Skald

(redirected from Skaldic verse)
Also found in: Dictionary.
Related to Skaldic verse: Skaldic Poetry, Eddic poetry

Skald

 

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.

WORKS

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

REFERENCES

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.

M. I. STEBLIN-KAMENSKII [23–1462–]

References in periodicals archive ?
Royal power and navy in Norway and Denmark around 1100' (2005) uses skaldic verse and Latin sources to elucidate a slightly later period--mainly in fact the eleventh century.
She freely admits to having read the poetry in translation and in making careful use of commentaries by Finnur Jonsson and others, and when she quotes skaldic verses it is in Danish translation.
32) The standard edition of the Hakonarmal is in Finnur Jonsson's anthology of Skaldic verse, Den oldnorsk-islandske skjaldedigtning (Copenhagen: Kommissionen for det Arnamagnaeanske Legat, 1912-1915; reprinted, Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger, 1967 and 1973).
Hakon's relish for battle and bloodlust resonate throughout the saga and in the skaldic verses in particular.
I suggested earlier in this essay that legalities and skaldic verse can be productively compared, and Gudrun Nordal's observations on the role of verse in Laxdcela are interesting here.
Skaldic verse in Laxdcela saga--or the absence of skaldic verse--shows that the author is not looking for cultural associations in the world of Icelandic indigenous traditions, but instead he is looking to the conventions of courtly romance.
42) We might expect to find a strong interest in the law in sagas associated with the Sturlung circle, given the legal connections of this family, but Laxdcela saga proves that this is not necessarily the case--parallel to Gudrun Nordal's observation that the same saga seems to have found an audience untrained in skaldic verse, even within the skaldic milieu of the Sturlungs.
Although the inclusion of skaldic verse in Islendingasogur narrative, has, like legalities, not always been to the tastes of modern audiences, few today would claim that it adds nothing to the text and could therefore just as well be removed.
Guorun Nordal, Tools of Literacy: The Role of Skaldic Verse in Icelandic Textual Culture of the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2001), p.
This may be because the predilection of the audiences of these latter sagas was for skaldic verse, not for legalities; and/or that the thematic focus of these sagas, as skald biographies, gives less prominence to legal subject matter.
Compare the invention or re-attribution of skaldic verse to characters in the Islendingasogur as part of the narrative strategy (see further, for example, Preben Meulengracht Serensen, 'The Prosimetrum Form 1: Verses as the Voice of the Past', in Skaldsagas: Text, Vocation and Desire in the Icelandic Sagas of Poets, ed.
For a recent study of the effects of skaldic verse in saga narrative, see Heather O'Donoghue, Skaldic Verse and the Poetics of Saga Narrative (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005).