Poetic Edda

(redirected from Eddic poem)

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 ?
Shippey points out that the "riddling talk" recalls the Eddic poem Fafnismal, where Sigurd "will not give his name, but replies riddlingly, calling himself both motherless and fatherless" (36).
Furthermore, while there are some early skaldic poets who make less than average use of it, there are no poets after the early eleventh century in whose work its frequency is above the average for the whole corpus, Brymskvida shows heavier use of it than any other eddic poem, and by a long margin; this would seem to suggest a very early date.
If this is correct, it would hardly matter whether those early audiences were heathen or Christian, and this may also be true of several other eddic poems.
The long-awaited second volume of Ursula Dronke's edition of eddic poems has now appeared.
Other chapters deal with the eddic poems concerning the education of Siguro and with Old English wisdom poetry, whilst an impressive cluster of chapters at the end of the book considers both Norse and English traditions together, and discusses the function of gnomic material in nature poetry, elegy and narrative verse.