Torfhildur Hólm, Brynjólfur Sveinsson biskup

Katelin Parsons (Árna Magnússon Foundation for Icelandic Studies)
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Brynjólfur Sveinsson biskup

(1882) is both the first historical novel written in Icelandic and the first novel by an Icelandic woman. Torfhildur Þorsteinsdóttir Hólm (1845–1918) was a recent immigrant to Canada when she published the novel, which describes the career of the titular Bishop Brynjólfur Sveinsson of Skálholt (1605–1675). Torfhildur populated her book mainly with historical figures, including the poet Hallgrímur Pétursson (1614–1674), whose works were still near-universally read at the time of the novel’s publication.

Living in Canada, Torfhildur had few historical sources from which to work, as she herself observed in an apologetic author’s note at the book’s end. In this respect, Torfhildur’s work contrasts with Guðmundur Kamban’s four-volume novel

1216 words

Citation: Parsons, Katelin. "Brynjólfur Sveinsson biskup". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 24 October 2022 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=41018, accessed 15 June 2024.]

41018 Brynjólfur Sveinsson biskup 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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