Steinunn Finnsdóttir

Steinunn Finnsdóttir (c. 1640 – c. 1710) was the first known Icelandic female writer to leave a substantial body of poetry. Her major works are two rímur cycles: Hyndlu rímur and Snækóngs rímur. She also composed vikivaki carols, occasional verses and a poem on mediaeval Icelandic heroes. The material in both of Steinunn's rímur cycles is drawn from earlier fairy tale ballads and in each case the main character is a woman who has been placed under a spell, one turned into a dog and the other into a man.

Early commentators considered Steinunn an unoriginal minor figure in the history of Icelandic literature but recent critics have praised her for the originality of her mansöngvar and her "vision of a more just social system" (Bergljót Kristjánsdóttir 1996:340).


  • Bergljót Kristjánsdóttir (1996). „Gunnlöð ekki gaf mér neitt / af geimsludrykknum forðum ...“ in Guðamjöður og Arnarleir, edited by Sverrir Tómasson, pp. 165–219 and 339-40 (English summary). Reykjavík: Háskólaútgáfan. ISBN 9979-54-147-4
  • Hughes, Shaun F.D. (2000). "The Re-emergence of Women's Voices in Icelandic Literature, 1500–1800." in Cold Counsel, edited by Sarah M. Anderson and Karen Swenson, pp. 93–128. Routledge. ISBN 0-8153-1966-5
  • Steinunn Finnsdóttir (edited by Bjarni Vilhjálmsson) (1950). Rit Rímnafélagsins III: Hyndlu rímur og Snækóngs rímur. Reykjavík: Rímnafélagið.