(1855 – 1921)
Son of a novelist, Thoroddsen studied natural sciences, especially zoology and geology at the Universities of Copenhagen and Leipzig. He returned to Iceland taking up various teaching positions, and often exploring the natural wonders of his homeland. He received an honorary Ph.D. from the University of Copenhagen in 1896.
Biographical references: Hermannsson, H. "Icelandic authors of to-day," Islandica, 6 (1913), pp. xiv, 69. SBA: Scandinavian Biographical Archive: A-330, 362-369. Svenskt Biografiskt Handlexikon. Svenskt Biografiskt Lexikon. WBI.
1. Icelandic, 1908-22 [First edition].
Lýsing Íslands. | Eftir | þorvald Thoroddsen. | [rule] | Gefin út af | Hinu islenzka Bókmentafélagi. | [rule] | Fyrsta bindi. | [rule] | Kaupmannahöfn. | Prentað hjá S.L. Möller. | 1908.
4 vols. [Vol 1: 1908] 8°: 259 p. [Vol 2: 1911] 8°: 368 p. [Vol 3: 1919] 8°: 334 p. [Vol 4: 1922] 8°: 410 p.
Rare. Thoroddsen's Description of Iceland is the culmination of the dreams of many early explorers to produce a work of this kind and scope. It is the first comprehensive treatment of the island's history and geography, with a very extensive review of the geology and geological research in Iceland up to that time. The author was a trained geologist and he includes descriptions of that landscapes remarkable geysers, hot springs, volcanoes, etc., as well as an extensive description of the Helgustadir quarry, the now exhausted locality that first produced the famous optical grade calcite known as `Icelandic Spar', that mesmerized European scientists from the 15th century onwards.
Related articles: Concerning the original locality for the Iceland Spar, Thoroddsen wrote: "Die Fundstätte des isländischen Kalkspates," Himmel und Erde, 1 (1899), 471-7 and "Einige Bemerkungen über die Fundorte des isländischen Doppelspats," Himmel und Erde, 3 (1891), 182-7.
Bibliographical references: BL. NUC..