Saga textOn this page are listed some of the more useful references available to the interested reader. Many more references were used to create the Norse history pages in this document. However, I've tried to list materials here that are useful for a general reader, rather than for a specialist. I've also tried to avoid listing materials which, although commonly quoted, fall short in scholarship or readability, in my opinion.

The books are listed by topic:

In addition, we are pleased to make available a one-page reading list for students and teachers.

History and General Coverage

There are a small number of readily available books that provide general coverage of the Viking era. Any one of these books would provide a casual reader with a good overview.

These general references, while still recommended, are harder to find, or less general in their coverage, or aimed more at specialists.

Military and Nautical History

Society and Culture

Language and Literature

Literature translations

Literature references

Language references

Religion and Mythology

The primary sources are short enough that one should go to them early in one's study. (In translation, I recommend Larrington's Poetic Edda and Faulkes' Snorra edda, cited above.) However, since the primary sources can be confusing, incomplete, and conflicting, a casual reader might want to begin with one of the summaries.

Books for Younger Readers

This first group includes books that are readily available. Suggested age and grade levels are approximate.

These books are highly recommended but are more difficult to obtain.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the best books of all for children interested in the old Norse stories: the children's editions published for Icelandic children. There are (to my knowledge) four in print: Jüri Arrak, et al: Sagan af Gretti Sterka, Mál og menning, 1995; Brynhildur Ţórarínsdóttír et al: Njála. Mál og menning, 2002; Brynhildur Ţórarínsdóttír et al: Egla. Mál og menning, 2004; Brynhildur Ţórarínsdóttír et al: Laxdćla. Mál og menning, 2006. With the help of an adult who either knows the stories or who can translate them, English speaking kids finds these picture books fascinating.


©1999-2024 William R. Short
Contact us at Hurstwic, LLC