Skald

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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 ?
To him, works like Agrip constituted a core, an essence that had to be amplified and made into a complex web, or a quilt -- a work of art, a text that by its nature lacks unity according to modern standards, as does a nykrat skaldic verse.
41) The subject of skaldic verse in the saga narrative is slowly becoming one of the most important fields of saga studies.
In Agrip, for instance, there are very few skaldic verses, whereas in Morkinskinna there are over 200.
The first prayers in skaldic verse are incidental details, almost asides, at the beginning or end of poems of secular praise of rulers.
First, it attempts to regain military self-respect by accepting the loss of sexual honour -- which is impossible, because the two are inextricably linked (hence, for example, the many skaldic verses by men which invoke a woman as approving audience for boasts about military exploits).
Then there are the many skaldic verses quoted throughout the saga.
25) The Rognvaldr episodes in Orkneyinga saga already show a tendency towards the fictionalizing process by which skaldic verses became an integral part of saga entertainment.
But Poole's vision of skaldic verse before it was conserved, restored and de-contextualized by saga authors is a compelling and stimulating one.