The Poetry of Arnórr jarlaskáld
An Edition and Study
XVI+369 p., + 2 maps, 160 x 240 mm, 1998
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This is an edition and study of the collected skaldic poetry of Arnórr Thordarson jarlaskáld, forming the remains of four main encomiastic poems.
Arnórr Thordarson jarlaskáld 'Earls'-poet', born c. 1011 in western Iceland, spent most of his adult life in mainland Scandinavia and Orkney, and his poetry consists mainly of encomia for the kings Magnús and Haraldr of Norway, and for Earls Thorfinnr and Rögnvaldr of Orkney, whose patronage of Arnórr is commemorated in his nickname. The corpus of his work is, by skaldic standards, large and well preserved. The verses, orally composed, were not written down in full, but are preserved as scattered quotations within manuscripts of prose sagas from the thirteenth century onwards. When reconstructed they form substantial remains of four main encomiastic poems, together with similar fragments, which celebrate the deeds of Arnórr's heroes, singing especially of triumphs in battle, but also of seafaring, political manoeuvrings, and court customs. By his time, skaldic poetry had reached full maturity, and Arnórr, consummate master of the medium, uses its metrical and stylistic resources with wit and exuberance tempered with moderation.
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