This project arose from inspirational discussions with my students in an Old Norse seminar in the winter of 1998-9, in particular from observations made there by Shelley LePoudre on some of the proverbs of Njála. Andrew Taylor, then of our faculty and now at the University of Ottawa, gave enthusiastic support and encouragement both here and after his departure. I have also benefitted from the kindly advice of Richard M. Perkins, Robert Cook and Jonathan Evans. Patrick J. Stevens and Kenneth Baitsholts made me most welcome when I visited the Willard Fiske Icelandic Collection at Cornell last summer, and the University of Minnesota, with extreme generosity, loaned me its copy of Guðmundur Jónsson's Safn af íslenzkum orðskviðum. Our Interlibrary Loan Department here at the University of Saskatchewan devoted many hours to finding this and other relatively scarce publications for my use--I am always grateful for their careful and efficient help with my work.
While I cannot thank my university for financial support of this project--as Grettir Ásmundarson said, “Þá er eigi þat at launa, sem eigi er gört.”--I was glad to have the opportunity to teach in summers in order to make the money for the books, research trips and conferences which were necessary for the satisfactory pursuit of my work.
My wife, Michelle, my son, Leif Erik, and my daughters, Julia and Aliona, must often feel neglected when I seek the solitude of my old log cabin at Sled Lake, where I play Swedish spelmansmusik and look for proverbs in the Old Icelandic sagas. And I miss them when I am working there, but as I tell my students, "The sagas are long, and life is short," and there are still a few things I need to learn about the sagas.