The Blue Tower

By Thorarinn Eldjarn; Thoranin Eljan; Bernard Scudder (Translator)
(Mare's Nest, Paperback, 9781899197453, 186pp.)

Publication Date: October 1999

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This intricately woven novel is narrated in a witty style which echoes the cadences of seventeenth-century prose. In 1649, Icelandic poet Gudmundur Andresson is sitting apparently forgotten in Copenhagen's notorious Blue Tower, where he has been imprisoned for writing a pamphlet attacking the Great Edict, the morality law set by the Danish colonial authorities in Iceland. Interspersed with descriptions of his suffering and despair in the cell, he narrates the story of an extraordinary life. A bright but poor farmer's son, he was sponsored by a kindly scholar, but prefers a life with connections and a rich wife. The birth of a child out of wedlock, counter to the Great Edict, and his scurrilous tract seal his fate. Defiant and subversive but prizing friendship and integrity above all else, clever at outwitting his adversaries yet often painfully naive, he is at once a toy of fate and his own master in defeat and triumph.

About the Author

Bernard Scudder lives in Reykjavk as a full-time translator. His translations encompass sagas, ancient and modern poetry, and leading contemporary novels and plays.

Svanhildur Oscarsdttir has a research post at the rni Magnsson Institute in Reykjavk, Iceland.

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