Description

    Icelandic Voyages with Jonsson's Greenland Saga, Containing an Account of One of the Earliest Voyages to America

    [Icelandic Sagas]. Saga Landnama.... Skalholte, Iceland: Hendrick Kruse, 1688. [10], 182, [20] pages, lacking leaves 1R1, 1R3, and 1S1. Woodcut title page printed in red and black. Woodcut border showing the Isle of Thule surrounded by five ships and a sea god, full-page woodcut of an armored knight. [bound with:] Ari Thorgilsson. Scheda Ara Prestz Froda Um Island. Skalholte. 1688. [10], 14, [2], 26, [2] pages. Title-page within woodcut border (defective with loss to lower border and imprint). Full-page woodcut insignia, woodcut capitals. [bound with:] Arngrimur Jonsson. Gronlandia Edur Graenlandz Saga Ur Islendskum Sagna Bookum... Skalholte. 1688. [2], 41, [5] pages, lacking leaf 3A1. Text of titlepage within woodcut border, full-page woodcut of Eric the Red in armor, full-page woodcut of a walrus, woodcut initials and headpieces. All titles approximately 7 x 5.5 inches. Small quarto. Contemporary tooled leather over wooden boards, rebacked in modern morocco, raised bands. Several leaves with significant paper restoration, usually along margins, affecting woodcut borders and printed marginal notes, a few letters or at times several words. All pages mounted. Else a generally good copy of this rare work.

    A rare account of the earliest Icelandic settlements. Of chief interest in this volume is the third work, Jonsson's Greenland Saga, which provides an important early published account of this pre-Columbian voyage to North America. "Not until the late seventeenth century did a revival of interest in the saga literature lead to the publication of many of them by Danish and Icelandic scholars. [Jonsson's] version of the Greenland Saga, illustrated with a woodcut of Eric the Red in armor very inappropriate to his era, was published by one of the two presses flourishing in Iceland at the time" (Reese & Miles). The remaining portions of the book are not without interest. The "Landnamabok" (translation: "Book of Settlement"), which records tales of early Norse voyages carried down by oral tradition from around the year 1000, incorporates additional material from later Icelandic historical works. The book includes information on the chief colonists, their origins, and the locations of settlements in the new country. The other work is attributed to Thorgilsson (1067-1148), who is credited with founding the famous historical school of Iceland, and for organizing the fragmentary oral tradition that was dying out in his time. This is considered "one of the two primary sources for early Icelandic history" (The Spread of Printing).

    A rare and important account of Icelandic settlement, recording a wealth of details concerning the early settlers, including the famous Greenland saga. Not in the NUC. Five copies are located in the United States, at Cornell (two copies), Harvard, the Library of Congress, and Yale (Jonsson).

    The Spread Of Printing; Iceland, pages 25-27. Reese & Miles, Creating America 1. Miles & Reese, America Pictured To The Life, 31.


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    Auction Dates
    April, 2012
    11th-12th Wednesday-Thursday
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