SCANDINAVIAN 220: Early Scandinavian Literature: Eddic Poetry

Th 10-1 , 6415 Dwinelle. Instructor: Kate Heslop

Units: 4

With the recent publication of a new edition of the eddic corpus (Eddukvæði, ed. Jonas Kristjánsson and Vésteinn Ólason, Reykjavik, 2014), a comprehensive study of eddic metrics (The meters of Old Norse eddic poetry, Seiichi Suzuki, Berlin, 2014) and a handbook (A handbook to eddic poetry, ed. Carolyne Larrington et al., Cambridge, 2016), the time is ripe for a reconsideration of this fascinating material. In this seminar we will read, discuss and write about poetry in eddic meters, focusing in particular on the poetry of the Codex Regius manuscript (Gks 2365 4to). In particular, seminar participants can expect to:

work closely with the Codex Regius manuscript (in facsimile) as well as other important manuscript sources (versions of Vǫluspá, quotations from eddic mythological poetry in Gylfaginning, eddic heroic poetry in fornaldarsögur);

get to know the various editions of eddic poetry, and familiarize themselves with their advantages and disadvantages;

get a basic grounding in eddic metrics – useful for comparative work with other parts of the Germanic alliterative tradition, as well as the best starting point for understanding skaldic metrics;

and discuss issues in eddic scholarship, both historical and more recent.


Larrington, C., Quinn, J. and Schorn, B. (eds.) (2016) A Handbook to Eddic Poetry: Myths and Legends of Early Scandinavia. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2016.

ISBN: 9781107135444.

NB: the full text of this book is available for on-campus download via oskicat.

Jun Terasawa (2011) Old English Metre: An Introduction. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. ISBN: 9781442611290.

Additional texts will be supplied on bcourses.

Prerequisites: At least one semester of Old Norse language, or consent of instructor.

Workload: each session will include a short informal presentation of class material by one or more course participants.

Final research paper (20-25 pg.), due at end of semester.

Prerequisites:  Graduate standing; consent of instructor.