As someone in the field of Old Norse manuscript studies, it is pretty silly that I haven't read Iceland's Bell yet. The novel by Laxness is, from what I understand, historically relevant to the field, and was probably influential in the repatriation of the manuscripts.

Today I guest lectured in a class, where the students had read several chapters of the book, and it was awkward that they had read the book and I had not. Even more awkward was my attempt to gloss over the fact that I hadn't, since of course I really have no excuse.

But oh well, no one is perfect and there is no need to go around beating oneself up. I didn't do anything else terrible or silly or even inappropriate today, in fact I started the morning with a call to my son and ended it by listening to a choir in a church, so a nice wholesome day.

And yet for some reason I've been very depressed, as if something went wrong a long time ago that I don't know how to fix. I have cried three or four times today, it hasn't been good.

My problem with Laxness is that I am too arrogant to read it in English translation, but when I tried to read Paradisar heimt in Icelandic a few years ago, it was a frustrating and disappointing experience. Laxness likes to make up his own spelling for things, and use unusual vocabulary, and I am just not up to all of that. So there you go, 35 years of trying to teach myself Icelandic, and I can't manage the only Icelandic author really worth reading.

I am totally lost.


Jono said…
Time to cut yourself a little slack. I can't read Icelandic so I have read all of Laxness that is available in English. The hardship incurred under Danish rule is quite severe and difficult to fathom in this book, but it is a fascinating story. Why not read it in English first and then Icelandic? See if the translation is good.

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