Feb 19, 2009

More Warriors

My second interlibrary loan copy of The Happy Warriors arrived from the University of Kentucky Library. On the first page of the text, penciled close to the inside margin of the page is the information that this 1958 edition was added to the library collection on 7/6/59, and that it cost $2.52. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell how many times the book has been checked out over the years--wouldn't I love to know! Still, it's something to think that this book has been in use for 50 years now.


I had requested another interlibrary loan so that I could include a few of my favorite quotes. An added benefit is that, after having read my review (below), John decided he would like to read the book. This one has a longer due date and is renewable, so we can look forward to his response to Happy Warriors right here at Icelandic Fever.

Early in the story the Oath Brothers, Thorgeir and Thormod, are shipwrecked in the Westfjords. Frozen and hungry, they come upon a remote farmstead and a woman answers the door to ask what they want.
"We ask nothing of any," said Thorgeir. "But we will have food to eat and fire to thaw our clothes and a place to sleep. And if you deny us these, let a proper man of your household, or more than one, come out and do battle with us."

The woman replied: "It has never been the way in these fjords that spent folk had to fight the peasants for shelter. You must be a stupid man."
And how about our friend Olaf Haraldsson/Olaf the Stout/St. Olaf, pictured in the previous post?
Olaf had come aboard that night...He expressed himself as those do who are in the habit of talking for many ears, and it was commonly thought that what he lacked as a fighting-man and in other manly parts he made up in eloquence and insinuating address.
Olaf talks of Duke Richard:
Out of fear he would now throw open his lands to you, and give you leave to harry French kings and crush them at pleasure, and of the land's wealth have what you choose, princesses and queens and other high-born dames gratis as desired. But that you may give yorselves up unblamed to all the sport that lies in victorious war, with slaughter, fire-raising, plundering and rape, Richard asks only this trifle in return, that you should receive baptism and the Holy Ghost and become Christians.
As I've reflected on this book it has grown on me more and more. I think I'll read it again, while I have the opportunity. It's a good thing that Laxness' books glow ever brighter on second and third readings (and so on), since I'll soon be out of English translations. If there are any readers out there with the means to fund new translations, I feel certain that the folks at Gljúfrasteinn would love to talk to you!

2 comments:

Professor Batty said...

$2.52! To think that I could have bought that for the price of a couple of my Tom Swift Jr. books...

Rose said...

I am enjoying it SO much more this second time around!