The Vinland Sagas and The Book of John Mandeville:
In what ways does the Author shape the historical past?
The Vinland Sagas is published here in a vibrant new translation. Consisting of The Saga of the Greenlanders and Eirik the Red's Saga, they chronicle the adventures of Eirik the Red and his child, Leif Eirikchild, who discovered North America 500 years before Columbus. (Adams 110) Famous for being the first-ever descriptions of North America, and written down in the early thirteenth years, they recount the Icelandic town of Greenland by Eirik the Red, the chance discovery by seafaring adventurers of a secret new land, and Eirik's son Leif the Lucky's perilous voyages to discover it. While, the book John Mandeville first appeared about the middle of the 14th century, supposedly by English knight Mandeville recounting his travels from Constantinople to China. Modern scholars have paid little vigilance to it since the 19th century when it became conspicuous that it was wrong, largely scrounged from other works, and initially in writing French. But throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance it was very influential both in publications and in geography. The text of a 1366 manuscript is offered with footnote glosses. The end matter includes textual and explanatory notes, a consolidated glossary, a register of causes for diverse passages, and an index/glossary of correct names. (Adams 110)
Nearly five hundred years before Christopher Columbus set forth across the Atlantic, Norse persons colonized Iceland and then Greenland. According to the two works encompassed here, the Graenlendiga Saga and Eirik's Saga, they went farther, and resolved, if briefly, a territory called Vinland that lay after Greenland. (Higgins 100) This can only have been North America, but for centuries doubt was poured on the Norse achievement, and the sagas dismissed as legends. Archaeology has now verified that the Norse did resolve in North America, but the position of Vinland verifies elusive. This is partially due to contradictions in the sagas, both of which are works of publications, not history. And the translators here, Magnus Magnusson and Hermann Palsson, had arrive to accept as true that Vinland as recounted in the sagas was in any case a fabulous literary construct. (Higgins 100)
The two sagas are both short and effortlessly read. Vinland occupies a little part of the anecdotes, which are as much about the town of Greenland and the family of Eirik the Red as about the breakthrough of Vinland. Abook reader utilised to more plot propelled works may find both sagas annoyingly episodic. But this is the scholarly form of the sagas, and the introduction provides an engaging direct to the Vinland question as it stood in the mid-1960s, when this translation was first published. In a 2003 postscript tribute is paid to the late Hermann Palsson by his collaborator Magnusson, who himself past away earlier this year. (Higgins 100)
Discussion and Analysis
Vinland is the title of the legendary location recounted in the Viking sagas that was said to have been founded by Leif Ericson on the North American ...