Skald

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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 ?
While Snorri himself was clearly an advocate of skaldic poetry, he does warn us in the final section of his work, the "Hattatal," that certain uses of kennings are defective or excessive, i.
This was a Skaldic composition, purportedly composed ex tempore as the ninth-century legendary Danish king was succumbing to deadly venom in a Northumbrian snake pit.
In it Bunting tells his autobiography but also traces the lineage of poetry in the North back to the Viking Skaldic tradition and the Celtic bards that they went to war with.
Because of the need to take so many factors into account, programs tended to evolve in a more haphazard way than the initial topic might have suggested: while it might be possible to elicit some papers prescribed by both period and topic, the desire to hear, say, Priestley on Tennyson or George Johnston on Skaldic metaphor might well entice a chairman to forget about the overall theme of "Man and Society.
Those scholars who were assigned such vast topics as the family sagas (Vesteinn Olason), skaldic verse (Diana Whaley), or romance (Jurg Glauser) are remarkably successful in keeping a balance between descriptive generalities, critical re-evaluations, and in Whaley's case providing a thoroughgoing demonstration of the nature and peculiarities of skaldic verse.
Of particular interest is the meta-textual reference to the kenning, a figure commonly used in Old Norse, Old English and Skaldic poetry--of which Borges was an avid reader and occasional translator.
Salverson melds the Norse Sagas of her ancestors with the Anglo-Saxon canon, quoting by turns Skaldic Eddas, the Old Testament and Shakespeare, Burns and Longfellow.
He did not do so, but celebrated her beauty in Old Norse stanzas, as too did his followers, the skaldic poets Armod and Oddi the Little.
Moreover, most of the latter have involved languages and traditions of versification which are now extinct (Vedic Sanskrit, Skaldic Icelandic, Bardic Irish, Kalevala Finnish, pre-sixteenth century Latvian) and only a few are claimed to be found in living systems (modern French, Turkish, Mandarin, and German rhyme and Irish alliteration) and in any event almost all of the examples cited, living or dead, have already been refuted (Hock 1980, Manaster Ramer 1981, 1994, 1995, MSS a, b).
The Englyn and Drott-Kvaett (actually the Drottkvaett) are both metrically complicated, Skaldic forms.
Hollander (1968:4-6) notes that the Skaldic form originated in Norway and was developed chiefly by Icelandic poets (Skalds) from the ninth to the tenth centuries.