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‘Why is your axe bloody?’ – A Reading of Njàls Saga - Oxford Scholarship Online
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‘Why is your axe bloody?’: A Reading of Njàls Saga

William Ian Miller


Njáls saga is acknowledged as the greatest of the Icelandic sagas, and it rightly deserves acclaim as one of the great masterpieces of all time. The author’s reading reveals not only the saga’s sublime artistry, but also its pragmatic and tough-minded analysis of the complex tactics and strategies that inform feud and law. Unforgettable fully-rounded characters abound—their motives, their inner lives subtly revealed by a narrator who describes motive and psychology in a way that mirrors how we understand them in our own lives: not by magical access into a person’s head, but by close observatio ... More

Keywords: Njáls saga, sagas, Icelandic, feud, law, politics, economics

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2014 Print ISBN-13: 9780198704843
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198704843.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

William Ian Miller, author
Thomas G. Long Professor of Law, University of Michigan

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