Voyages to Vinland - The First American Saga Newly Translated and Interpreted
ISBN: 1406774995
EAN13: 9781406774993
Language: English
Pages: 208
Weight: 1.00 lbs.
Format: Paperback

Voyages to Vinland - The First American Saga Newly Translated and Interpreted

Book Overview
VOYAGES TO VINLAND The first American saga VOYAGTTS TO VINLAND The first American saga newly translated and interpreted by EINAR HAUGEN Thompson Professor of Scandinavian Languages University of Wisconsin Illustrated by FREDERICK TRENCH CHAPMAN ALFRED A. KNOPF 1942 NEW YORK TO THE BRAVE NORSEMEN OF OUR DAY WHO SAIL THE COURSE OF LEIF AND ERIC FOR THE FREEDOM OF THEIR NATIVE SOIL FOREWORD The American public has too long been led to believe, in the words of one obscure writer, that the Norse claim to American discovery and exploration rests entirely upon tradition, poetic legends, and some slight circumstantial evidence This view has been encouraged by the fact that most of the books which have been available to the general public on this subject are uncritical and wildly specu lative. They use the known facts as springboards for imaginative flights and produce a justified reaction of skepticism in many of their readers. Those tomes, on the other hand, which present the facts solidly and without exaggeration are usually too learned or inaccessible for general reading. Through the agitation of various writ ers and Scandinavian groups in this country, a consider able interest has been awakened in the subject. But one is hard put to it when the request comes for further infor mation. There is genuine need for a book that will pre sent in readable form the text of the sagas dealing with the Norse discoveries, and sift out from the enormous schol arship of the subject those facts that seem well-established and give them a proper setting. It is hoped that this need may in some degree be met by the present book, which was made possible by a group of book-lovers and book makers in Chicago banded together under the name of Holiday Press. The reader should be triply warned before entering upon the Saga of Finland. vi Foreword First of all this translation is a new one, made directly from the original manuscripts of the thirteenth and four teenth centuries as reproduced by A. M. Reeves. It was made for the members of the Holiday Press with the inten tion of rendering the old sagas as vividly and understand ably as possible to modern readers. Samuel Laings trans lation of a century ago, which appears in the Everymans Library, is antiquated Reeves translation of 1890 is stiff and unreadable G. Gathorne-Hardys of 1924 is readable, but distinctly British in idiom, besides being the property of the Oxford Press. A new translation could be justified only by the need for bringing before the American public a clear, concise, readable version in the modern American idiom. This saga is the earliest document of American history, and if for no other reason, it deserves an Ameri can version. But if it is done into modern American, one may ask, are we not violating the spirit of the medieval documents This might be true, if they had been a part of the romantic tradition of the Middle Ages. But the family sagas of Ice land are deeply rooted in the realism of everyday life. They are plain, unadorned tales told by simple folk con cerning authentic events in the lives of their own ances tors. Their style is straightforward and unvarnished, for they were spoken before they were written. Many trans lators have outrageously violated their spirit by turning them into romantic, medieval English, as if they were tales of King Arthur and his noble knights. The sagas come from another and humbler sphere they are the stories of sailors and adventurers, merchants and farmers, shepherds and fishermen, told with the humor and the simplicity of the common man. We who live today can best enter into their world if they are allowed to speak to us in the simple, direct accents of our own day. The trans Foreword vii later has not sought to vulgarize them by making them slangy or jocular, but has used modern and colloquial idioms wherever these seemed to render the spirit of the original...