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a Norwegian or Icelandic poet of the ninth through 13th centuries. The poetry of the skalds has survived as fragments in the 13th-century Icelandic literary classics the Prose Edda and the sagas. Before being written down, Skaldic poetry existed in oral tradition. The poetry of about 250 skalds is known. The earliest skalds were Norwegians. The most famous skald was the Icelander Egill Skallagrímsson (tenth century).

The skalds composed eulogistic, derogatory, and occasional verse. Their poetry generally set down contemporary facts and hence is regarded as a reliable historical source. For mannered intricacy of form, skaldic poetry is without parallel in world literature. The meter is strict and complex and the language abounds in complicated periphrases (kennings) and poetic synonyms (heitis); phrases are intertwined with one another. Skaldic poetry is difficult to interpret.


Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning, 1A-2A (manuscript text); 1B-2B (corrected text with Danish translation). Edited by F. Jónsson. Copenhagen, 1908-15.


Steblin-Kamenskii, M. I. “Proiskhozhdenie poezii skal’dov.” In Skandinavskii sbornik, fasc. 3. Tallinn, 1958.
De Vries, J. Altnordische Literaturgeschichte, 2nd ed., vols. 1-2. Berlin, 1964-67.


References in periodicals archive ?
40) Heather O'Donoghue (in a lecture at the IMC in Leeds, 14 July 1999) has drawn attention to the fact that skaldic poetry was not an inseparable part of the kings' sagas from the beginning.
In literary terms, they located the essence of their ethical system in literature of the pre-Settlement period: in grammatical treatises, which theorized skaldic poetry as a repository of the past, in skaldic poetry itself, and especially in Eddic verse, for 'heltedigtningen fremstiller islaendingesagaernes vaerdisystem i dets ekstremer' (the heroic poems express an extreme version of the value system of the Icelander's sagas, p.
This two-volume corpus presents most of Icelandic skaldic poetry of Christian devotional content that was composed in the 12th-15th centuries--28 poems in all.
Its interest in visualizing key scenes is akin to the emphasis on eyewitness accounts which led historical writers to value the testimony of skaldic poetry, for instance.