Snorri Sturluson's fame as a historian---his main work is the 16 sagas included in Heimskringla (c.1230), a monumental history of Norway from its beginning until 1177---lies both in his critical approach to sources and in his fine, realistic exposition of event and motivation. A similar combination of scholarly and imaginative talent is seen in The Prose Edda (c.1220). Intended to be a handbook in skaldic poetry, it preserves invaluable mythological tales that were on the verge of being forgotten even in Sturluson's time. A large part of what we know about Nordic mythology stems from his Edda. The bibliography that follows also lists the anonymous Egil's Saga (1200--30), which many expert Scandinavian medievalists (e.g., Sigurdur Nordal and Bjorn M. Olsen) attribute to Sturluson. It is a fascinating account of life in Norway, England, and Iceland and of the poet-warrior Egil, whose skaldic verse is renowned for its unusual emotional and personal qualities. Snorri Sturluson's own life was as eventful as those about whom he wrote. Returning to Iceland from exile in 1239, he again became deeply involved in serious power struggles and was murdered in 1241.
Magnus Magnusson KBE was born in Reykjavik in 1929 and came with his family to Edinburgh at the age of nine months. He has had a distinguished career in broadcasting, journalism, historical and archaeological research, Icelandic and Old Norse studies, and environmental affairs. He married his wife, Mamie Baird, in 1954, and they have four children and nine grandchildren.
Hermann Palsson was a Professor Emeritus of Icelandic Studies at the University of Edinburgh.