The Icelandic genre known as the Family Sagas, Sagas of Icelanders, or Sagas about early Icelanders consists of anonymous works, and the genre, as well as the individual sagas, are therefore difficult to date. This literature is also difficult to date since sagas are stories that were transformed both during oral and scribal transmission. The authors of the present book address methodological problems and discuss the dating of individual sagas and the genre itself. Focusing their attention on an important period in the history of Icelandic literature, the authors are particularly concerned with the several new written genres which developed in Iceland in the thirteenth century, of which the Sagas about early Icelanders is regarded as the most important. The articles gathered in this volume show that the dating of the beginning of this written genre and of individual sagas belonging to it is crucial to the understanding of the development of literary history in thirteenth-century Iceland.
Else Mundal is professor of Old Norse Philology at the Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Bergen. She has published widely on Old Norse saga literature, Eddic and skaldic poetry, on Old Norse mythology, women in Old Norse society, as well as on the relationship between the oral and the written literature and the impact of Christianization on the Old Norse culture.