The few literary men, whose work was done and whose books were published abroad, were only concerned with the past, and Jon Vidalin is the one man of mark, beside Eggert Olafsson, who worked and wrote for his own generation.'
1707; John Magnusson, who wrote Hristafla, a didactic poem; Stefan Olafsson, composer of psalms, rimur, &c., d.
1688; Gunnar Palsson, the author of Gunnarslag, often printed with the Eddic poems, c. 1791; and Eggert Olafsson, traveller, naturalist and patriot, whose untimely death in 1768 was a great loss to his country.
The first modern scientific work is the Iter per patriam of Eggert Olafsson and Biarni Paulsson, which gives an account of the physical peculiarities - fauna, flora, &c. - of the island as far as could be done at the date of its appearance, 1772.
Early work in this direction was done by Jon Gudmundsson, Olaf the Old and John Olafsson in the 17th century, who all put traditions on paper, and their labours were completed by the magnificent collection of Jon Arnason (1862-1864), who was inspired by the example of the Grimms. Many tales are but weak echoes of the sagas; many were family legends, many are old fairy tales in a garb suited to their new northern home; but, besides all these, there are a number of traditions and superstitions of indigenous origin.
This school is very dissimilar from the half-romantic school of Jonas Hallgrimsson; it is nearer the national Icelandic school represented by Pall Olafsson and porsteinn Erlingsson, but differs from those writers by introducing foreign elements hitherto unknown in Icelandic literature, and - especially in the case of the prose-writers - by imitating closely the style and manner of some of the great Norwegian novelists.
In the last decades of the 19th century this school produced two poets of a very high order, both distinctly original and Icelandic. One is Pall Olafsson (b.
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