French adapted the story of Grettir from the 1869 translation of Grettir's Saga by William Morris and Eirikr Magnusson. The original was written in Iceland during the early fourteenth century by an unknown writer.
The Story of Grettir the Strong chronicles the adventures of a strong, bold loner who was both scorned and envied by his society. Grettir protects his compatriots from various dangers— huge man-killing trolls; "berserks" (former warriors, crazed in battle, who no longer care whom they kill); a witch; and an "undead" man who escapes from his grave. Despite his heroic efforts, Grettir is condemned as an outlaw and forced to fend for himself in the hostile Icelandic wilderness.
Grettir's saga presents a well-rounded portrait of life in medieval Iceland—it examines the people's customs and superstitions, their pride in their pagan past, and their attempts to live by the tenets of a new religion, Christianity. The book also serves as a good introduction to the Norse saga, a category of literature with which some readers may be unfamiliar.
(The entire section is 171 words.)