Scholars in Old Norse and Old English studies have for years sought to find connections between Beowulf and Grettis saga, despite great differences in the composition, time period, and country of origin of the two works. Based on some striking surface similarities, the assumption of kinship, or genetically related analogues, has inspired scholars to make more and more daring conjectures regarding the actual relationship between the two works.
Magnús Fjalldal has written a lively challenge to those notions, carefully demonstrating how even tangential resemblances that at one point would have been considered questionable, have become progressively assimilated into mainstream Old English and Old Norse scholarship. The author?s refutations are closely tied to the primary texts, and he makes constructive and plausible suggestions of his own as to how the apparent parallels could have arisen in two texts so separated by time, culture, and geography.
Passionately and engagingly written, occasionally forceful, The Long Arm of Coincidence successfully reopens a classic argument in Old Norse and Old English studies, and will be sure to provoke strong reactions on both sides of this question.