Q1: I am in university now and looking to try to read a couple of Halldor Laxness's works. I understand that "Iceland's Bell" was originally published in three separate parts; does the current English translation by Vintage Books consist of all three parts, or just the first one?
Q2: Do you know if there are any English-language biographies on Árni Magnússon? I know he was technically a Dane, but I understand that only Iceland remembers him (due to his role a collector and scholar of Icelandic manuscripts).
Kevin Vander Linden Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
A1: It contains all three parts. You can read about it here: http://www.amazon.com/Icelands-Bell-Halldor-Laxness/dp/1400034256#reader_1400034256
A2: Árni Magnússon was an Icelandic scholar who was not technically a Dane. He did work in Denmark, however. Octavia Randolph wrote: “Árni Magnússon was an Icelandic scholar born in 1663 who dedicated his life to finding and preserving the earliest documents of his country. Since Iceland was under Danish rule during Árni's lifetime and lacked its own university, those wishing to be educated commonly went to Copenhagen, and Árni followed suit, eventually becoming an archivist in the Danish king's private archive and a professor at the university. Árni Magnússon left his collection to the University of Copenhagen before his death in1730”.
Two biographies have been published in Icelandic:
• Finnur Jónsson, Ævisaga Árna Magnússonar. Kaupmannahöfn 1930. • Már Jónsson, Árni Magnússon. Ævisaga. Reykjavík 1998.
We know of no English biographies.
Már Jónsson has written the article: “Arnas Magnæus Islandus (1663-1730). An Early Enlightenment Historian and Collector of Medieval Manuscripts.” The Eighteenth Century in the North. Editor Vera Gancheva. Sofia. The publication may not be out yet.