She draws from the rich literature of the period, which during the 14th century turned to religious subjects to a degree not seen before, with bishops' sagas, translated saints' lives, Christian skaldic poetry
, and more.
The project Skaldic Poetry
of the Scandinavian Middle Ages has made this difficult material accessible to a broad audience.
The use of mythological tropes (Odinn's ravens being a common example) and the role of both Eddic and Skaldic poetry
in structuring, selecting, and maintaining memory play a large part in the first section.
forms one of two main groupings of Old Norse poetry, the other being the anonymous Eddic poetry.
While Snorri himself was clearly an advocate of skaldic poetry
, he does warn us in the final section of his work, the "Hattatal," that certain uses of kennings are defective or excessive, i.
In the latter work, Mallet translated important extracts from Eddic and Skaldic poetry
into a modern European language for the first time.
The 25 papers are divided into topics that include memory in practice, mnemonic aids, literary strategies, forgetting, and constructing the past, with studies on such subjects as Skaldic poetry
, crusader accounts from 12th-century Iberia, landscape as a form of memory construction in Petrarch's Latin works, and memory as proof in trials by the Inquisition in 14th-century France.
To conclude, this book is not the first or last word on the role of skaldic poetry
in Icelandic prosimetrum (its communicative potential is, for one thing, underplayed), but it is a thoughtful, revealing study that opens the way for further work.
A medieval Scandinavian verse form used in skaldic poetry
The emphasis on wordplay, on what Clover calls the "ludic quality of skaldic poetry
," is thus an integral part of this fascination with the origins and social function of poetic making.
To help the reader understand the scenes (possibly) being depicted in the corpus, Kopar provides background information on such figures as Sigurd the dragonslayer and Wayland the smith, drawing on pre- and post-Viking Age sources as well as Viking Age Scandinavian images, especially those on picture stones on Gotland, plus skaldic poetry
Specialists in skaldic poetry
within such disciplines as English and other Germanic language and literature, and Medieval studies set out the Old Norse verses followed by modern Icelandic and English prose translations, and provide notes and commentary.