The Conflict of Law and Justice in the Icelandic Sagas (Google eBook)

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Rodopi, Jan 1, 1995 - Law - 178 pages
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The world's longest lasting republic between ancient Rome and modern Switzerland, medieval Iceland (c. 870-1262) centered its national literature, the great family sagas, around the problem of can a republic survive and do justice to its inhabitants.The Conflict of Law and Justice in the Icelandic Sagas takes a semiotic approach to six of the major sagas which depict a nation of free men, abetted by formidable women, testing conflicting legal codes and principles - pagan v. Christian, vengeance v. compromise, monarchy v. republicanism, courts v. arbitration. The sagas emerge as a body of great literature embodying profound reflections on political and legal philosophy because they do not offer simple solutions, but demonstrate the tragic choices facing legal thinkers (Njal), warriors (Gunnar), outlaws (Grettir), women (Gudrun ofLaxdaela Saga), priests (Snorri of Eyrbyggja Saga), and the Icelandic community in its quest for stability and a good society. Guest forewords by Robert Ginsberg and Roberta Kevelson, set the book in the contexts of philosophy, semiotics, and Icelandic studies to which it contributes.
  

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Contents

Njals Saga
13
Grenirs Saga
35
Laxdaela Saga
53
Egils Saga
81
Bandamanna
99
Eyrbyggja Saga
109
On the Best Form of Government
125

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Page xix - The Sagas differ from all other "heroic" literatures in the larger proportion that they give to the meanness of reality.

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About the author (1995)

Bill Pencak is Professor of History at Penn State University. He has co-edited three books published by Penn State Press: with John Frantz, Beyond Philadelphia: The American Revolution in the Pennsylvania Hinterland (1998), with William Alan Blair, Making and Remaking Pennsylvania's Civil War (2001), and with Randall Miller, Pennsylvania: The History of the Commonwealth (2002).

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