This book has its origins in the ambitious Heimskringla project initiated nearly 20 years ago at the University of Oslo by professors Eyvind Fjeld Halvorsen, Else Mundal and Vesteinn Olason. The goal of this project - a new critical edition of Heimskringla - has never been achieved, for the simple reason that it now seems unlikely that our surviving witnesses to the texts associated with Heimskringla go back to a single archetype comprising all the elements in the collection of sagas traditionally known by that name.
In the book I wish to shed some light on the lost vellum of Heimskringla known as Kringla. The main aim of the work is to examine the transcripts of Kringla in order to find out how they can best be used to reconstruct the original text. In the course of this examination I shall try to determine which transcripts have independent source value and to evaluate their level of accuracy. I also wish to find answers to unresolved questions about the dating, history and scribal hands of the transeripts.
The text of Kringla is fundamental to our knowledge of the collection of sagas known as Heimskringla. The transcripts of Kringla have often been used in editions, but a systematic and critical reconstruction of the text has not yet been carried out. A reconstruction of this kind is a necessary precondition for a new critical edition, if the witnesses discussed here are to be used correctly. It is my hope that the results of this research will be of use in such a project. - Jon Gunnar Jørgensen.
Jon Gunnar Jørgensen er professor ved Institutt for lingvistiske og nordiske studier, Universitetet i Oslo.