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Einarr Skúlason's Geisli

Einarr Skúlason's Geisli: A Critical Edition

Edited by Martin Chase
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  • Book Info
    Einarr Skúlason's Geisli
    Book Description:

    Geisliis the earliest Nordic Christian drápa (long stanzaic poem) known to exist. Written by Einarr Skúlason, the twelfth century's premier Icelandic poet, Geisli marked a stylistic shift in Old Norse poetry brought about by Christianity and European learning. Einarr Skúlason was a priest as well as a skald, and his writing demonstrates that he was as familiar with the traditions of Latin liturgy and hagiography as with the conventions of skaldic poetry.

    Geisliis a very important source for the modern scholar studying Old Norse hagiography and the history of Christianity in Iceland and Norway. This new critical edition features a version in normalized orthography, as well as a version in prose word order, a translation into English, a complete glossary, an introduction that situates the poem in its context, and substantial explanatory notes. Editor Martin Chase uses the famousFlateyjarbókmanuscript as a base text, but takes into account all known manuscripts of the poem. Long needed by scholars, this new edition will be extremely valuable to anyone with an interest in Old Norse as well as medievalists in other disciplines.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7432-5
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-20)

    Complete texts ofGeisliare found in two medieval manuscripts, both from the late fourteenth century: GKS 1005, fol., orFlateyjarbók, and Holm perg. fol. nr. 1, orBergsbók. Both of these manuscripts are considerably younger than thedrápaitself and represent different textual traditions. Unfortunately, nothing is known of how thedrápasurvived, more or less intact from its composition in 1153 until it was recorded inFlateyjarbók. In view of the circumstances surrounding its origin, it seems likely that the text would have been committed to parchment immediately,¹ but no manuscript evidence attests to this.

    In addition to...

  5. Appreciation
    (pp. 21-44)

    Geislibegins with an elaborately constructed introduction, orupphaf, consisting of three sections of six stanzas each. The first is a religiousinvocatio, the second is a traditional skaldic bid for a hearing, and the third is a historical preface. Stanzas 1–6 are a remarkable theological and poetictour de force, filled with complex imagery and learned allusions. Its theme and structure are a key to understanding the theme and structure of thedrápaas a whole. After a brief invocation of the Trinity and a dedication to St Óláfr in stanza 1 Einarr turns to his primary theme,...

  6. Headnotes to the Text
    (pp. 45-48)

    The orthography of theFlateyjarbóktext has been faithfully preserved, with the exception that manuscriptr-rotunda [ɩ] has been replaced withr. Capitalization has been normalized in accordance with modern practice. All proper names and the beginnings of sentences are capitalized, as well as the wordsGuðandKristr. Manuscript punctuation has been somewhat normalized. The manuscript generally has a full stop [.] at the end of eachhelmingr; where the secondhelmingrof a stanza begins with a conjunction I have omitted punctuation, and likewise, in places where a full stop is required (at the end of a stanza...

  7. Geisli
    (pp. 51-122)

    1 Eins ma ord ok bænir

    2 allz raadanda hins snialla

    3 vel er frodr sa er getr goda

    4 Guds þrenning mer kenna.

    5 Gofugt lios bodar geisli

    6 gunnoflugr miskunar

    7 agætan byd ek itrum

    8 Olàfi brag solar.

    [Eins má orð ok boenir (alls ráðanda hins snjalla vel er fróðr sá er getr góða) Guðs þrenning mér kenna. Gǫfugt ljós boðar geisli gunnǫflugr miskunnar (ágætan býð ek ítrum Óláfi brag) sólar.]

    Þrenning eins Guðs má kenna mér orð ok bœnir; sá er getr góða alls ráðanda er vél fróðr. Gunnǫflugr geisli sólar miskunnar boðar gǫfugt ljós; ek...

  8. Commentary
    (pp. 123-170)

    1.1–4.Geisliopens with an invocation of the Trinity. According to the traditional theory of skaldic composition, every aspect of poetic creation was regarded as the personal achievement of the skald, and Einarr broke a tradition of three centuries by beginning in the manner of medieval Latin poetry with a prayer for inspiration. As the continental influence grew stronger theinvocatiobecame more common in skaldic poetry: among thedrápurof the century following the composition ofGeisliit appears inHarmsól(SkjIA: 562),Óláfs drápa Tryggvasonar(IA: 573),Leiñarvísan(IA: 618), andLíknarbraut(IIA: 150).


  9. Glossary
    (pp. 171-209)
  10. Abbreviations and Short Titles
    (pp. 210-212)
  11. Notes
    (pp. 213-228)
  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 229-240)
  13. Index
    (pp. 241-250)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 251-251)