Full text: Iceland 1930

strained imagination; extensively read, witty, and profoundly influenced 
by foreign romanticists. But though much of what he wrote is second- 
rate, there are not a few passages full of poetic fire, and some of his 
'vrics are among the most finished in the language. 
Pall Olafsson (1827—1905) a farmer. Of our peasant bards he is 
the greatest artist in rime. His touch is light, lyrical; but he can also 
be witty and at times bitter. Many of his improvisations were caught 
up by the people as soon as they came from the author’s lips, and 
spread far and wide over the country. 
Steingrimur Thorsteinsson (1831--1913), some time head-master of 
the Grammar School in Reykjavik, a classical scholar and a man of 
learning and culture, is the author of many beautiful and touching 
patriotic songs. He has given us noble pictures of Icelandic scenery 
and rural life, poems on the philosophy of life, and a number of epi- 
grams. He has also translated many foreign works, e. g. the Arabian 
Nights, Andersen’s Fairy Tales, Shakespeare’s King Lear, Byron's 
Mazeppa, The Prisoner of Chillon and many of his shorter poems, 
Sesides a variety of lyrical pieces by different other authors. 
The Rev. Matthias Jochumsson 1835 —1920 , Iceland's greatest poet for 
half a century, lived for the last twenty years of his life on a literary 
pension granted him by Althingi. He was honorary citizen of Ak- 
ureyri (where he lived) and D. D. honoris causa at the university 
of Reykjavik. Jochumsson is a voluminous writer of poetry, and 
‘hough it is not all equally good, his genius when at its best is truly 
wonderful and prophetic. His funeral poems are the greatest in our 
language, and by his profound understanding of our history and his 
rare gift of sympathy he can embrace and re-creale the most diverse 
characters. To our religious poetry he has also contributed some of 
its noblest and loftiest hymns. At his magical touch all distinction be- 
fween the centuries .disappears, and he is in an equal degree Iceland's 
most ancient and most modern poet. Of his many translations these 
may be mentioned: four plays by Shakespeare, Byron’s Manfred, 
Tegner’s Fridthjofs Saga, Ibsen's Brand, and a great number of short 
soems by different authors, English, German and Scandinavian. 
Stephan G. Stephansson (1853—1927) is among the most peculiar 
phenomena in Icelandic literature. The son of a poor farmer and brought 
up on a remote farm in Iceland, he never went to school, and, when 
about twenty years of age, emigrated to America, where he three 
limes took land for cultivation and always lived the strenuous life of 
he settler. Yet his native culture stood him in such good stead

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