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

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

By Margaret Clunies Ross

A historical past of previous Norse Poetry and Poetics is the 1st ebook in English to house the dual topics of outdated Norse poetry and a number of the vernacular treatises on local poetry that have been one of these conspicuous function of medieval highbrow lifestyles in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, quite 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 kinds and matters are illustrated with newly selected examples. The e-book units out the prose contexts during which most elderly Norse poetry has been preserved and discusses difficulties of interpretation that come up a result of poetry's mode of transmission. during the ebook, the writer hyperlinks indigenous conception with perform, starting with the pre-Christian ideology of poets as favoured by way of the god ? hotel and concluding with the Christian proposal undeniable variety top conveys the poet's message.

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Sample text

The personae of raven and poet seem to merge in this poem, to the extent that it can be reconstructed from the manuscripts in which it occurs (see Fidjestøl 1993b). e. 10 The variety of titles reviewed here is exemplified early in the skaldic tradition. The Norwegian Bragi Boddason the Old, the earliest skald whose poetry has been preserved, is said to have composed a drápa (a sequence of verses with a refrain or stef) for a patron named Ragnarr, possibly the legendary ninth-century Viking leader Ragnarr loñbrók.

The stef usually comprised a recurring couplet at the end of a helmingr or full stanza that separated a passage of several verses, though it could vary in length from two to four lines, normally presented as a unit. Occasionally the stef was dispersed in single lines over two or more stanzas, and was then referred to as a klofastef (‘split refrain’) or a rekstef (‘driven, chased refrain’), hence the title Rekstefja of a poem by Hallar-Steinn, which he himself bestowed on his creation (stanza 1/4).

25 This statement requires qualification in one respect; during the period after the conversion to Christianity (the eleventh and early twelfth centuries), skalds tended to avoid the use of kennings because they were felt to be too closely connected with paganism, and concentrated more on elaborate syntactic fragmentation. However, from about 1150 new Christian kennings came into use and, in what one might term the antiquarian period of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, kennings with pagan content were again brought into use for political and religious purposes.

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