Þórarinn Eldjárn: Brotahöfuð (The Blue Tower)


The latest addition to my website is Þórarinn Eldjárn‘s Brotahöfuð (The Blue Tower). This is a fairly conventional historical novel about a sixteenth century historical figure called Guðmundur Andrésson, who comes from a fairly poor background but is intelligent and eager to educate himself. Because of his intelligence and scholarship, a local reverend helps him get into a school, where he does very well academically but where he is teased and bullied by the sons of the rich, not least because he does better than them in class and has a sharp tongue and pen, and is quick to mock them. He makes quite a few enemies and it is these that he blames for his later downfall and imprisonment in the Blue Tower in Copenhagen. However, it is clear that his own faults are partially to blame for his downfall, which include, as well as his sharp tongue, a propensity to drink and women. This is during the period of the Great Edict, a proclamation that aimed to clamp down on all immoral behaviour, i.e. incest, adultery and extramarital sex. He could have been a great scholar but ends up being imprisoned for damning and mocking the Great Edict. This is not a great book but is an enjoyable read and an interesting insight to Iceland of the period.

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