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Góð bók er gulli betri: Home

a 2012-2013 small exhibition in Olin Library, Cornell University Library


Borg, farmstead of Egill Skallagrímsson,

poet and ancestor of Snorri Sturluson,

medieval Iceland's greatest writer

From A Pilgrimage to the Saga-Steads of Iceland, by W.G. Collingwood and Jón Stefánsson


Komið þið sæl

“Góð bók er gulli betri


(A Good Book Is More Valuable than Gold)


Reading and Scholarship from the Fiske Icelandic Collection


This guide is the Internet-accessible version of a small exhibition of covers from the Fiske Icelandic Collection of the Cornell University Library. The exhibition, which populated two floor cases in the Olin Library lobby from December 2012 to March 2013, had the purpose of highlighting contemporary major works of Icelandic literature and contemporary scholarship in Old Norse-Icelandic studies. In addition, the case on Icelandic literature featured English renditions of modern Icelandic literature by respected translators.


Far more literature pertinent to the vast landscape (and seascape) of Icelandic civilization exists in the Cornell University Library than could possibly be documented here. We hope the introduction in these pages will stimulate interest among a discerning readership.


Appreciation goes to Susette Newberry, Assistant Director of Research and Learning Services, for her contributions to the design of the floor  installation and of this guide.


Site design and textual content © 2013 Cornell University Library, and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.


Modern Icelandic literature and the literature of Old Norse-Icelandic studies--saga editions, skaldic poetry, and literary criticism--are under the aegis of the Fiske Icelandic Collection, one of the oldest special collections in the Cornell University Library and the bequest of the first university librarian, Daniel Willard Fiske. Since its arrival in Ithaca in 1905, the collection has more than quadrupled in size to forty thousand volumes and remains one of the most important repositories for the study of the Nordic world during the Viking Age. The collection holdings on the history and literature of Iceland during the modern era are virtually without parallel outside of Iceland.


The circulating component of the Icelandic Collection is now integrated into the Olin Library shelves, with the catalogue records marked "Icelandic." Rare books of the collection are in the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, available through the reading room in 2B Kroch Library. The curator of the Fiske Icelandic Collection, Patrick J. Stevens, may be contacted at

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