Category Archives: Excerpts

Prologue

The prologue at the beginning (where else?) of W is a short excerpt from Gisli Sursson’s Saga, one of the Icelandic family sagas. The main purpose of this prologue is to introduce the Old Norse concept of “nid” (in English orthography), which is defined as “a form of ridicule whereby a person is represented as worthy of universal contempt.” (We all know people like that, now don’t we?) More specifically, Gisli’s saga provides us with an example of “trenid,” which can be defined as “wood-shame.” Much is left to the imagination in Icelandic saga literature, so I will do likewise.

I have linked to a scholarly paper on “nid” which references Gisli Sursson. This paper may give more information than the average non-Viking needs, but it is interesting nonetheless.

Old Southwest Humor

One of the primary inspirations for W was the little outpost of 19th-century American literature known as the Old Southwest Humorists. My favorite resident of this out-of-the-way enclave is George Washington Harris, who created the wonderful character named Sut Lovingood. A collection of Sut Lovingood yarns can be read and downloaded from Google Books here.

My purpose was to use the humor and story-telling devices of the Old Southwest Humorists to create my own little yarn about a mad dash across the continent in search of gold. Here is a short excerpt from W, introducing you to the old storyteller Moses Carlyle and the tale he has to tell.