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MORRIS, William, & Eiríkr Magnússon (trans.)

The Saga Library.

Done into English out of the Icelandic.

London, Bernard Quaritch, 1891-1905 Stock Code: 139302

Morris's Icelandic Sagas, scarce complete

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First editions, first impressions, scarce found as the complete set, and more usually in sorry state. The culmination of Morris's interest in the medieval literature of Iceland, the Saga Library was translated and edited by Morris together with his friend and scholar Eiríkr Magnússon (1833-1913) and sought to make the material more accessible to an English-speaking public. Morris's passion for the sagas was strong enough to bring the author to Iceland, to travel by pony across rough often uninhabited terrain. "Morris travelled very little outside Britain. His two voyages to Iceland, in 1871 and 1873, must rank with his undergraduate tour of the Gothic cathedrals of France as the most influential journeys of his life" (ODNB). The first volume collects three shorter tales: Howard the Halt, The Banded Men, and Hen Thorir, the second volume relates the Eyrbyggja saga ("The Story of the Ere-Dwellers"), and the remaining four volumes are taken up by the Heimskringla cycle of Snorri Sturluson. The tales are predominantly pre-Christian in origin, and exhibit the intermixture of ancient mythology with factual history.

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6 volumes, octavo. Original dark green morocco-grained quarter calf, green cloth sides, titles and decorations to spines and front boards gilt, top edges gilt, others untrimmed.


14 folding genealogical charts at rear of vol. 6, one large folding map in end-pocket of vol. 3.


Spines somewhat sunned (mostly to vol. 1), some scuffs to extremities, a few trivial marks to cloth, chip to head of vol. 4 with crude backing repair, all sound and clean within, very good condition overall. Early ownership stamps to front pastedowns showing acquisition in 1908 for the private library of C. O. Heggem of Massillon, Ohio.


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