The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Magnusson, Finn

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MAGNUSSON, or Magnusen, Finn, an Icelandic scholar, born in Skalholt, Aug. 27, 1781, died in Copenhagen, Dec. 24, 1847. He studied at the university of Copenhagen, returned to Iceland in 1803, and practised as an advocate. In 1812 he went again to Copenhagen, where in 1815 he was appointed professor, and in 1819 began to lecture in the university and the academy of fine arts on the old Norse literature and mythology. In 1842 he was made keeper of the archives. He was the author of many archæological works, of which the most important are: Bidrag til nordisk Archæologie (Copenhagen, 1820), in which he maintained the plastic symbolical ideality of the Norse myths, which makes them as appropriate as those of the Greeks for artistic representation; Prisæ Veterum Borealium Mythologiæ Lexicon et Gentile Calendarium (1828); a translation and explanation of the elder Edda, Ældre Edda, oversat og forklaret (4 vols., 1821-'3); and Eddalaren og dens Oprindelse (4 vols., 1824-'6), exposition of the whole doctrine of the Edda from the standpoint of comparative mythology. In connection with Rafn he produced Grønlands historiske Mindesmærker (3 vols., 1838-'42), and Antiquités russes (2 vols., 1850-'52). He also wrote a work on runes, Runamo og Runerne (1841).