Interpreting Eddic Poetry Project

Interpreting Eddic Poetry Project

Responsables du projet/Project leaders :

Carolyne Larrington (, Judy Quinn (

Établissements principaux/Main institutions :

University of Oxford, University of Cambridge

Projet en cours/Project in progress

Description :

Old Norse-Icelandic medieval literature is, alongside medieval French literature, the richest corpus of vernacular texts preserved from 850-1450. It incorporates an extraordinary range of genres, from early, oral poetry of praise and mourning to later indigenous prose romances making creative use of native and European narrative motifs. It also includes the unparalleled prose narratives of the sagas (many of which contain extensive quotations of poetry), contemporary histories and chronicles, poetry manuals and learned encyclopedic works, as well as a varied body of translated and native religious texts. Mediating insights into early Germanic and Scandinavian history, mythology, legend and society, and above all, crucial in reconstructing pre- and post-Conversion mentalités, the Norse literary heritage is becoming increasingly important in the study of medieval Europe.

The focus of this major new international research project is the unique genre of eddic poetry, a substantial body of literature preserved in a variety of disparate contexts. One major anthology survives, as well as single poems within compilation manuscripts and scattered quotations within treatises and a large number of sagas. The primary objectives of the ‘Interpreting Eddic Poetry’ Project are the redefinition of the extent and scope of this corpus and the reassessment of its significance in the light of recent advances in interdisciplinary research into different aspects of the culture of medieval Europe.

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