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Styrbiorn the Strong

2011
Author:

E. R. Eddison
Afterword by Paul Edmund Thomas

Styrbiorn the Strong

E. R. Eddison’s classic saga novel now in paperback—includes for the first time Eddison’s remarkable letter of introduction and his unabridged closing note

Styrbiorn the Strong tells the grand tale of Styrbiorn Olafsson, heir to the Swedish throne and known both for his impressive size and strength and his unruly, quarrelsome nature. A rediscovered classic, Styrbiorn the Strong is a tale reminiscent of the Old Norse sagas, a historical novel from one of the twentieth century’s most influential masters of fantasy.

The greatest and most convincing writer of invented worlds that I have read.

J. R. R. Tolkien

Styrbiorn the Strong tells the grand tale of Styrbiorn Olafsson, heir to the Swedish throne and known both for his impressive size and strength and his unruly, quarrelsome nature. Denied his birthright and exiled from Sweden, Styrbiorn becomes the leader of the Jomsvikings and sets out to reclaim the Swedish throne in the epic Battle of Fýrisvellir. A rediscovered classic, Styrbiorn the Strong is a tale reminiscent of the Old Norse sagas, a historical novel from one of the twentieth century’s most influential masters of fantasy.

Styrbiorn the Strong

Eric Rücker Eddison (1882–1945) so loved the William Morris and George Webbe Dasent translations of the Old Norse sagas that he taught himself to read Old Icelandic. He studied classics at Trinity College and went on to write five novels—including the fantasy classic, The Worm Ouroboros.

Paul Edmund Thomas is a literary scholar who has focused most of his work on E. R. Eddison and J. R. R. Tolkien.

Styrbiorn the Strong

The greatest and most convincing writer of invented worlds that I have read.

J. R. R. Tolkien

The archaic manner . . . you have to do it perfectly. It’s a high wire: one slip spoils all. The man who did it perfectly was, of course, Eddison. If you love language for its own sake, he is irresistible.

Ursula K. Le Guin

In a word, Eddison’s books are works, first and foremost, of art. And they are irreplaceable.

C. S. Lewis

For the qualities of glamour and imagination which stood out in The Worm Ouroboros he has substituted in this book the lusty vigor and poetic simplicity of the old Scandinavian lore, telling Styrbiorn’s story with historical fidelity yet with the skill of the true storyteller, clothing it in the style of the old sagas, yet with the beauty of the true stylist.

New York Times

Eddison writes with a beauty not often found this side of the sixteenth century. His prose is mannered, but it is rugged, energetic, fresh.

Walter Yust, Literary Review

The story of Styrbiorn, who, born to hereditary joint-kingship, finds that the intriguing of others has cost him a throne and a friend, and at the last attempts to regain his throne. He fails, but his viking-faring of the earlier days, as well as the glory of his failure, have more than earned for him a spot in Valhalla.

Boston Transcript

The gorgeous prose is as seductive as every. This long-overdue reissue is an event.

Tolkien and Fantasy (blog)

A handsome little volume ...the world got a little bit bloodier and brighter.

Black Gate Magazine

Styrbiorn the Strong is gripping. The Swedish Saga, has a poetic impact which is hard to surpass.

Nordic Notes

Styrbiorn the Strong

UMP blog with editor Jason Weidemann - Nerds and Nords: Why Styrbiorn the Strong is made for Skyrim fans.

It’s an open secret here at the Press that I’m a pretty big gamer in my off time. A quick romp through a virtual world with an ax in one hand and a fireball spell in the other is the perfect antidote to a long work day of delving deep into manuscripts on economic geography, settler colonialism, or social movement theory. And like a lot of gamers, I’ve been completely obsessed with Skyrim for almost a month now, spending to date seventy hours playing a character named Gwydion, a Breton with a fetching pencil-thin moustache who enjoys picking flowers as much as he loves trolling Imperial camps and fighting dragons.

Read the full article.