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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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Steinunn Finnsdóttir and Snækóngs rímur

Steinunn Finnsdóttir and Snækóngs rímur

(p.162) Steinunn Finnsdóttir and Snækóngs rímur
Eddic, Skaldic, and Beyond

Shaun F. D. Hughes

Fordham University Press

Shaun F. D. Hughes highlights here the earliest known Icelandic woman poet. He guides us through her Snækóngs rímur, providing translations that make the poem more accessible. Steinunn is not an author who remains in the background. Her mannsöngvar are highly self-conscious and highly gendered. She repeatedly calls attention to her gender, often by using a feigned modesty topos, though she occasionally breaks out of this pose and demands more respect from men. She likewise calls attention to the gender of her audience, whom she imagines to be women and children. Hughes shows how her poetic diction, for example her kennings for poetry, reflect her female authorial voice. He observes that the poem shows an awareness of the marginalization of women’s creativity and makes a call for something to be done about it, and suggests that it may well be that further stanzas on this and similar topics lie buried in the mass of unpublished (and undervalued) material from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Equally interesting is the thematic content of Snækóngs rímur, where the characters are led through such a complex series of gender changes that, as Hughes says, the category of gender becomes increasingly difficult to sustain.

Keywords:   Steinunn Finnsdóttir, woman poet, Snækóngs rímur, rímur, kennings, poetic diction, gender, women, marginalization, seventeenth century, eighteenth century

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