A History of Old Norse Poetry and Poetics by Margaret Clunies Ross

By Margaret Clunies Ross

A background of previous Norse Poetry and Poetics is the 1st publication in English to house the dual topics of previous Norse poetry and a few of the vernacular treatises on local poetry that have been this kind of conspicuous characteristic of medieval highbrow lifestyles in Iceland and the Orkneys from the mid-twelfth to the fourteenth centuries. Its target is to offer a transparent description of the wealthy poetic culture of early Scandinavia, fairly in Iceland, the place it reached its zenith, and to illustrate the social contexts that favoured poetic composition, from the oral societies of the early Viking Age in Norway and its colonies to the religious compositions of literate Christian clerics in fourteenth-century Iceland. the 2 dominant poetic modes, eddic and skaldic, are analysed, and their quite a few types and matters are illustrated with newly selected examples. The booklet units out the prose contexts within which most elderly Norse poetry has been preserved and discusses difficulties of interpretation that come up a result of poetry's mode of transmission. through the e-book, the writer hyperlinks indigenous idea with perform, starting with the pre-Christian ideology of poets as favoured by means of the god ? lodge and concluding with the Christian inspiration simple kind most sensible conveys the poet's message.

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Stylistic qualities, too, though they cannot be relied on in all cases to differentiate eddic- from skaldic-style poetry, are a good guide. Full-blown dróttkvætt is clearly different in a number of ways from traditional fornyrñislag, but many half-way situations lie between them, and these are often sensitive to indigenous genres or subgenres, which cut across the eddic–skaldic divide of modern scholarship. Earlier in this survey, we saw that poetry associated with prophecy and didacticism usually adopted eddic measures, even though some of it was not of great antiquity.

It went by the name Ragnarsdrápa (‘Long Poem with a Refrain for Ragnarr’), according to Snorri’s Edda and Skáldatal. 900 with a descriptive title attested by Snorri is Haustlõng (‘Autumn Long’). Presumably its composer, Ãjóñólfr of Hvinir, took a whole autumn season to perfect it. Einarr Helgason skálaglamm (‘scales tinkle’), a poet active in the late tenth century, composed a poem called Vellekla (‘Lack of Gold’), for Earl Hákon Sigurñarson. This title is very likely to have been an indirect reference to the skald’s feeling that Hákon had not rewarded him handsomely enough for his poetry.

Criteria internal to the poem itself, including an opening address to the patron or audience, a call for silence, the development of subjects and images over a number of stanzas and the presence of refrains are conventional indications of the existence of an extended poem rather than a collection of lausavísur. Many of the terms by which these distinguishing features were named are well attested in the medieval record (see Kreutzer 1977: 207–14 for a survey). On purely formal grounds, a fundamental distinction was made between different kinds of extended poem on the basis of internal structural features, the chief of which was the presence or absence of a refrain or stef (lit.

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