Why is your axe bloody?: A Reading of Njals Saga

Hardcover | August 17, 2014

byWilliam Ian Miller

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Njals saga, the greatest of the sagas of the Icelanders, was written around 1280. It tells the story of a complex feud, that starts innocently enough in a tiff over seating arrangement at a local feast, and expands over the course of 20 years to engulf half the country, in which both sides areeffectively exterminated, Njal and his family burned to death in their farmhouse, the other faction picked off over the entire course of the feud. Law and feud feature centrally in the saga, Njal, its hero, being the greatest lawyer of his generation. No reading of the saga can do it justice unlessit takes its law, its feuding strategies, as well as the author's stunning manipulation and saga conventions. In 'Why is your axe bloody' W.I. Miller offers a lively, entertaining, and completely original personal reading of this lengthy saga.

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Njals saga, the greatest of the sagas of the Icelanders, was written around 1280. It tells the story of a complex feud, that starts innocently enough in a tiff over seating arrangement at a local feast, and expands over the course of 20 years to engulf half the country, in which both sides areeffectively exterminated, Njal and his fami...

William Ian Miller is the Thomas G. Long Professor of Law at the University of Michigan. He has written extensively on the bloodfeud, especially as it is manifested in saga Iceland. Previous works include Bloodtaking and Peacemaking (1990), Eye for an Eye (2006), Audun and the Polar Bear (2008). He has also written about emotions, most...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:352 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.98 inPublished:August 17, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198704844

ISBN - 13:9780198704843

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Table of Contents

Heather O'Donoghue: ForewordPrefaceIntroductionNjala's Unity Problem and the Very BeginningMarriage Formation and DissolutionMaking a SceneLooking Forward: Njal's PrescienceBergthora vs. Hallgerd, Part I, the theoryBergthora vs. Hallgerd, Part II, some factsOtkel vs. GunnarGunnar vs. the Thrihyrning peopleThe Two Thorgeirs and Death of GunnarRevenge for GunnarThe Atlantic Interlude and HrappSetting up ThrainA Tale of Two HoskuldsConversion and the Genius of the LawValgard the Wise and Hoskuld's BloodSkarphedin Ascendans, Flosi's Ninth NightsThe BurningPreparation for the next AlthingThe Trial of Flosi and the BattleKari and FriendsHow Not To End a Saga UnlessA Conclusion: Justice and ExitsWorks Cited