Methodological Challenges to the Study of Old Norse Myths: The Orality and Literacy Debate Reframed

The Icelandic works known as the Eddas form our most important sources for Scandinavian mythology. The Poetic Edda is a collection of alliterative poems. First in the Danish Royal Library hence the collection’s name, Codex Regius , this manuscript was transferred to Iceland in Sixteen pages were lost from the middle between and ; the remaining ninety pages contain eleven poems about the gods and eighteen about Germanic heroes. A few poems in a similar style are found in other medieval manuscripts. The work known as the Prose Edda or Snorri’s Edda is a handbook of poetry written by Snorri Sturluson between around and

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Along with Snorri Sturluson ‘s Prose Edda , the Poetic Edda is the most important extant source on Norse mythology and Germanic heroic legends, the pre- Christian legends and religious beliefs of the Scandinavian people and Northern Germanic tribes, which tend to reflect a focus on physical prowess and military might. They display none of the Christian virtues of redemption or forgiveness, but rather the harsh reality of deceit and retribution. These myths were originally orally transmitted in the form of odes , sagas , and poetic epics.

The Eddas and other medieval texts written down during and after the Christianization of the Norse peoples are written texts that give us knowledge of this oral tradition.

The earliest surviving Old Norse poetry was inscribed on the Eggja Runestone which dates from the eighth century. Poetry Eddaic (also Eddic) poetry. Eddaic​.

For centuries it was stored in the Royal Library in Copenhagen but in it was returned to Iceland. The Eddic poems are composed in alliterative verse. The language of the poems is usually clear and relatively unadorned. While kennings are often employed they do not rise to the frequency or complexity found in skaldic poetry. Like most early poetry the Eddic poems were minstrel poems, passing orally from singer to singer and from poet to poet for centuries.

None of the poems are attributed to a particular author though many of them show strong individual characteristics and are likely to have been the work of individual poets. The dating of the poems has been a lively source of scholarly argument for a long time.

Vǫluspá, a profecia da vidente: notas e tradução

Our knowledge of the Viking people comes from several sources. One valuable source is the literature from the period. Norse people loved stories, and some of the stories and poems they themselves wrote, and that their descendants wrote still survive. Stories about the Norsemen were also written by their contemporaries, including both their trading partners such as the Arabs and the victims of their raids such as the Christian clerics who kept the historical records in Europe.

Two details have been argued to indicate a late (possibly twelfth-century) date for the poem. Ulrike Sprenger (), has maintained that the word.

Lucas, Gavin. Gavin Lucas ed. Hofstadir: excavations of a Viking Age feasting hall in north-eastern Iceland. Moreover, since these Eddic dialogues were eventually edited to facilitate silent reading one goes on wondering whether this way of editing the plays as annotated poems meant that they had lost the stage where they were once performed.

Did the scenography befitting the dialogues continue to exist in Iceland — or was it never there? Lokasenna could be performed in any room with an entrance linked to the front door cf. Nevertheless, it is to be preferred that the house has a hall room as well as an entrance room since that explains why Loki and Eldir are indoors at the entrance although the audience in the hall is not able to see them. In order successfully to perform these two dialogues in the hall room, there needs be an upper door, which is private and mainly used as an exit door, as well as a lower door, which is public and mainly used as an entrance door.

When an actor leaves by the upper door and reappears, entering through the lower, it signifies that he enters another hall than the one he left — the stage is flipped and yet the room, its props and audience remain unchanged. Using the upper and the lower doors in this way calls for the small albeit characteristic exit and entrance dialogues. The exit dialogues tell the audience from where the protagonist is leaving and the entrance dialogues hint where the protagonist has have arrived.

Both actors engaged in an exit dialogue have to leave by the upper door, because they have both been spotted by the audience.

Bjarne Fidjestøl: The Dating of Eddic Poetry. A Historical Survey and Methodological Investigation.

