Download Audun and the Polar Bear: Luck, Law, and Largesse in a by William I Miller PDF

By William I Miller

Audun’s tale is the story of an Icelandic farmhand who buys a polar endure in Greenland for no different cause than to provide it to the Danish king, part a global away. it might justly be indexed probably the greatest items of brief fiction in international literature. Terse within the top saga sort, it spins a narrative of complicated aggressive social motion, revealing the cool wit and finely-calibrated reticence of its 3 major characters: Audun, Harald Hardradi, and King Svein. the story must have a lot to have interaction felony and cultural historians, anthropologists, economists, philosophers, and scholars of literature. The story’s therapy of gift-exchange is necessary of the fantastic anthropological and historic writing on gift-exchange; its remedy of face-to-face interplay a fit for Erving Goffman.

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Additional info for Audun and the Polar Bear: Luck, Law, and Largesse in a Medieval Tale of Risky Business

Sample text

If there are dragons they appear in the form of Harald, a real king, to whom we can credit the third time Audun almost dies, and in the form of Aki, who operates no more uncannily than trying to drive a hard business bargain. And the beneficent supernatural? Some critics have turned this story into a Christian parable, and there are textual suggestions allowing for modest interpretative possibilities along pious lines. But there are no divine interventions, or none that cannot also pass for routine workings of man or nature.

If there are dragons they appear in the form of Harald, a real king, to whom we can credit the third time Audun almost dies, and in the form of Aki, who operates no more uncannily than trying to drive a hard business bargain. And the beneficent supernatural? Some critics have turned this story into a Christian parable, and there are textual suggestions allowing for modest interpretative possibilities along pious lines. But there are no divine interventions, or none that cannot also pass for routine workings of man or nature.

21–80. 30 part one the author having to put the words into Audun’s mouth first for us to hear. Harald doesn’t seem to take offense at Audun’s refusal to accept the offer to buy for double the initial cost. Harald takes it rather as an invitation to ask for a gift. Though asking for a gift after twice having one’s offers to buy rejected might strike us as strange, it is not unheard of in the saga world. A failed bargain in Njáls saga (ch. 47) follows a similar pattern. 4 In Audun’s Story such a forced transfer could be a very likely move, given the biography of the person seeking the transfer, and the music would become even more ominous.

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