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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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The Genesis of Strengleikar: Scribes, Translators, and Place of Origin

The Genesis of Strengleikar: Scribes, Translators, and Place of Origin

(p.31) The Genesis of Strengleikar: Scribes, Translators, and Place of Origin
Eddic, Skaldic, and Beyond

Ingvil Brügger Budal

Fordham University Press

The Strengleikar, the subject of Ingvil Brügger Budal’s essay, are prose translations of French lais into Old Norse. Should they be regarded as poetry? They belong to a poetic canon in French literature, but how do they fit into the Old Norse tradition? Brügger Budal argues that there is an English connection. Strengleikar is extant in a single Norwegian manuscript that dates from about 1270; the text mentions King Hákon Hákonarson as the commissioning patron. How (and where) did French chivalric romances come into the hands of someone who could render them into Old Norse? Brügger Budal’s textual analysis and exploration of a possible context lead her to challenge the scholarly hypothesis that Strengleikar are the work of a group of translators working in Norway, perhaps from Old French originals brought north by visiting French minstrels. She argues rather that the translations were made by a single Norwegian scribe residing in England. Her study of contemporary documents that mention Norwegian scribes working in England brings evidence that the translator was most likely at Reading Abbey or Oxford, and she offers a list of potential candidates.

Keywords:   Strengleikar, King Hákon Hákonarson, prose translations, French chivalric romances, Norwegian scribes, Reading Abbey, Oxford, Ingvil Brügger Budal

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