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1 October 2013 Orkney: A Literary Motif in the Sagas?
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For anyone who deals with cultural and geographical connections between Scotland and the Nordic world, the Icelandic sagas will unavoidably be there as a point of reference for any statement on the early history of such connections. In the present contribution, a selection of saga texts is made in order to investigate if or to what extent Orkney, as a locality between Scotland, Iceland, and Norway, plays a particular literary role in these narratives, beyond that of being a mere point of geographical reference. How is Orkney represented, it is asked, and what literary purposes, if any, do references to these islands serve in saga literature? The results of the investigation indicate that the literary function of references to Orkney in the narratives studied surpasses that of a geographical outline of an itinerary. These references may also be seen as turning points, signalling the advent of a change in these narratives, thus giving reason to answer in the affirmative the question posed in the title of the present article.

Jan Ragnar Hagland "Orkney: A Literary Motif in the Sagas?," Journal of the North Atlantic 2013(sp4), 148-153, (1 October 2013).
Published: 1 October 2013

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