Osborne Emily, Thinking outside the hall: the conceptual boundaries of Skaldic verse

Osborne, Emily, Thinking outside the hall: the conceptual boundaries of Skaldic verse, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2013, (dir. J. Quinn, University of Cambridge)

Royal courts, ships, battle-fields, farms, forests, churches, prisons – in the Icelandic and Norwegian sagas, a myriad of locations provide the backdrop in which skalds perform complex poetry for diverse audiences. Skaldic verses are generally framed as verbal responses to actual events: events which not only medieval sagas, but also modern scholars, have attempted to re-construct. This dissertation considers the discourse of performance employed in skaldic verses, yet looks beyond the familiar relationship between skald and royal patron, exploring instead the ways in which skalds engage various performance contexts both real and imagined, as well as multiple audiences who are present and absent, male and female, past and future, human and divine. Many non-encomiastic verses from the tenth to twelfth centuries communicate beyond the literal occasion to which they ostensibly respond by invoking absent, female and future audiences. Chapters One and Two consider ways in which lausavísur: associate audiences with specific locations by means of verb tense, apostrophe, deixis and periphrasis; reveal the skald’s concern for the preservation and dissemination of his verse within an oral poetic community; and are incorporated into retrospective, and often discrepant, narrative re-performances. Analysis of this dynamic discourse of performance and re-performance is informed by theoretical discussion, both medieval and modern, of deixis, apostrophe, oratorical solecism and narratology. After the twelfth century, the increasing influence of Christian devotional culture significantly altered the relationship between skald and audience. Religious poems were used for meditative reading and spiritual instruction in addition to (or in lieu of) public performance. Christian hermeneutics reframed medieval understandings of the relationships among the spoken, written and performative word. Chapters Three and Four consider ways in which traditional skaldic rhetoric, including deixis and periphrasis, was adapted to the ethnographic discourse of prayer, which negotiates among audiences human, divine, absent, prospective and immanent. Analysis in these chapters of the evolving discourse of performance and re-performance focuses on another female audience who is simultaneously present, absent and prospective – the Virgin Mary.

[Source : http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.607815]


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