Guðrún Nordal. Ars metrica and the composition of Egils saga

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  • Author: Guðrún Nordal
  • Title: Ars metrica and the composition of Egil’s saga
  • Published in: Egil, the Viking Poet: New Approaches to Egil’s Saga
  • Editors: Laurence de Looze, Jón Karl Helgason, Russell Poole and Torfi H. Tulinius
  • Place, Publisher: Toronto: University of Toronto Press
  • Year: 2015
  • Pages: 40-53
  • E-text:
  • Reference: Guðrún Nordal. “Ars metrica and the composition of Egils saga.” Egil, the Viking Poet: New Approaches to Egil’s Saga. Eds. Laurence de Looze, Jón Karl Helgason, Russell Poole and Torfi H. Tulinius, pp. 40-53. Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 2015.

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Contents

Annotation

Guðrún Nordal analyzes the strategic use of non-standard variations of dróttkvætt (the court verse-form) in Egil’s Saga as a way to link key episodes in the story. Egil’s Saga contains five thematically connected instances of háttleysa (verse-form composed without regular internal rhyme), each of them representing Egil as a master-poet at ease talking to women and a young, inexperienced poet. Another four episodes of the story are linked with dunhent (“echoing rhyme” where the last word of the line is partially repeated at the beginning of the next one), used to deliver message concerning such sensitive topics as inheritance and birthright. Taking into consideration diversity and sophistication of verse-forms in Egil’s Saga, Nordal claims the saga to be “a worthy counterpart of the poetological and grammatical treatises” (p. 50).

Lýsing

Guðrún Nordal gerir grein fyrir markvissri notkun óvenjulegra tilbrigða dróttkvæðs háttar í Egils sögu sem aðferðar til að tengja saman lykilviðburði sögunnar. Í Eglu eru til fimm tilvik af háttleysu (kvæðisformi sem er án reglulegs innríms). Hvert þeirra lýsir Agli sem afslöppuðu meistaraskáldi sem er ýmist að tala við konur eða ungt, reynslulaust skáld. Aðrar fjórar vísur innan sögunnar eru tengdar með hættinum dunhent („endurómandi rím“, þar sem síðasta orð braglínu er endurtekið að nokkru leyti í byrjun næstu línu). Dunhent er notað til að fjalla um viðkvæm efni eins og erfðir og frumburðarrétt. Guðrún varpar ljósi á fjölbreytni og hlutverk kvæðanna í Egils sögu sem hún segir vera „verðug hliðstæða skáldskapar- og málfræðirita“ íslenskra miðalda (s. 50).


See also

  • Guðrún Nordal. "Ars metrica and the composition of Egils saga." Scandinavia and Christian Europe in the Middle Ages. Papers of The 12th International Saga Conference Bonn/Germany, 28th July-2nd August 2003, pp. 179-86. Eds. Rudolf Simek, Judith Meurer. Bonn: Universität Bonn, 2003.

References

Chapter 31: Síþögla gaf söglum: “Egil delivers two verses in this episode and they are both in regular dróttkvætt, except for the first line in the second verse. [...] The story of the boy and his grandfather is an example of the ideal reciprocal relationship between the court poet and his patron, which will not be acted out in Egil's relations with the Norwegian king” (p. 44).

Chapter 44: Ristum rún: “This verse differs from the previous one [...] in being almost a perfect háttleysa, i.e., composed without regular internal rhyme. [...] The verse-form is a cue; it carries an implicit signal to the audience. In all, the saga contains five occurences of háttleysa, and I suggest that these instances are thematically linked” (p. 45).

Links

  • Written by: Iana Shemetova
  • Icelandic translation: Iana Shemetova
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