Sigrgarðs saga frœkna

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Sigrgarðs saga frœkna (modern Icelandic Sigurgarðs saga frækna, the saga of Sigrgarðr the Valiant) is a medieval Icelandic romance-saga, described by Finnur Jónsson as 'all in all ... one of the best and most worthy of reading' of the Icelandic 'stepmother-sagas'.[1]

Plot and literary character[edit]

The plot of the saga was summarised by Marianne E. Kalinke and P. M. Mitchell:

Ingigerðr, queen of Taricia, and her two sisters, Hildr and Signý, are suffering from a spell placed on them by Hlégerðr, their father's concubine. No suitor can please Ingigerðr, while Hildr and Signý are turned into animals. When Sigrgarðr, a king's son, woos Ingigerðr, she repeatedly makes a fool of him. He leaves Taricia only to return disguised as a merchant. Ingigerðr outwits him when he attempts to abduct her by means of a flying carpet. Finally Sigrgarðr, posing as the viking Knútr, visits Ingigerðr with two foster-brothers. The three succeed in breaking the spells. The saga concludes with a triple wedding.[2]

Notwithstanding Kalkinke and Mitchell's summary, most manuscripts of the saga set Ingigerðr's kingdom not in 'Taricia' but 'Tartaria' (i.e. Tartary), and it has been argued that the lost original manuscript of the saga must likewise have read Tartaria.[3]

While the saga 'has a lot of rough edges' in its style and plotting, it has nonetheless been characterised as 'tightly and powerfully structured', 'throw[ing] itself with unswerving commitment into a wonder-tale of stepmothers and foster-brothers, curses, flying carpets, deception, disguise, shape-shifting, trolls, and bedroom antics'.[4]

The saga has attracted particular critical commentary because of its handling of gender and sexual politics: it is particularly noteworthy amongst romance-sagas because the moral standing of the main male character is questionable. Before beginning to woo Ingigerðr, Sigrgarðr has previously developed a habit of seducing and discarding women; the degradations which he suffers at her hands can, therefore, be understood as comeuppance for his immorality.[5]

Sources and influences[edit]

The saga draws on Viktors saga ok Blávus and Bósa saga ok Herrauðs. More distant similarities with other texts—both medieval ones and later folktales—indicate that the saga draws on oral story-telling traditions, with some details arguably indicating oral links with medieval Irish and Welsh traditions.[6]

Manuscripts and date[edit]

The saga is attested in at least 53 manuscripts, dating from the fifteenth century through to the early twentieth, mostly from Iceland,[7][8] apparently all descended from a lost common original.[3]

The earliest surviving manuscript is Rekjavík, Stofnun Árna Magnússonar, AM 556a-b 4to, from the later fifteenth century, known as Eggertsbók. Peter Jorgensen found that the saga must originally have been composed around 1450×75.[9]

The following list of manuscripts is based on the survey by Kalinke and Mitchell,[10] on Handrit.is, and on the Stories for All Time survey of fornaldarsaga manuscripts. Links to online catalogue entries are provided where available.

Location Classmark date catalogue entry URL notes
Reykjavík, Stofnun Árna Magnússonar AM 123 8vo c. 1600 http://handrit.is/is/manuscript/view/AM08-0123

FASNL

fragmentary
Reykjavík, Stofnun Árna Magnússonar AM 167 fol c. 1660 http://handrit.is/is/manuscript/view/AM02-0167
Reykjavík, Stofnun Árna Magnússonar AM 556a 4to C15 http://handrit.is/is/manuscript/view/AM04-0556a fragmentary
Reykjavík, Stofnun Árna Magnússonar AM 588m 4to C17 https://handrit.is/en/manuscript/view/is/AM04-0588m
Reykjavík, Stofnun Árna Magnússonar AM 588n 4to C17 https://handrit.is/en/manuscript/view/is/AM04-0588n
Reykjavík, Stofnun Árna Magnússonar AM 592a 4to C17 http://handrit.is/is/manuscript/view/en/AM04-0592-a

FASNL

fragmentary
Héraðskjalasafn Borgarfjarðar, Borgarnes MS 14 / Einkaeign 10 1862-1867 https://handrit.is/en/manuscript/view/is/Einkaeign-0010

FASNL

Reykjavík, Stofnun Árna Magnússonar GKS 1002 fol C17 http://handrit.is/is/manuscript/view/GKS02-1002-1003
Reykjavík, National Library of Iceland ÍB 165 4to 1778 http://handrit.is/is/manuscript/view/IB04-0165

FASNL

Reykjavík, National Library of Iceland ÍB 185 8vo 1760-1780 FASNL
Reykjavík, National Library of Iceland ÍB 224 8vo c. 1750 https://handrit.is/en/manuscript/view/is/IB08-0224

FASNL

Reykjavík, National Library of Iceland ÍB 426 4to 1877 http://handrit.is/is/manuscript/view/IB04-0426 fragmentary
Reykjavík, National Library of Iceland ÍBR 38 8vo 1828-1831 http://handrit.is/is/manuscript/view/IBR08-0038

