Tuesday, April 10, 2012

passions recycled.

iceland is a cool passion. i have shared it for over twenty-five years now. i fell in love with the country back in 1986, when i saw esja and the streets of reykjavik on tv for the first time in my life. ever since, my passion has been uninterrupted, with occasional outbursts. a week or so ago i listened to a bbc radio show called 'excess baggage', recorded in iceland, and listening to it on my i-pod, on my walk through the local trebjesa wood, my passion burst out again. the emotions this distant and exotic land incites in me are profound, supra-rational, and warm. as soon as i got back home i took a book off the shelf which had been waiting to be read for a year or two - the historical novel 'the virgin of skalholt' by gudmundur kamban. a year or two ago, on a similar icelandic spree, i ordered this novel through abebooks, but when it arrived i was overwhelmed with other things and my passion for iceland had been lulled for a while. when it got out in the open again, i reached for the book, and am now immersed in romanticized pages of icelandic history. and i love it so, so much. however, one fact about this book additionally touches me. the copy that i have is a 1935 edition, translated into english from the danish, and it belonged to a certain caroline cherton sherrill from brookline, massachusetts. the book dealer that sent me the book was in portland, oregon. so, this exact copy of the novel has made a journey through languages, decades, and geographical spaces, recycling a passion for iceland all the while. i will probably not be willing to part from this book for yet a while, but i know that one day i would like to pass it on to someone who would be eager to keep the icelandic flame alive.


  1. So beautifully written. Every time you write about Iceland I’m more eager to see it and, hopefully, to feel the magic.
    That book of yours had quite a journey! I find old books almost enchanting – no matter what they are about. That’s why I never miss bookstores which sell second-hand books. The oldest two I have are E.Chancrin, Le Vin,1913. (bought in Avignon) and Dr. Johann Ude, Einführung in die Psychologie auf aristotelisch-thomistischer Grundlage mit Berücksichtigung der modernen Psychologie, 1916. I found the latter in Ljubljana and it’s printed in some...”gothic” font. The only thing I could understand here is Psychologie :-))

  2. thanks :) old books do have a special charm, don't they? iceland does, too ;) bless bless