From Iceland to the Americas

Vinland and historical imagination

Edited by Tim William Machan and Jón Karl Helgason

From Iceland to the Americas


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-2875-1
  • Pages: 304
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: April 2020
  • BIC Category: Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: c 1800 to c 1900, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: classical, early & medieval, LITERARY CRITICISM / Modern / 19th Century, LITERARY CRITICISM / Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology *, Medieval Literature, Literature, Literary studies: from c 2000, Literary studies: c 1900 to c 2000, LITERARY CRITICISM / American / General, LITERARY CRITICISM / European / Scandinavian, Iceland, The Americas, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: from c 1900 -, Literary studies: c 1800 to c 1900, Literary studies: ancient & classical, Cultural studies, LITERARY CRITICISM / Modern / 21st Century, LITERARY CRITICISM / Modern / 20th Century, Society & social sciences / Cultural studies
  • Series: Manchester Medieval Literature and Culture


This volume investigates the reception of a small historical fact with wide-ranging social, cultural and imaginative consequences. Inspired by Leif Eiriksson's visit to Vinland in about the year 1000, novels, poetry, history, politics, arts and crafts, comics, films and video games have all come to reflect rising interest in the medieval Norse and their North American presence. Uniquely in reception studies, From Iceland to the Americas approaches this dynamic between Nordic history and its reception by bringing together international authorities on mythology, language, film and cultural studies, as well as on the literature that has dominated critical reception. Collectively, the chapters not only explore the connections among medieval Iceland and the modern Americas, but also probe why medieval contact has become a modern cultural touchstone.


1 Vinland on the brain: remembering the Norse - Tim William Machan
Part I: Imagination and ideology
2 Journeys to the centre of the mind: Iceland in the literary and the professorial imagination - Seth Lerer
3 The 'Viking tower' in Newport, Rhode Island: fact, fiction, and film - Kevin J. Harty
4 Critiquing Columbus with the Vinland sagas - Matthew Scribner
5 Vinland and white nationalism - Verena Höfig
Part II: Landscapes and cultural memory
6 Migration of a North Atlantic seascape: Leif Eiriksson, the 1893 World's Fair, and the Great Lakes landnám - Amy C. Mulligan
7 Norwegian-American 'missions of education' and Old Norse literature - Bergur Þorgeirsson
8 Americans in Sagaland: Iceland travel books 1854-1914 - Emily Lethbridge
9 The good sense to lose America: Vinland as remembered by Icelanders - Simon Halink
Part III: Recasting the past
10 Spectral Vikings in nineteenth-century American poetry - Angela Sorby
11 'Who is this upstart Hitler?': Norse gods and American comics during the Second World War - Jón Karl Helgason
12 'There's no going back': The Dark Knight and Balder's descent to Hel - Dustin Geeraert
13 Old Norse in the New World: the mythology of emigration in Neil Gaiman's American Gods - Heather O'Donoghue


Tim William Machan is Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame
Jón Karl Helgason is Professor of Icelandic and Comparative Cultural Studies at the University of Iceland

Newsletter Sign Up

Manchester University Press

Your cart is empty.

Select your shipping destination to estimate postage costs

(Based on standard shipping costs)

Final cost calculated on checkout
Promotional codes can be added on Checkout