EGIL > Digitised texts > Selection

Selection of digital texts

The works selected for digitisation within the EGIL project are all, in the broadest sense, related to the subject of textual transmission, the reception of Icelandic culture, and the cultural links between Iceland and Britain. Items in the first category range from the 1782 edition of Egils Saga, published at Hrappsey in Iceland, to Thomas Percy's 1763 translation of Five pieces of runic poetry. The earliest account of a traveller is that of Isaac de la Peyrere in 1644; the latest, a tourist handbook of Iceland from Reykjavik in 1930, giving the modern student a well-illustrated guide to the country and its principal features and historic sites. A sample of the many occasions of cultural exchanges between Icelandic and English, demonstrating that this was indeed a two-way process, is seen in the 1916 poem by Matthias Jochumsson, 1616-1916 On the Tercentenary Commemoration of Shakespeare. Ultima Thule sendeth Greeting, translated into English by Israel Gollancz.

In mounting these texts, the intention has been to provide users of EGIL with examples of the kind of material at the heart of the partners' collections. The site offers selected titles which the partners have agreed are representative and would be useful to researchers. It has been developed in the knowledge that internationally a number of projects are seeking to digitise Icelandic material. For example, the National and University Library of Iceland and Cornell University are collaborating on a major programme in association with the Árni Magnússon Institute in Iceland. The on-line site, Saganet,, which is still in development, will give access to a tremendous range of significant texts.

There are particular reasons encouraging the delivery of electronic versions of Icelandic texts. Published works in this subject area can be difficult for libraries to acquire and for students to use. Some early editions which are still of great significance are long out of print. Many key titles have been published in Denmark or Iceland, and their availability for students in the United Kingdom is a matter of chance. Institutions with rich holdings, including the partners in EGIL, must all to some extent restrict borrowing and photocopying of rare imprints, in the interests of their physical preservation.

These titles are made available for research and teaching. Some additional titles may be added. If you use this site, we would welcome your comments on the content and its ease of use.


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