Essays on Eddic Poetry
Published: April 2014© 2014
392 Pages, 5.90 x 9.03 x 0.88 in, 1 figure
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Essays on Eddic Poetry presents a selection of important articles on Old Norse literature by noted medievalist John McKinnell. While McKinnell’s work addresses many of the perennial issues in the study of Old Norse, this collection has a special focus on the interplay between heathen and Christian world-views in the poems.
Among the texts examined are Hávamál, which includes an elegantly cynical poem about Óðinn’s sexual intrigues and a more mystical one about his self-sacrifice on the world-tree in order to gain magical wisdom; Vǫlundarkviða, which recounts an elvish smith’s revenge for his captivity and maiming; and Hervararkviða, where the heroine bravely but foolishly raises her dead father to demand the deadly sword Tyrfingr from him.
Originally published between 1988 and 2008, these twelve essays cover a wide range of mythological and heroic poems and have been revised and updated to reflect the latest scholarship.
1. ‘Vǫluspá and the Feast of Easter’
2. ‘On Heiðr and Gullveig’*
3. ‘The Evolution of Hávamál’*
4. ‘Hávamál B: a Reconstructed Poem of Sexual Intrigue’*
5. ‘Wisdom from Dead Relatives: the Ljóðatal Section of Hávamál’*
6. ‘The Paradox of Vafþrúðnismál’*
7. ‘Motivation and Meaning in Lokasenna’*
8. ‘Myth as Therapy: the Function of Þrymskviða’
9. ‘Vǫlundarkviða: Origins and Interpretation’*
10. ‘Female Reactions to the death of Sigurðr’
11. ‘Two Sex Goddesses: Þorgerðr Hǫlgabrúðr and Freyja in Hyndluljóð’*
12. ‘The Trouble with Father: Hervararkviða and the adaptation of traditional story-patterns’*
Bibliography and Abbreviations
“The articles in Essays on Eddic Poetry are important works, both for what they achieve and as guides and surveys of contemporary Eddic scholarship.”Thomas D. Hill, Department of English, Cornell University
“Donata Kick and John D. Shafer have done us a great favor by assembling John McKinnell’s work on Eddic poetry in one, easily accessible volume. Updated and revised, the essays remain classic statements on their subject matter.”Robert Bjork, Department of English, Arizona State University