FASNL

Reykjavík, National Library of Iceland ÍBR 44 8vo 1854 http://handrit.is/is/manuscript/view/IBR08-0044
Reykjavík, National Library of Iceland JS 411 8vo late C17 http://handrit.is/is/manuscript/view/JS08-0411

FASNL

Reykjavík, National Library of Iceland JS 632 4to C17-19 http://handrit.is/is/manuscript/view/JS04-0632

FASNL

Reykjavík, National Library of Iceland Lbs 1217 4to 1817 http://handrit.is/is/manuscript/view/Lbs04-1217

FASNL

Reykjavík, National Library of Iceland Lbs 1305 4to 1869-1878 http://handrit.is/is/manuscript/view/Lbs04-1305
Reykjavík, National Library of Iceland Lbs 1446 8vo 1864-1871 http://handrit.is/is/manuscript/view/Lbs08-1446
Reykjavík, National Library of Iceland Lbs 1500 4to 1880 https://handrit.is/en/manuscript/view/is/Lbs04-1500

FASNL

Reykjavík, National Library of Iceland Lbs 1637 4to 1760-1800 FASNL
Reykjavík, National Library of Iceland Lbs 1785 4to 1833
Reykjavík, National Library of Iceland Lbs 222 fol 1695-1698 http://handrit.is/is/manuscript/view/Lbs02-0222

FASNL

Reykjavík, National Library of Iceland Lbs 2316 4to 1850 FASNL
Reykjavík, National Library of Iceland Lbs 2484 8vo c. 1852
Reykjavík, National Library of Iceland Lbs 2786 8vo 1869
Reykjavík, National Library of Iceland Lbs 3165 4to 1870-1871 https://handrit.is/en/manuscript/view/is/Lbs04-3165

FASNL

Reykjavík, National Library of Iceland Lbs 354 4to C18 http://handrit.is/is/manuscript/view/Lbs04-0354

FASNL

Reykjavík, National Library of Iceland Lbs 3891 4to late C19
Reykjavík, National Library of Iceland Lbs 3938 8vo 1872
Reykjavík, National Library of Iceland Lbs 3966 4to 1869-1871 https://handrit.is/en/manuscript/view/is/Lbs04-3966
Reykjavík, National Library of Iceland Lbs 4070 8vo 1862
Reykjavík, National Library of Iceland Lbs 423 fol C18 http://handrit.is/is/manuscript/view/Lbs02-0423

FASNL

Reykjavík, National Library of Iceland Lbs 4447 4to 1868-1869
Reykjavík, National Library of Iceland Lbs 4718 4to
Reykjavík, National Library of Iceland Lbs 4825 4to c. 1775-1825 http://handrit.is/is/manuscript/view/Lbs04-4825

FASNL

Reykjavík, National Library of Iceland Lbs 4847 8vo 1868-1874 https://handrit.is/en/manuscript/view/is/Lbs08-4847
Reykjavík, National Library of Iceland Einkaeign 19 1875 https://handrit.is/en/manuscript/view/is/Einkaeign-0019
Reykjavík, National Library of Iceland Lbs 4867 8vo 1870 https://handrit.is/en/manuscript/view/is/Lbs08-4867
Reykjavík, National Library of Iceland Lbs 4977 8vo 1896 https://handrit.is/en/manuscript/view/is/Lbs08-4977
Reykjavík, National Library of Iceland Lbs 644 4to 1710-1750 FASNL
Reykjavík, National Library of Iceland Lbs 998 4to late C19 FASNL
Reykjavík, National Library of Iceland Lbs 5480 4to C20 https://handrit.is/en/manuscript/view/is/Lbs04-5480
Reykjavík, National Library of Iceland Lbs 5567 4to 1913 https://handrit.is/en/manuscript/view/is/Lbs04-5567
Copenhagen, Royal Library NKS 1804 4to 1681 FASNL fragmentary
Stockholm, Royal Library Islandica papp fol 1 early C17
Stockholm, Royal Library Islandica papp 4to 17 1640-1671 fragmentary
Stockholm, Royal Library Islandica papp 4to 27 c. 1650
Stockholm, Royal Library Islandica papp 8vo 6 1674
Stockholm, Royal Library Islandica papp fol 66 1690
Copenhagen, Arnamagnæan Institute Rask 32 later C18 http://handrit.is/is/manuscript/view/en/Rask032

FASNL

Reykjavík, Stofnun Árna Magnússonar SÁM 47 1867-1868 http://handrit.is/is/manuscript/view/SAM-0047
Reykjavík, Stofnun Árna Magnússonar SÁM 131 1871-1890 https://handrit.is/en/manuscript/view/is/SAM-0131
Copenhagen, Royal Library Thott 978 2o late C17
Winnipeg, Elizabeth Dafoe Library (uncatalogued fragment) fragmentary
Ithaca, New York, Cornell University,

