Chaos and Love

The Philosophy of the Icelandic Family Sagas

Thomas Bredsdorff

Chaos and Love
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Thomas Bredsdorff

Distributed for Museum Tusculanum Press

Translated by John Tucker
156 pages | © 2001
Cloth $34.00 ISBN: 9788772895703 Published July 2001 NFS UK, IRELAND, AND SCANDINAVIA
The Icelandic Family Sagas, ? major medieval prose epics such as Egil's Saga, Laxdaela Saga, Njal's Saga, Hrafnkel's Saga,? present detailed sophisticated images of a society in which man acts and suffers the consequences of his actions ? or have them visited upon others. Feuds rage and disaster triumphs. Chaos and Love presents the reader with a number of such narratives, studies the notions of guilt and the causes embedded in them, and, as a result of the study, suggests that reckless erotic desire is often at the root of the evil. When love is practised within the boundaries set by family and tradition, peace prevails. When love is pursued as a means of individual satisfaction, regardless of the views of others, disaster prevails. The rules of society, notably the rules of feud, designed to balance competing forces, tend rather to aggravate the disasters, sometimes, as in Laxdaela and Njala, to the extent that only Christian divine grace can restore the peace.

1. The Second Pattern
    Thorolf's Saga
    Egil Skallagrimsson's Saga
    Laxdæla Saga
2. Forerunners
    Kormak's Saga, Bjorn's Saga, Eyrbyggja Saga
3. The Second Pattern: Between Two Societies
    Gisli Sursson's Saga
4. The Icelandic Myth
    Njal's Saga
5. Post-Classical Sagas
    Hrafnkel's Saga
    Grettir's Saga
6. The Second Pattern and the Time of the Saga of Icelanders
    The Times
    Histories and Two Historians
    The Conceptual Universe of the Icelandic Sagas
7. Books on the Sagas of Icelanders

Select Bibliography
Postscript to the English Edition
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