Nitida saga

The Nitida saga is a fictional late medieval Icelandic romance saga thought to have been composed in Iceland in the fourteenth century.[1] This saga is about a maiden-king named Nitida, who rules over France, and who is pursued by kings and princes from such faraway places as Constantinople, India, and a place the saga calls the Land of the Saracens. It is thought to be a direct response to Klári saga: in Klári saga, the main female protagonist, Serena, is brutally punished for her initial refusal to marry the hero Klárus, whereas the heroine of Nitida saga is portrayed much more favourably.[2] Ethnicity, travel, and geography play important roles in the saga, and questions of gender and power, while magic, trickery, and deception are also prominent.[3] Nitida saga has been published twice, first as a diplomatic edition and basic English summary in Agnete Loth's Late Medieval Icelandic Romances,[4] and more recently as a normalized Icelandic edition and full English translation in the academic journal Leeds Studies in English.[5] The saga survives in almost 70 manuscripts.[6]


  1. ^ M. J. Driscoll, ‘Nitida saga’, in Medieval Scandinavia: An Encyclopedia, ed. by Phillip Pulsiano and others (New York: Garland, 1993), p. 432.
  2. ^ Paul Bibire, 'From Riddarasaga to Lygisaga: The Norse Response to Romance', in Les Sagas de Chevaliers (Riddarasögur): Actes de la Ve Conférence Internationale sur les Sagas Présentés par Régis Boyer (Toulon. Juillet 1982), ed. by Régis Boyer, Serie Civilisations, 10 (Toulon: Presses de l’Université Paris-Sorbonne, 1985), pp. 55-74, at pp. 67, 70.
  3. ^ Barnes, ‘Margin vs. Centre: Geopolitics in Nitida saga (A Cosmographical Comedy?)’, in The Fantastic in Old Norse/Icelandic Literature: Sagas and the British Isles, Preprint Papers of the Thirteenth International Saga Conference, Durham and York, 6–12 August 2006, ed. by John McKinnell, David Ashurst, and Donata Kick, 2 vols (Durham: CMRS, 2006), i, 104–12, available at; cf. Geraldine Barnes, 'Travel and translatio studii in the Icelandic Riddarasögur', in Übersetzen im skandinavischen Mittelalter, ed. by Vera Johanterwage and Stephanie Würth, Studia medievalia septentrionalia, 14 (Vienna: Fassbaender, 2007), pp. 123-39.
  4. ^ ‘Nitida saga’, ed. by Agnete Loth, in Late Medieval Icelandic Romances, 5 vols (Copenhagen: Munksgaard, 1962–65), V (1965), pp. 1–37.
  5. ^ Sheryl McDonald, 'Nítíða saga: A Normalised Icelandic Text and Translation', Leeds Studies in English, 40 (2009), 119-45, available at
  6. ^ Marianne E. Kalinke, and P. M. Mitchell, Bibliography of Old Norse-Icelandic Romances, Islandica, 44 (London: Cornell University Press, 1985), pp. 85–86.

External links

  • [1] Margin vs centre: geopolitics in Nitida saga (a cosmographical comedy?) by Geraldine Barnes

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