, find it slightly disconcerting that there appears to be no information regarding this kind of printing and it doesn't exactly explain why. I assume Amazon and publishers are working together by printing book-on-demand so to speak. But it would have been nice if I was warned of this before hand.

The lack of information about this kind of printing makes me concerned and that is all I wished to raise, so that someone else looking will be aware that they may receive a (what looks to be a fake) from Amazon.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By LBJohn on 15 Feb. 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a splendid account of an "almost" hero, who alienates too many others with his juvenile delinquency and refusal to kow-tow to authority. My favourite section is that in which he fights the ghost of a dead shepherd - "a ghost of more than average malignity" - and pays for the adventure with his future. The incident gave rise to the saying "Glam's Eyes...".. I've always had a soft spot for Grettir, who is SO human, in comparison to some of the other great Icelanders!
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By Jim T on 18 Feb. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Really enjoyed it although a lot of names to remember! Was the first saga I have read and it has inspired me to read more.
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By shaunwolton on 28 April 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
very good
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
An excellent translation of an excellent saga 26 Dec. 2011
By Dallas Fawson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This translation of Grettir's saga (Grettir the strong) by Jesse Byock, is utterly astounding. I had high hopes for the translation, as Byock also translated the excellent Saga of the Volsungs (available from Penguin classics) and I was not disappointed. Byock captures the signature prose of the Icelandic sagas; terse, straightforward, violent, but oddly poetic in a stripped down sort of way.

Grettir's saga is perhaps the most famous of Iceland's "outlaw sagas," and for good reason; after being exiled, Grettir roams Iceland and Norway, ridding the land of all types of creatures, including trolls and zombies. However, within this brutal warrior we also see a human, almost touching side: Grettir is also a poet, and happens to be deathly afraid of the dark, a fear that develops to the point that he will not travel at night alone. Byock's translation captures the story in all of its violent, stripped down beauty. This story is further illuminated by maps, illustrations and explanatory notes.

While I can not directly compare this translation to that available from Penguin Classics (by Bernard Scudder) I can say that I have read sagas from both translators, and both are excellent. I have read Bernard Scudder's rendering of Egil's Saga, and it is everything one could wish for. I would imagine the two Grettir translations are equally excellent, and I am sure that the maps and notes are adequate in the Penguin version. The Oxford version which I am reviewing here is a few dollars more than the Penguin, but I believe it also has a better "feel" to it than the Penguin one, which seems to have flimsy binding which is not usually characteristic of Penguin.

Read and enjoy. If you are new to Icelandic Sagas I would recommend "The Saga of the Volsungs," but don't miss out on Grettir.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Great book, great edition 26 Dec. 2012
By A Student of Life - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My favorite book in my literature class! Well-written, definitely different from normal novel structure, but wonderful. The one book from college literature classes that I kept!
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Required for class 28 April 2013
By Brian Oxendine - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book was required for class; would not have picked it up otherwise. If you are into Icelandic sagas, this one is a little more action-oriented, though the genealogy descriptions are extensive.
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