A Short Reflection on Icelandic History

I am at a Medieval and Renaissance Literature Forum this weekend. It’s pretty official.

Academics depress me, though. Especially when they are all talking about the same things.

But I went to this panel discussion today, and one of the presenters was talking about Icelandic literature. I don’t know much about Icelandic literature, and I don’t care to know much more than I do, but something this woman said blew me away.

In the 13th century, the Icelandic Commonwealth dissolved, leaving Icelanders to fend mostly for themselves. As a result, much of the literature the Icelanders had written down on animal hides were used as clothing.

People were  literally  walking around with stories on their backs. I wonder if we do this, too. I wonder if we  wear stories of our past on our back. I think we do.

Sometimes walking around with our story is really difficult, but what’s encouraging about the Icelanders is if our stories are clothing, we can change clothes at any time.

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