Theodóra Thoroddsen/Jón Thoroddsen, Rigmarole and Flies (2020)

An English translation of Theodóra Thoroddsen’s Þulur (1916) and her son Jón Thoroddsen’s Flugur (1922), featuring a foreword by Ármann Jakobsson and collected in one volume. In her Þulur (Rigmarole) Theodóra rejuvenated an important traditional Icelandic verse form. Bearing qualities similar to those often associated with nursery rhymes, her poems blend folk stories and pastoral imagery using economic yet unruly and fresh metrical forms. They are, however, also essentially rebellious, focusing on unfulfilled desires and longings that achieve release in fantasy.

Her son Jón’s Flugur (Flies), published a few years before his untimely death, has been considered the first collection of prose poems published in Icelandic. Seen as a profound departure from Icelandic poetic traditions, his poems can be regarded as a precursor to Icelandic modernism, addressing the ambiguities inherent in language and life itself. Together they offer an opportunity to appreciate more fully each poet’s unique contribution to the vast and varied history of Icelandic literature. The book is available for purchase here.