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The Nordic Apocalypse
Approaches to Völuspá and Nordic Days of Judgement

T. Gunnell, A. Lassen (eds.)
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XVIII+240 p., 3 b/w ill. + 6 colour ill., 2 b/w tables, 156 x 234 mm, 2013
ISBN: 978-2-503-54182-2
Languages: English
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Retail price: EUR 75,00 excl. tax
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A series of articles on new approaches to the Old Norse poem Völuspá and its possible context within the apocalyptic tradition in Northern Europe in the early medieval period.

This book, with roots in a conference held in Iceland in May 2008, contains a series of articles reflecting modern approaches to the text, context, and performance of the Old Norse poem Völuspá, perhaps the best known and most discussed of all the Eddic poems. Rather than attempting to cover Eddic or Skaldic poetry as a genre, the main aim of this book is to present an overview of the ‘state of the art’ with regard to one particular Eddic poem. It focuses especially on the poem’s possible context within the apocalyptic tradition of Northern Europe in the early medieval period. The approaches of the articles range from placing the poem within the pre-Christian oral tradition to placing it within the written and liturgical context of Christianity. Two other chapters offer a possible context for the poem by examining the nature and background of the early medieval image of the Apocalypse known to have been on display in the Cathedral of Hólar in northern Iceland. While the approaches are focused on one specific poem, they are nonetheless applicable to many other Eddic works.


Table of Contents


Introduction - Pétur Pétursson

Part I. The Reception of Vǫluspá

The Early Scholarly Reception of Vǫluspá from Snorri Sturluson to Árni Magnússon - Annette Lassen

Part II. Vǫluspá and The Pre-Christian World: The Oral Tradition

Vǫluspá and Time - Vésteinn Ólason

Vǫluspá as the Product of an Oral Tradition: What does that Entail? - Gísli Sigurðsson

Vǫluspá in Performance - Terry Gunnell

Wading Heavy Currents: Snorri’s Use of Vǫluspá - Henning Kure

Heathenism in Vǫluspá: A Preliminary Survey - John McKinnell

Part III. Vǫluspá and Christianity: The Written Tradition

The Background and Scope of Vǫluspá - Kees Samplonius

Vǫluspá and the Sibylline Oracles with a Focus on the ‘Myth of the Future’ - Gro Steinsland

Vǫluspá, the Tiburtine Sibyl, and the Apocalypse in the North - Karl G. Johansson

Manifest and Latent Biblical Themes in Vǫluspá - Pétur Pétursson

Part IV. The Hólar Judgement Day Images: The Visual Tradition

A View on the Preservation History of the Last Judgement Panels from Bjarnastaðahlíð, and some Speculation on the Medieval Cathedrals at Hólar - Guðrún Harðardóttir

A Nocturnal Wake at Hólar: The Judgement Day Panels as a Possible Explanation for a Miracle Legend? - Þóra Kristjánsdóttir


Interest Classification:
Medieval & Modern (Indo-European) Languages & Literatures
Germanic langs & lits (other than English)
North Germanic/Scandinavian languages & literatures
Comparative & cultural studies through literature
Medieval & Renaissance History (c.400-1500)
Medieval European history (400-1500) : main subdisciplines
Cultural & intellectual history
Medieval European history (400-1500) : local & regional history
Scandinavian & Baltic lands

This publication is also distributed by: ISD, Marston
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