Markelova Olga

Reception of the sagas of icelanders in modern icelandic poetry: the poem "Maðr inn skammi" by Hallgrímur Helgason

Markelova Olga (2023) "Reception of the sagas of icelanders in modern icelandic poetry: the poem "Maðr inn skammi" by Hallgrímur Helgason ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia III : Filologiia, 2023, vol. 74, pp. 41-50 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturIII202374.41-50


The article deals with the particular case of reception of the "Sagas of Icelanders“ in modern Icelandic poetry. The plot of the poem "Maðr inn skammi“ (The Short Man) by Hallgrímur Helgason is based in the Chapter 66 of Egil's Saga, namely the fight of Egil and Atli the Short. This episode is being detached form the original context of the saga and turns into an allegory of an encounter of an "ordinary person“ with the literary tradition, as it is not Egil himself, that takes part in the encounter, but the Saga of Egil. For a common person, like Atli in the poem, a tragic death is the only chance to get into a significant work of literature. In modern Icelandic poetry such a reception of interaction of a person with a signifiant text of culture is unique, as normally there are psycological motivations of the saga characters' deeds that prevail in modern literature based on Old Icelandic works. Still, Hallgrímur's perception is determined by the significance of the saga texts in modern Icelandic culture.The article is supplied by the translation of the poem into Russian, done specially for this publication.


modern Icelandic literature, Icelandic poetry, poetry of the 2010s, reception of the Old Icelandic literature, reception of the sagas of Icelanders, Hallgrímur Helgason, text.


  1. Árni Bergmann (2012) “Bægifótur bankar á dyr”. Tímarit máls og menningar, 2012, vol. 73, no. 4, pp. 118–123.
  2. Hallgrímur Helgason (2018) Maðr inn skammi. Bjartur.
  3. Jón Karl Helgason (2001) Höfundar Njálu: þræðir úr vestrænni bókmenntasögu. Reykjavík.
  4. Markelova O. (ed.) (2021) Gerd Kristni Gviudiounsdottir. “Poliusa”. Vestnik PSTGU. Ser. III: Filologiia, vol. 66, pp. 73–88 (in Russian).
  5. “Saga ob Egile” (1999), in O. Smirnitskaia (ed.) Islandskie sagi, St. Petersburg, vol. 1, pp. 21–216 (in Russian).

Information about the author

Markelova Olga

Academic Degree: Candidate of Sciences* in Philology;
Place of work: independent researcher;
ORCID: 0000-0003-3640-4886;
Email: tysdagur@mail.ru.

*According to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 2011, the degree of Candidate of Sciences (Cand.Sc.) belongs to ISCED level 8 — "doctoral or equivalent", together with PhD, DPhil, D.Lit, D.Sc, LL.D, Doctorate or similar.