Fiske Icelandic Collection

Ic F75 A125, 8vo C18
Baltimore, Md, Johns Hopkins University,

Nikulas Ottenson Collection

MS Nr. 1 1798 https://catalyst.library.jhu.edu/catalog/bib_1425614
New Haven, Conn., Yale University,

Beinecke Library

Z 113.82 1806 http://hdl.handle.net/10079/bibid/1222356
Böðvar Kvaran, Tjaldanes MS I 2.b 1911
Jón Ófeigsson, Hafnarnes, Hornafjörður MS 1 C19
Reykjavík, Stofnun Árna Magnússonar AM 576b 4to 1690-1710 https://handrit.is/en/manuscript/view/is/AM04-0576b

FASNL

resumé
Copenhagen, Royal Library NKS 1144 late C18 FASNL resumé

Two manuscripts are listed by Kalinke and Mitchell as containing Sigurgarðs saga frækna which actually contain Sigurgarðs saga og Valbrands: Lbs 1496 4to (1883) and Lbs 2319 4to (1727-1729). Likewise, Handrit.is lists Lbs 4547 8vo as containing Sigurgarðs saga frækna,[11] also incorrectly. 

Editions and translations[edit]

  • Einar Þorðarson (ed.), Sagan af Sigurgarði frœkna (Reykjavík: Einar Þorðarson, 1884), http://www.alarichall.org.uk/teaching/sigrgardssaga.php. [A popular reading edition.]
  • Agnete Loth (ed.), Late Medieval Icelandic Romances, Editiones Arnamagæanae, series B, 20–24, 5 vols Copenhagen: Munksgaard, 1962–65), V 39–107. [The principal scholarly edition.]
  • Alaric Hall, Steven D. P. Richardson, and Haukur Þorgeirsson (ed. and trans.), ‘Sigrgarðs saga frækna: A Normalised Text, Translation, and Introduction’, Scandinavian-Canadian Studies/Études Scandinaves au Canada, 21 (2013), 80-155, http://scancan.net/article.htm?id=hall_1_21. [A normalised Old Icelandic text, and English translation, based on Loth's edition.]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 'alt i alt ... en af de bedste og læseværdigste', Finnur Jónsson, Den oldnorske og oldislandske litteraturs historie, 2nd edn, 3 vols (Copenhagen: Gad, 1920-24), III, 121.
  2. ^ Marianne E. Kalinke and P. M. Mitchell, Bibliography of Old Norse–Icelandic Romances, Islandica, 44 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1985), p. 97.
  3. ^ a b Alaric Hall, Steven D. P. Richardson, and Haukur Þorgeirsson, ‘Sigrgarðs saga frækna: A Normalised Text, Translation, and Introduction’, Scandinavian-Canadian Studies/Études Scandinaves au Canada, 21 (2013), 80-155 (p. 83), http://scancan.net/article.htm?id=hall_1_21.
  4. ^ Alaric Hall, Steven D. P. Richardson, and Haukur Þorgeirsson, ‘Sigrgarðs saga frækna: A Normalised Text, Translation, and Introduction’, Scandinavian-Canadian Studies/Études Scandinaves au Canada, 21 (2013), 80-155 (pp. 89-90), http://scancan.net/article.htm?id=hall_1_21.
  5. ^ Alaric Hall, Steven D. P. Richardson, and Haukur Þorgeirsson, ‘Sigrgarðs saga frækna: A Normalised Text, Translation, and Introduction’, Scandinavian-Canadian Studies/Études Scandinaves au Canada, 21 (2013), 80-155 (pp. 94-100), http://scancan.net/article.htm?id=hall_1_21.
  6. ^ Alaric Hall, Steven D. P. Richardson, and Haukur Þorgeirsson, ‘Sigrgarðs saga frækna: A Normalised Text, Translation, and Introduction’, Scandinavian-Canadian Studies/Études Scandinaves au Canada, 21 (2013), 80-155 (pp. 84-89), http://scancan.net/article.htm?id=hall_1_21.
  7. ^ Alaric Hall, Steven D. P. Richardson, and Haukur Þorgeirsson, ‘Sigrgarðs saga frækna: A Normalised Text, Translation, and Introduction’, Scandinavian-Canadian Studies/Études Scandinaves au Canada, 21 (2013), 80-155 (p. 82), http://scancan.net/article.htm?id=hall_1_21.
  8. ^ Marianne E. Kalinke and P. M. Mitchell, Bibliography of Old Norse–Icelandic Romances, Islandica, 44 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1985), pp. 97-98.
  9. ^ Peter A. Jorgensen (ed.), The Story of Jonatas in Iceland, Stofnun Árna Magnússonar á Íslandi, 45 (Reykjavík: Stofnun Árna Magnússonar á Íslandi, 1997), pp. clxiii–clxiv.
  10. ^ Marianne E. Kalinke and P. M. Mitchell, Bibliography of Old Norse–Icelandic Romances, Islandica, 44 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1985), pp. 97-98.
  11. ^ "Handrit.is".