By Margaret Clunies Ros
This can be the 1st e-book in English to accommodate the dual topics of previous Norse poetry and some of the vernacular treatises on local poetry that have been a conspicuous characteristic of medieval highbrow lifestyles in Iceland and the Orkneys from the mid-twelfth to the fourteenth centuries.
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Extra info for A History of Old Norse Poetry and Poetics
Drápa af Maríugrát 37/2). 16 Branda (acc. pl. from brandr, usually used in the plural) is translated here ‘prow’ and 38 technical terms ¼goddess½ of the ale-ship [drinking horn ³ woman], for the beautiful forest of the bowl [woman]. Stál (lit. ‘steel’) or inlay of intercalary or parenthetical clauses within the half-stanza was an admired syntactic feature of skaldic verse, and one that characterised lausavísur as well as extended poems. An example of stál is in the helmingr by Hallvarñr Háreksblesi quoted in Chapter 1; the feature in this instance allows the poet to underline the destructive battle-power of King Knútr by introducing an additional clause that repeats and so deepens the meaning of the main clause.
G. Haukr Valdísarson’s 36 technical terms valued of the skaldic kinds, because of its formality and elaborate construction. Its name may indeed refer to its defining structural feature if, as Sigurñur Nordal suggested (1931–2: 148), it derives from the phrase kvæñi drepit stefjum (‘a poem set with refrains’). Both the indigenous terms stef and mél lay stress on time intervals, suggesting the movement from one section of the drápa to another and the absolute time taken in the recitation were important features differentiating drápur from other kinds of skaldic poem.
Most poems with titles, such as those reviewed in the preceding section, are extended poems; lausavísur do not normally have titles. In many cases of extended poems, the prose text also gives information about the poet, the circumstances of composition and the formal status of the poem itself. For example, Einarr Skúlason’s poem Geisli is introduced at 11 These criteria are set out in detail in chapter 2, ‘Reconstruction of Poems’, in the Editors’ Manual for the new edition of the corpus of skaldic poetry (Whaley et al.
A History of Old Norse Poetry and Poetics by Margaret Clunies Ros