The Icelandic Voice In Canadian Letters: The Contribution of by Daisy L. Neijmann

By Daisy L. Neijmann

This attention-grabbing examine explores a outstanding ethnic-Canadian literature in shut textual and contextual phrases for the 1st time. It lays a foundation for destiny comparative study within the box of ethnic Canadian stories, and demanding situations assumptions approximately cultural id and human event of the "new."

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This pithy, laconic style, grounded in a literary tradition of nearly eight centuries, contributed to making the Icelandic folk tales shorter, on the whole, than other Scandinavian or German tales. But the influence of the saga style extends further. The vocabulary of the tales is larger and richer than might be expected in narratives of this kind, full of proverbial sayings and expressions, and in general more literary than elsewhere. Of course, this is partly due to the writers. But the common people of Iceland have long used a more literary language in their storytelling.

Yet even on the Canadian prairies they died, in Magnus Einarsson's words, "a stubborn death" (1991: 404). Huldufolk occur in certain Icelandic-Canadian works, notably in GuSrun H. Finnsdottir's stories (see Chapter III), while outlaws figure prominently in especially WD. Valgardson's work (Chapter IV). Moreover, the role of these wilderness creatures in Icelandic cosmology is significant for the discussion of mythological aspects in Icelandic-Canadian literature (Chapter IV). I will, therefore, briefly introduce them here in so far as they are relevant to later chapters.

The consequent atmosphere was one of oppression, poverty and despair. All resistance and all will towards improvement was slowly being squeezed out of the people. Before the Reformation they had been able to fall back on the belief in saints as helpers and mediators. Now there was only the belief in original sin, an ever-angry God and the prospect of hell, the picture of which was repeatedly described in all its gory details by over-zealous pastors. The Icelanders, in other words, had no recourse, since the hopelessness weighing them down in their daily lives was given institutional form in the body of the Church, which, instead of providing spiritual comfort and help, created a general sense of fear and punishment to match their worldly reality.

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