“Now rises fair above the swelling sea
The far-sought land, of long and keen desire,
Whose olden story and whose golden speech
Have winged for me such dear and tranced hours”

These are the first lines from the poem “Nearing Iceland”, written on the 12. of July 1879, by the American scholar Daniel Willard Fiske when he saw the shores of Iceland for the first time. Fiske was 47 years old at the time, a professor at the newly established Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

Accompanying him was Arthur Middleton Reeves, a 23 year old student of his. They journeyed on the steamer Camoens from Edinburgh, Scotland to Húsavík in the northeast of Iceland where they were greeted like heroes. Although Fiske had never visited Iceland before, he was very well known and regarded wherever he went.

– Article by Kristinn H. Guðnason –

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