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Eddic, Skaldic, and BeyondPoetic Variety in Medieval Iceland and Norway$
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Martin Chase

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823257812

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823257812.001.0001

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Devotional Poetry at the End of the Middle Ages in Iceland

Devotional Poetry at the End of the Middle Ages in Iceland

(p.136) Devotional Poetry at the End of the Middle Ages in Iceland
Eddic, Skaldic, and Beyond

Martin Chase

Fordham University Press

Martin Chase draws attention to the extensive body of Icelandic devotional poetry from the period preceding and immediately following the Reformation (officially 1550 in Iceland). This body of poetry, sometimes referred to as helgikvæði or trúarkvæði, has received little scholarly attention. Jón Helgason’s monumental Íslenzk miðaldakvæði is a notable exception, but there is still much poetry that has never even been edited. The essay provides a survey of the extant texts and contextualizes them in a genre that, while having affinities with traditional skaldic poetry, the contemporary Icelandic rímur, and European (notably English) devotional poetry, has its own distinguishing characteristics. The essay makes a case for the literary merit of these poems and underlines the need for new editions and studies.

Keywords:   devotional poetry, helgikvæði, trúarkvæði, Íslenzk miðaldakvæði, rímur, skaldic poetry, Reformation, Martin Chase

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