1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Thóroddsen, Jón Þor Ðarson

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Thóroddsen, Jón Þor Ðarson (1819-1868), Icelandic poet and novelist, was born in 1819 at Reykhólar in western Iceland. He studied law at the university of Copenhagen, entered the Danish army as volunteer in 1848 in the war against the insurgents of Schleswig and Holstein, who were aided by Prussia and the other German States. He went back to Iceland in 1850, became sheriff (sýslumaður) of Barðastrandarsýsla, and later in Borgarfjarðarsýsla, where he died in 1868. He is the first novel writer of Iceland. Jónas Hallgrímsson had led the way by his short stories, but the earliest veritable Icelandic novel was Jón Thóroddsen's Piltur og stúlka (“Lad and Lass”), a charming picture of Icelandic country life. Still better is Maður og kona (“Man and Wife”), published after his death by the Icelandic Literary Society. He had a great fund of delicate humour, and his novels are so essentially Icelandic in their character, and so true in their descriptions, that he is justly considered by most of his countrymen not only as the father of the Icelandic novel, but as the best novelist Iceland has produced. His poems, mostly satirical, are deservedly popular; he follows Jónas Hallgrímsson closely in his style, although he cannot reach him in lyrical genius. (S. Bl.)