In a wider sense the Poetic Edda includes a number of similar poems from other manuscripts. Along with Snorri’s Edda the Poetic Edda is the most important source we have on Norse mythology and Germanic heroic legends. At that time versions of Snorri’s Edda were well known in Iceland but scholars speculated that there once was another Edda – an Elder Edda – which contained the pagan poems Snorri quotes in his book.


EUR Moreover, the introduction provides information about the literary treatment of ideas, themes, and characters; structural composition; metrics, vocabulary, and style; and the relative dating of the poem in question. It is not until then that a careful and detailed reading of the poem itself is presented. Such a thorough treatment of Eddic poetry is a divine gift to students and scholars of the Poetic Edda. It does not take into account the fact that Eddic poetry may actually have been performed at some point, and it does not consider the fact that the surroundings of its live performance may have influenced the recited or sung words of the poems.

Eddic poetry would be quite unique in the world of oral poetry if some musical and dramatic accompaniment had not been involved in its performance. There is no discussion in the volume of the oral background of the orally derived texts in the Codex Regius. The focus is on the undeniable fact that all that has been preserved of the once rich oral tradition of Eddic poetry is a few written [End Page ] words on vellum, that is, words that can be scrutinized by a philologist.

This becomes apparent in discussions of possible connections between two or more orally derived traditional texts. Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide. Forged from a partnership between a university press and a library, Project MUSE is a trusted part of the academic and scholarly community it serves.

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A Handbook to Eddic Poetry

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The Eddic Poem Grímnismál has the god Óðinn narrate in the first and date to as far back as the fourteenth century BC, with the chariot found.

Arguably the longest-lived of Norse literary genres, skaldic poetry offers a fascinating opportunity to trace the development of a Viking Age artistic practice right up until the late Middle Ages. As an authored and supposedly textually invariant poetic form, it seems to be an authentic voice of the past—and is often mined for information on Viking lifeways. But it is saddled with a reputation for difficulty, and establishing a text involves unusually knotty problems.

This seminar is intended to equip students to read and analyze skaldic poems, work knowledgeably with the secondary literature, and read skaldic editions with a critical eye. The vernacular theories of poetics contained in the Prose Edda and the Old Norse grammatical literature will also be explored. Also online here. Prerequisites: At least one semester of Old Norse language, or consent of instructor. Reading knowledge of modern Scandinavian languages and German is helpful, but not required.

Workload : weekly translations; presentations of class material primary and secondary readings. Texts: Supplied on bcourses. Useful introductions, all available in the library, include: Margaret Clunies Ross, A history of Old Norse poetry and poetics Woodbridge: Brewer, Final research paper pg.

Poetic Edda

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Features connected to the aesthetics of eddic poems, that is, the allusive nature of these forms of poetry, their often repetitive character, and the use of.

Deskis, Susan E. Recounting the deeds of heroes in literature and art p. A Reassessment p. Essays on the Literature and Culture of Medieval Scandinavia p. Types of texts, relations and their implications p. Essays p. Hill p. Wann und wo spielen Heldendichtung und Heldensage? Ford p. Essays on Old Norse mythology p. Performance and music p.

Fidjestøl, Bjarne 1937-

There are few oportunities to hear Old Norse poetry being performed, in spite of the fact that it belongs to an oral tradition. This is partly because we have little information about the way the poetry was performed and received, other than a few brief references to the recitation of poetry in the surviving literature. It is hard to imagine that instrumental accompaniment did not play some role in the performance of Eddic poetry, and we have some information about Viking Age instruments to go on, even if there is no record of the music played.

On this page, we present several modern performances of Eddic poetry and some of the leading practitioners of reconstructed medieval performance. Sequentia is an ensemble “dedicated to the performance and recording of Western European music from the period before ” and led by musician Benjamin Bagby.

Although I’d like to think that every month in Iceland is National Poetry Month, the reality is that Iceland doesn’t have an official National Poetry.

