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Iceland Mag

Culture

Television viewers list 150 Icelandic literary works to include in an Icelandic canon

By Sara McMahon

  • Icelandic canon. Viewers of the television programme Kiljan put together a list of what they consider to be the 150 best Icelandic literary works. Photo/GVA

Television viewers recently put together a list of 150 Icelandic literary works to include in an Icelandic canon. Literary works by female authors were scarce on the list.

Viewers of the culture television programme, Kiljan, recently put together a list of 150 Icelandic literary works to include in an Icelandic canon. The television programme, which features book reviews, author interviews and literary debates, is hosted by Egill Helgason.

620 viewers and experts listed twenty to thirty novels, plays, poetry and children’s books they thought should be included in the canon. The Icelandic Saga, Brennu-Njálssaga sits on top of the list. Ten novels written by author Halldór Laxness, who received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1955, are included in the canon, four of which are listed in the top ten. Literary works by female authors were scarce on the list – only fifteen novels of 150 were written by women.

Here is the top ten list, you might have read some of the novels? 

1. Brennu-Njálssaga - Unknown author

2. Sjálfstætt fólk - Halldór Laxness

3. Íslandsklukkan - Halldór Laxness

4. Ljóðmæli - Jónas Hallgrímsson

5.  Egils saga - Snorri Sturluson (?)

6. Englar alheimsins - Einar Már Guðmundsson

7. Heimsljós - Halldór Laxness

8. Salka Valka - Halldór Laxness

9. Passíusálmar - Hallgrímur Pétursson

10. Þjóðsögur -  Compiled by Jón Árnason 

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