Icelandic literature

Early Writings

With Iceland's loss of political independence (1261–64) came a decline in literature, although the linguistic tradition continued and the old writings were still venerated. In the 13th and 14th cent. the sagas of antiquity flourished; many were based on Eddic poems (see Edda). Chivalric romances appeared c.1300, emphasizing classical and ecclesiastical themes and showing French influence. From the 14th to the middle of the 16th cent. many foreign works were translated; Old Norse works were copied and compiled, and new religious poems were written in the old meters. The 14th cent. also saw the development of the rímur, metrically ingenious narrative poetry based on the sagas; it was popular until the 19th cent. and was revived in the 20th.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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