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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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Love and Death in the Icelandic Ballad

Love and Death in the Icelandic Ballad

Chapter:
(p.150) Love and Death in the Icelandic Ballad
Source:
Eddic, Skaldic, and Beyond
Author(s):

Paul Acker

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823257812.003.0011

Paul Acker discusses two Icelandic ballads in light of the medieval antecedents on which they are based, as a way of assessing the extent to which the ballads can be regarded as medieval. The ballads are not known to have been written down until the middle of the seventeenth century, although their analogues in Denmark and England were recorded in manuscript a century before, and in print not long after. The dating of the Icelandic ballads is therefore quite uncertain. The ballad Gunnars kvæði has roots in Njáls saga, and Tristrams kvæði in the riddarasaga (chivalric romance) Tristrams saga ok Ísöndar. Acker finds that Gunnars kvæði (like Njáls saga) is highly original, especially in its attitude towards women. Tristrams kvæði, on the other hand, like Tristrams saga (a Norwegian translation of an Anglo-Norman poem), shows layers of accrued convention, from the chivalric tradition through common ballad motifs.

Keywords:   Icelandic ballads, manuscript tradition, dating, Gunnars kvæði, Njáls saga, Tristrams kvæði, riddarasaga, chivalric romance, Tristrams saga ok Ísöndar, ballad motifs, attitude towards women, Paul Acker

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