French translation of an essay
There is no doubt that Iceland and Greenland are two different territories, although they are neighbors. Greenland has been called the largest island in the world. For almost five centuries, Scandinavians lived there in well-defined colonies while on the rest of the island lived the Inuit. Iceland has had a modest population. The Icelanders built a society that resembled other Nordic societies, even if the habitat was much more dispersed than elsewhere, the economy less varied and the social structures dissimilar.
There are many differences between Iceland and Greenland, but there are also many similarities. The two islands share the fact of being situated on the northern borders. They were long subjected to a foreign authority. For a long time, they remained so far from the European "center" that they were barely mentioned. Iceland and especially Greenland attracted explorers, as did many other territories in the North of the world. It is the fascinating story of the constitution of the image of these two islands at the edge of the world that the historian Sumarliði R. Ísleifsson tells us in this remarkable essay, thus contributing to the history of the imagination of the North and of the Arctic, places little studied, and still often represented by stereotypes, accumulated by centuries of discourse.
Translated from Icelandic by François Émion with the collaboration of Virginie Adam.
Sumarliði R. Ísleifsson, Deux îles aux confins du monde. Islande et Groenland, Québec, Presses de l'Université du Québec, “Droit au pôle” series, 2018, 252 p.