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Vol 23 No 3 March/April 2018

Book of the Month

Cover of Scamell and Gasztowicz on Land Covenants

Scamell and Gasztowicz on Land Covenants

Price: £225.00

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'Why is Your Axe Bloody?': A Reading of Njals Saga

ISBN13: 9780198704843
Published: July 2014
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £64.00

Despatched in 5 to 7 days.

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 are effectively 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 unless it 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.

Legal History
Njala's Unity Problem and the Very Beginning
Marriage Formation and Dissolution
Making a Scene
Looking Forward: Njal's Prescience
Bergthora vs. Hallgerd, Part I, the theory
Bergthora vs. Hallgerd, Part II, some facts
Otkel vs. Gunnar
Gunnar vs. the Thrihyrning people
The Two Thorgeirs and Death of Gunnar
Revenge for Gunnar
The Atlantic Interlude and Hrapp
Setting up Thrain
A Tale of Two Hoskulds
Conversion and the Genius of the Law
Valgard the Wise and Hoskuld's Blood
Skarphedin Ascendans, Flosi's Ninth Nights
The Burning
Preparation for the next Althing
The Trial of Flosi and the Battle
Kari and Friends
How Not To End a Saga Unless
A Conclusion: Justice and Exits
Works Cited