Monday, June 04, 2012

Reader's Diary #834- Charles Morris: Vineland and the Vikings

Looking at my "Around the World reading map" a few weeks ago, that large chunk of land between Canada and Europe was bothering me. I needed to read a story from Greenland to get it coloured in. I couldn't find any stories by Greenlandic authors online-- not in English anyway-- but I was able to find Charles Morris' retelling of some viking sagas set largely in Greenland and Iceland, and possibly Newfoundland, if you believe that's where Vineland (or Vinland) was. Morris didn't believe that it was, based on his final paragraph that asserts it was in New England. However, Morris was a late 19th century writer from the U.S. and archaeologist Helge Instad until 1960. It would be interesting to know what Morris would have made of this discovery.

It would also be somewhat irrelevant. From what I've read about Morris' writings, he seemed more interested in entertaining than educating. It's why I've labeled this one as "historical fiction." And "Vineland and the Vikings" is certainly entertaining-- full of adventure and danger. The story wouldn't be new to anyone familiar with the viking sagas, but if you're like me and haven't heard them for many, many years, it's a nice easy way to refresh your memory.

(Did you write a post for Short Story Monday? If so, please leave a link in the comments below.)


Teddy Rose said...

I read a lot of historical fiction but like it to be well researched and the bones of the story to stick to historical fact. It doesn't sound like Morris was concerned with that. As long as I know that going into it, I still may enjoy the story for what it is.

I reviewed one from one of the books I won from you, Anticipated Results:

John Mutford said...

Teddy: it's not that I think Morris went out of his way to alter historical fact, in fact much may have been in line with what was understood to be fact at the time, only there's been a lot of archaeological discoveries since then.