My talk today will be an attempt to evaluate my own contribution to our understanding of Old Norse mythology and its context in the culture of early Nordic society. Its focus will be on the first volume of Prolonged Echoes: Old Norse myths in medieval Northern society. I: The myths I will discuss first what intellectual background brought me to adopt the methodology I used in Prolonged Echoes , and then say why I thought, and still think, that this particular methodology was effective. I will then go on to consider the limitations of my approach and how it relates to the research interests of scholars working in the field of Old Norse mythology at the present time.

A Critical Discussion of Early Scholarship. This presentation surveys and analyzes the concepts of mythology used in early modern scholarship, from Resen and Mallet through Grimm to Simrock and Holtzmann. These concepts remain good to think with. Genetic comparison features religions that are connected linguistically, economically, or historically.

Typological comparison feature religions that are not seemingly connected in any way — except for belonging to a similar type of religion or society. Through doing this, it was possible to argue for the relevance of a comparison with pre-Christian Hawaiian religion. Recently, research in this vein has been conducted in comparative archaeology by, for instance, Neil Price and John Ljungkvist, as well as Mads Ravn. This paper presents a comparison between the figure of the sacral ruler in pre-Christian Nordic and pre-Christian Hawaiian religion through an analysis of 1 the position of the ruler in society, cult, and ideology; 2 the societal structure in which these religions are found; 3 the idea of a ruler sacrifice; 4 incestuous relationships and their ideological implications; and, finally, 5 the idea of a double rulership.

Poetic Edda

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[In the following essay, Hollander examines the problem of dating the Eddic poems and considers their relation to paganism and Christianity.] “Concerning the.

Don’t have an account? Paul Acker discusses two Icelandic ballads in light of the medieval antecedents on which they are based, as a way of assessing the extent to which the ballads can be regarded as medieval. The ballads are not known to have been written down until the middle of the seventeenth century, although their analogues in Denmark and England were recorded in manuscript a century before, and in print not long after.

The dating of the Icelandic ballads is therefore quite uncertain. Fordham Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter. Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

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Anonymous Poem Meaning

Published April 15, Or if not, you can just read this article about poetry with unnecessary swearing. I know you love that shit. The Edda is the name given to a collection of poems, most of which only exist in a single manuscript from around

Poetic Formulas in Late Medieval Icelandic Folk Poetry: The Case of Vambarljóð. H Þorgeirsson The dating of Eddic poetry–evidence from alliteration.

Poetic Edda is the modern attribution for an unnamed collection of Old Norse anonymous poems, which is different from the Edda written by Snorri Sturluson. Several versions exist, all primarily of text from the Icelandic medieval manuscript known as the Codex Regius , which contains 31 poems. From the earlyth century onwards it has had a powerful influence on later Scandinavian literatures – not only through its stories, but also through the visionary force and the dramatic quality of many of the poems.

It has also become an inspiring model for many later innovations in poetic meter, particularly in Nordic languages , offering many varied examples of terse, stress-based metrical schemes that lack any final rhyme but instead use alliterative devices and strongly-concentrated imagery. At the time, versions of the Edda were known in Iceland, but scholars speculated that there once was another Edda, an Elder Edda , which contained the pagan poems that Snorri quotes in his Edda.

When Codex Regius was discovered, it seemed that the speculation had proved correct, but modern scholarly research has shown that the Edda was likely written first and that the two were, at most, connected by a common source. For centuries it was stored in the Royal Library in Copenhagen , but in it was returned to Iceland. The Eddic poems are composed in alliterative verse. The language of the poems is usually clear and relatively unadorned.

Kennings are often employed, though they do not arise as frequently, nor are they as complex, as those found in skaldic poetry. Like most early poetry, the Eddic poems were minstrel poems, passed orally from singer to singer and from poet to poet for centuries.

The Art of Viking Poetry: A How-To (Includes Kennings)