Skip to main content

Distributed for University of Wales Press

Stories Set Forth With Fair Words

The Evolution of Medieval Romance in Iceland

This book details the foundation and evolution of the romance genre in Iceland, tracing it from the introduction of French narratives and showing how they were acculturated into indigenous literary traditions. Marianne E. Kalinke focuses in particular on the oldest Icelandic copies of three chansons de geste and four of the earliest indigenous literary traditions, all found in an Icelandic codex from around 1300. She breaks considerable new ground in tracing the impact of the translated epic poems, which have largely been neglected by scholars in favor of the courtly romances.

240 pages | 9 1/2 x 6 1/2

Literature and Literary Criticism: British and Irish Literature

Medieval Studies

University of Wales Press image

View all books from University of Wales Press


“This large-scale consideration of the foreign and native influences on the evolution and development of medieval Icelandic romance marks a stimulating new turn in riddarasögur scholarship which will be of significant interest to medievalists outside the field of Old Norse as well as to Scandinavian specialists.”

Geraldine Barnes, University of Sydney

“In this new and definitive history of romance in medieval Iceland, Kalinke shows how, from the first translations from French into Norwegian through to the popular and inventive late romances composed in Iceland, the north embraced the new genre. Kalinke’s achievement is to persuade us that the Icelandic romances bear comparison not only with the great family sagas but also with romance texts from elsewhere in medieval Europe.”

Carolyne Larrington, University of Oxford

“Kalinke’s close readings, following the development from French originals, of Norwegian translations and Icelandic rewritings to the indigenous riddarasögur, as well as her comparisons of variants of the same text, provide us with a much clearer picture than we have had before of the evolution of medieval romance in Iceland.”

Else Mundal, University of Bergen

Stories Set Forth With Fair Words is a brilliant, elegantly written book that contains deep analyses of the most widely transmitted and popular group of the Old Norse and Icelandic saga-literature. Such important issues as gender, senses, emotions, desire are treated in excellent close readings of representative sagas, as are the rewriting, variance, and long-time transmission of these texts from the late thirteenth to the seventeenth centuries.”

Jürg Glauser, University of Zürich

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press