70. Todestag von Jón Sveinsson: Feierlichkeiten in Köln. By Gabriele Schneider October 15, 2014 14:10

Readers Corner

70. Todestag von Jón Sveinsson: Feierlichkeiten in Köln. By Gabriele Schneider October 15, 2014 14:10

With reference to Gabriele Schneider's news about the ceremonies commemorating the 70th anniversary of Jón Svensson's death in Cologne I would like to add the following information about a new Nonni book in English.
On I found the below description:
Quote: A Journey Across Iceland: The Ministry of Rev. Jon Sveinsson S.J. (Englisch) Taschenbuch – Großdruck, 22. August 2014
von John C Wilhelmsson (Herausgeber), Rev. Jon Sveinsson S.J. (Autor)
Jon Sveinsson (or "Nonni") is the only Jesuit priest ever born in Iceland. He left his homeland as a boy, with his beloved brother Armann (or “Manni”), to follow their mutual call to become Jesuit missionaries. Although Manni has since passed on during his studies, Nonni is now the Reverend Jon Sveinsson S. J. The boys had wished to become Jesuit missionaries, like St. Francis Xavier, yet Jon Sveinsson has spent most of his time in the order so far as either a student, and now an instructor, in academia. Still longing to fulfill his dream of being a missionary he has volunteered to travel to Iceland to care for the souls of his fellow countryman. Such is the premise of this classic Icelandic travelogue written by the man who would later became one of the most beloved children's authors of all time.Unquote.

In my opinion this publication is a sensation. It is the first time that Jón Svensson's ride across Iceland on horseback way back in 1894 (!!) has been turned into a book IN ENGLISH! Svensson had written his travel report in Danish and published it in 1895 in "Museum 4" under the title "Reiseerindringer fra Island fra Sommeren 1894". One year later it was published in English in the Catholic magazine "The Messenger of the Sacred Heart" in New York, the title being "A Journey Across Iceland". So far I have not found out who was the translator. Finally, the travelogue was published in Danish as the book "Et Ridt Gennem Island. Oplevelser" and appeared by V. Pios Boghandel in Kopenhagen in 1908. Later Svensson's interesting travel report was translated into German by Johannes Mayrhofer and published by Görlich/Breslau in the year 1911. The title read "Ein Ritt durch Island: Zwischen Eis und Feuer". After Herder became Svensson's publisher the title was again changed. The book has since borne the title "Zwischen Eis und Feuer. Ein Ritt durch Island" and has not lost its attraction, in fact, it is one of my favourite Nonni books still available in online book stores.

The fact that this fascinating and true story is now available as an English pocket book fills me with great joy. It is high time for the translation of Jón Svensson's books into English. Unbelievable that the English speaking world has so far not had the chance to enjoy Nonni's books! Even the title "Nonni in Amerika" does not yet exist in English!!! I do hope that after January 1, 2015, a Jón Svensson admirer will take care of that. By then, i.e. 70 years after Jón Svensson's death, copyright becomes common free and Nonni fans can translate and publish his books without having to pay any license fees.

Considering the growing interest in Nonni's home country Iceland I am sure that this exciting report about Nonni's ride from Reykjavík to Akureyri 120 (!) years ago will find many interested readers.

- Nonnifan Friederika Priemer

Nonnifan Friederika Priemer