The Icelandic Sagas (Complete Two Volume Set). Magnus Magnusson.

The Icelandic Sagas (Complete Two Volume Set)

London: The Folio Society, 1999 (Vol. 1); 2002 (Vol. 2). Simon Noyes (illustrations - vol. 1); John Vernon Lord (illustrations - vol. 2). Vol 1. - First Folio Society Edition, Second Printing; Vol. 2 - First Folio Society Edition. Hardcover. Rare. Please note additional handling charge for this heavy item. Condition description applies to both volumes unless otherwise noted: Used - Fine. Illustrated cloth with leather spine, gilt lettering. Dark blue top edge stain. Very light foxing to fore edge and bottom edge. Corners sharp. Binding tight and square. Tail of spine for volume 2 has a bit of wear. Illustrated in full color. 17.5 x 25 x 5 cm. 809 pp. (Vol. 1). 759 pp. (Vol. 2) / No dust jackets (as issued). Slipcases are in very good condition. Tight and intact. Slipcase for volume 1 has some light wear and tear on broad side. Item #10109

From our Instragram post on this collection, dated 13 April 2019:

On the heels of our recent post featuring a vintage collection of Icelandic short stories, we give you this: a vintage Folio Society two-volume set of The Icelandic Sagas, edited by the great Magnus Magnusson. Each volume is illustrated in color, volume one by Simon Noyes, volume two by John Vernon Lord.

There is, we’re sure, a lot that one can say or write about this collection but sadly we don’t feel qualified to do that. Yes, we know what you’re thinking -- ‘well, it hasn’t stopped you guys before!’ -- and that might be true but this time it’s a bit different. Maybe it’s because we’re dealing with ‘sagas’. Or because if we mess this up our bookshop will be forever haunted by the ghosts of Iceland past (see portrait of scary looking dead king on front board of vol. 1).

Instead, we will give everyone a very dry but we think useful overview of the contents of the two volumes circa their respective introductions by Mr Magnusson.

Volume One we are told ‘contains three of the ‘Big Five’’ sagas: Egil’s Saga, Eyrbyggia Saga, ‘and the greatest of them all, Njal’s Saga’, all of which were written in the 1200s. There’s also ‘Gunnlaug’s Saga, one of the many ‘Sagas of Poets’ … about two poets in love with the same woman, a romantic love-triangle which ends in violence and death for them both.’

Volume Two completes the ‘big five’ of the Icelandic sagas with Laxdæla saga (another love triangle tragedy) and Grettir’s Saga (‘a long and profound exploration of the soul of a remarkable and memorable outlaw’).

More sagas and short stories abound in each volume which we won’t describe here for fear of upsetting the impending character limit. But you get the idea. If you like Icelandic literature, or just good old fashioned yarns full of sex and violence, then this is the collection for you!


See all items by