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Snorri Sturluson

Snorri Sturluson or Sturleson (snôrˈrē stürˈlüsôn, –lĕsôn) [key], 1178–1241, Icelandic chieftain, historian, critic, and saga teller, the leading figure in medieval Norse literature. He was the author of the invaluable Prose Edda (see Edda), a treatise on the art of poetry and a compendium of Norse mythology. His great saga the Heimskringla recounts the history of Norway to 1177; it combines traditional legend with substantial historical information and is of great literary merit. Snorri's sense of drama was outstanding, his mastery of form and method superb. Of an aristocratic family, Snorri acquired great wealth and became one of the most influential men in Iceland. Active in the politics of his day, he agreed to support the plan of Haakon IV for the annexation of Iceland to Norway, and thereafter he became increasingly entangled in intrigues and hostilities. In the struggle for control of Iceland he was killed by henchmen of his son-in-law, for political reasons as well as for reasons of inheritance.

See biography by M. Ciklamini (1978); N. M. Brown, Song of the Vikings (2012).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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