Skald

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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–]

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Dust Of Jerusalem: Your feet on the old stones of Jerusalem/felt heat rising from the earth/as if the flames of history/licked just beneath the surface//Something incendiary pushed tremors upward/so that meaning could not be denied//You tried to move forward into the future/but were pulled to your knees/which also felt the fire that reached/for the sky and beyond the sky//from the dark power at the center:/you were in Jerusalem//where each stone burns/to tell its story where each molecule/of dust brims with a radiance/that scalds.