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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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Wit and Wisdom: The Worldview of the Old Norse-Icelandic Riddles and Their Relationship to Eddic Poetry

Wit and Wisdom: The Worldview of the Old Norse-Icelandic Riddles and Their Relationship to Eddic Poetry

Chapter:
(p.114) Wit and Wisdom: The Worldview of the Old Norse-Icelandic Riddles and Their Relationship to Eddic Poetry
Source:
Eddic, Skaldic, and Beyond
Author(s):

Hannah Burrows

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823257812.003.0009

Hannah Burrows discusses the riddles found in Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks, a thirteenth-century fornaldarsaga. Little scholarly attention has been directed toward the riddles from the Old Norse-Icelandic tradition. Hervarar saga contains thirty seven riddles in eddic meters, incorporated into the prose narrative as an exchange of wisdom between King Heiðrekr and the god Óðinn. Burrows argues that the riddles were collected by the saga author (or redactor) who then wrote this episode for the express purpose of incorporating them into the narrative. The riddles resist categorization and classification. Burrows calls them “beyond eddic.” They are composed in “eddic” meters, but they also have affinity with skaldic poetry. Burrows shows how the thematic content of the riddles situates them both within and outside the eddic tradition, and her detailed study of the ordering of the riddles in relationship to one another offers clues to the intentions of the saga author who inserted them into his prosimetrical narrative. Those interested in the wider medieval tradition of riddling will welcome her discussion of how this Nordic manifestation fits into it.

Keywords:   riddles, Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks, fornaldarsaga, eddic meters, skaldic poetry, Óðinn, prosimetrical narrative, riddling, Hannah Burrows

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