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Sir Walter Scott and Eyrbyggja Saga

Julian D’Arcy & Kirsten Wolf

Studies in Scottish Literature: Vol. 22: Iss. 1, Article 5 (1987)


Sir Walter Scott’s interest in Old Norse literature and history is a well-known fact and frequently commented on, to a greater or lesser extent, by many scholars and critics. Scott had clearly developed this enthusiasm by the time he was a student in Edinburgh, for in 1790 he read a paper on Anglo-Saxon and Icelandic lore to the Literary Society, and in the following year he presented a paper on Scandinavian mythology to the Speculative Society. Once he had passed his exams he spent the autumn evenings of 1792 poring over Bartholin’s book on Danish antiquities. Scott also became a subscriber to the Arnamagnaean editions of the sagas, published in Copenhagen from 1770 onwards, and throughout his life he avidly read and collected books on ancient Scandinavian history and culture. Indeed, by the time he died in 1832, his library at Abbotsford contained an impressive number of the most important works on Old Norse subjects then currently available.

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