Poetic Edda

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Poetic Edda


(also Saemund’s Edda, Elder Edda, or simply Edda), a collection of ancient Icelandic lays. The Poetic Edda survives in a 13th-century manuscript; its compiler is unknown. The lays long existed only in oral form, and the date of their composition remains in dispute. Several have been preserved in other ancient manuscripts.

Some of the lays are cast in the form of prophecies, apothegms, or theatrical presentations based on mythology; others are simple narratives. The mythological lays, of which Völuspa (The Seeress’ Prophecy) is the most important, are the only source of their kind on pagan mythology. Many of the heroic lays derive from south Germanic folk legends. Although the lays show the influence of different periods, their ideology and style indicate that the Poetic Edda antedates the ancient Germanic epics.


Edda, die Lieder des Codex Regius nebst verwandten Denkmälern. Edited by G. Neckel. Fourth edition edited by H. Kuhn. Heidelberg, 1962.
Eddadigte ungivet af Jón Helgason, vols. 1–3. Copenhagen, 1952–64.
In Russian translation:
Starshaia Edda: Drevneislandskie pesni o bogakh i geroiakh. Afterword by M. I. Steblin-Kamenskii. Moscow-Leningrad, 1963. (Contains bibliography.)


Khoisler, A. Germanskii geroicheskii epos i skazanie o Nibelungakh. Moscow, 1960.
Meletinskii, E. M. “Edda” i rannie formy eposa. Moscow, 1968.


References in periodicals archive ?
Investigating the presentation of compilations of wisdom in Old Norse eddic poetry, Schorn looks at how it was that the dozen poems scholars might classify--however tentatively--as wisdom poetry legitimize and put across their content.
Stefan Einarsson saw the pula as belonging to the origins of poetry and regarded the "list of gods, elves, dwarfs, tribes" common in eddic poetry as a "mnemonic device" (Einarsson 38).
This is a formal and functional study of the three distinct meters of Old Norse eddic poetry.
They represent the diverse areas in which he has worked: Sagas of Icelanders to kings' sagas, eddic poetry to reception studies, and, in the longest single contribution to the volume, the 78-page 'The Riddles of the Rok Stone: A Structural Approach' (1977), runology.
Laghamon or 'Lawman' is a Scandinavian name; this onomastic fact, the strong connections between Old Norse-Icelandic and Old and early Middle English language and literature, and the fact that Laghamon is a poet working in an alliterative Germanic meter and poetic tradition, all make it appropriate to point out that the comparison of the enemies of the hero to goats driven mad by fear occurs in Eddic poetry.
Skaldic poetry was contemporary with Eddic poetry but differed from it in meter, diction, and style.
Two essays focus on Eddic poetry: Judy Quinn traces the triangular relationships in The Lament of Oddrun; Rudolf Simek reads the fantastic elements of Eddic poetry in twelfth-century context.