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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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Skáldskaparmál As A Tool For Composition Of Pseudonymous Skaldic Poetry

Skáldskaparmál As A Tool For Composition Of Pseudonymous Skaldic Poetry

Chapter:
(p.62) Skáldskaparmál As A Tool For Composition Of Pseudonymous Skaldic Poetry
Source:
Eddic, Skaldic, and Beyond
Author(s):

Mikael Males

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823257812.003.0005

Mikael Males investigates the idea of the Snorra Edda as an antiquarian or archaizing text. He sees Snorri’s work not only as an archival collection of examples of an admired tradition, but also as a tool for “the creation of an imposing literary past.” The saga authors of the late Middle Ages liked to use the form known as prosimetrum, the insertion of stanzas of poetry into prose texts, where the poetry could either have a dramatic function (in family sagas) or serve as authentication (in historical sagas). Males looks at a variety of examples of verse in the sagas and shows how, in many instances, poetry that is in fact contemporary with the prose narrative has been made to look archaic with the help of the guidelines of the Snorra Edda. Males reconsiders Snorri’s authority as a mythographer and suggests that if Snorri’s intention was to show how to compose new poetry that looks old, we should not expect a high degree of authenticity from his mythic narratives: Snorri’s authorial stance is more creative than preservationist, and his accounts of the gods are meant as examples of how to archaize rather than as genuine historical witnesses.

Keywords:   Snorri Sturluson, Snorra Edda, prosimetrum, skaldic poetry, family sagas, historical sagas, mythographer, archaizing poetry, antiquarian, Mikael Males

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