Koch, Ludovica. Gli scaldi

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  • Author: Koch, Ludovica
  • Title: Gli scaldi. Poesia cortese di epoca vichinga
  • Place, Publisher: Torino: Einaudi
  • Year: 1984
  • E-text:
  • Reference: Koch, Ludovica. Gli scaldi. Poesia cortese di epoca vichinga. Torino: Einaudi, 1984.

  • Key words: poetry (kveðskapur)



In this handbook the artistry of the skalds is thoroughly examined according to the following thematic cores: ‘laudatory and slanderous poetry’, ‘poetry about poetry’, ‘poetry about old age’, ‘love and envy poetry’, ‘travels, adventures, tempests, battles’ and ‘dreams and visions’. Among the poets rated here, Egil is characterized for his ability to represent the unimaginable. Some of the poems he performs in Egil's saga are analyzed and commented, namely, the slanderous stanzas composed for Erik Blood-axe and queen Gunnhild, the stanza about the killing of Bard, Arínbjarnarkviða, the stanzas in Egil’s old age, Sonatorrek, the two love stanzas about Asgerd and finally some of the stanzas about Egil’s unique adventures.


Koch rannsakar listfengi dróttkvæðanna af kostgæfni og skiptir þeim niður í eftirfarandi efnisflokka: "lof- og níðkvæði", "kvæði um skáldskaparlistina", "kvæði um elli", "kvæði um ást og afbrýði", "kvæði um ævintýri, óveður og bardaga" og loks "draumkvæði og vitranir". Agli er hrósað fyrir að geta varpað ljósi það sem erfitt er að gera sér í hugarlund. Nokkur kvæðanna sem hann flytur í Egils sögu eru greind og mat lagt á þau, þ.e. níðvísur hans um Eirík konung og Gunnhildi, vísan um dráp Bárðar, Arinbjarnarkviða, ellivísurnar, Sonatorrek, vísurnar sem hann yrkir um Ásgerði og loks nokkrar þeirra vísna sem fjalla um einstæð ævintýri Egils.

See also


Chapter 55: Jörð grær, en vér verðum: "In one and the same verse the impassive re-growing or, better said, the endless growing in nature is opposed to […] the personal revolt, in a cry that is soon broken off and taken up again after a wide gap of almost two verses «en vér verðum […] hylja harm»." (Italian text: “C’è opposizione, nello stesso verso, fra l’impassibile rivegetare, anzi il vegetare mai interrotto della natura [...] e la rivolta soggettiva, in un urlo subito troncato e ripreso dopo una lunga lacuna di quasi due versi. «noi…seppelliremo il dolore».” (p. 11).)

Chapter 80: Emk hraðkvæðr: "Egil boasts about [...] being able to compose swiftly. Ease and swiftness, not least the originality of the artistic creation, are tokens of the high-rank poet. Egil’s stanza is never […] circumscribed or tendentially circular […but] elastic and movable. The discourse develops in a cascade from the thread of semantic- and sound-associations, while being hastened by the enjambements and barely restrained by reservations and doubts. Egil’s poems move in time, they let air filter in between [the verses] and display their previous and later stage, their solutions and their premises." (Italian text: “Egill si vanta [...] di «saper fare versi in fretta». Facilità e rapidità, non meno che l’invenzione originale, sono i contrassegni del poeta d’alto rango. La stanza di Egill non è mai [...] un oggetto chiuso, tendenzialmente circolare [...bensì] elastica e mobile. Il discorso progredisce a cascata sul filo delle associazioni semantiche e sonore, accelerato dagli enjambement, trattenuto appena da riserve e dubbi. I poemetti di Egill si muovono nel tempo, lasciano filtrare l’aria, mostrano il loro prima e il loro poi, soluzioni e premesse” (pp. 111-12).)

Chapter 88: orð mín konungr forðum: "The splendid bygone time in which Egil is absorbed in thought constitutes his true identity, while being concealed by his present misery. The two parts of the stanza juxtapose – cruelly but triumphantly – the tangible social personality (the weak old man who is ridiculed by the women) and the interior one." (Italian text: “Il tempo lontano, splendido, in cui Egill è ancora tutto assorto costituisce la sua vera identità, sotto le spoglie della miseria presente. Le due emistrofe giustappongono, crudelmente ma vittoriosamente, la personalità visibile, sociale (il vecchio fragile deriso dalle donne) e quella interiore” (p. xvii).)


  • Written by: Martina Ceolin
  • Icelandic translation: Jón Karl Helgason
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