Einar Benediktsson

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Einar Benediktsson statue at the Höfði house in Reykjavik, Iceland

Einar Benediktsson, often referred to as 'Einar Ben' (October 31, 1864 – January 12, 1940),[1] was an Icelandic poet and lawyer.

Einar Benediktsson's poetry was a significant contribution to the nationalistic revival which led to Iceland's independence. To this end, he was active both in founding the Landvarnarflokkurinn in 1902, and as the editor of Iceland's first daily newspaper, Dagskrá, from 1896 to 1898. As a poet, he may be classified as a Neo-Romantic.

He pioneered as a strong advocate of inward foreign investment to utilize Iceland's natural resources.[citation needed] In 1906 he joined the management of two companies, Skjálfanda and Gigant, formed to build and operate hydroelectric power plants, particularly the northern waterfalls of the Skjálfandafljót and Jökulsá á Fjöllum rivers. Fund raising began, but there was opposition from people who objected to foreign involvement. In 1914 Einar Benediktsson was one of the founders of Fossafélagið Títan and three sister companies Sirius, Orion and Taurus, established to harness the power of the Þjórsá waterfalls.[2]

His translations include English, and American poetry, and a masterpiece in rendering Henrik Ibsen's epic, Peer Gynt, into Icelandic. Einar Benediktsson was buried at Iceland's national shrine, Þingvellir. He has descendants living today in Iceland, other European countries, and the United States, most notably including former ambassador and namesake Einar Benediktsson (b. 1931).

He resided at Höfði house in northern Reykjavík for many years. Einar's statue, by Ásmundur Sveinsson, now stands near the house.


  • 1897: Sögur og kvæði (Stories and poems)
  • 1901: Pétur Gautur, translation from Henrik Ibsen's Peer Gynt.
  • 1906: Hafblik, poems
  • 1913: Hrannir, poems
  • 1921: Vogar, poems
  • 1930: Hvammar, poems

(See Í.A. 1990: 331)

Further reading[edit]

  • Íslenska Alfræðiorðabókin A-G. 1990. Editors: Dóra Hafsteinsdóttir and Sigríður Harðardóttir. Örn og Örlygur hf., Reykjavík.
  • Ljóðasafn, 1979, editor Kristján Karlsson.


  1. ^ Lögfræðingatal 1736-1992. Reykjavík: Iðunn. 1993.
  2. ^ HNIT (April 2003), Urriðafossvirkjun í Þjórsá allt að 150 MW og breyting á Búrfellslínu 2 (PDF) (Environmental Impact Assessment Report) (in Icelandic), Landsvirkjun, retrieved 2017-05-21