Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Vol. I. Poetry for Scandinavian Rulers 1: From Mythological Times to c. 1035
 

8. Volume Introduction

 
1. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages — a new edition (MCR)
2. The poetry in this volume (DW)
3. Sources for skaldic poetry cited in the kings’ sagas: manuscripts, facsimiles and editions (KEG)
4. Biographies (KSH)
5. Metres and poetic diction (DW)
6. How to use this edition (MCR)

(Vol. I. Poetry for Scandinavian Rulers 1: From Mythological Times to c. 1035 > 8. Volume Introduction > 1. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages — a new edition)

1. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages — a new edition (MCR)

The present two-part volume (SkP I) is Volume I of the nine planned volumes of Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages (SkP), and it is the companion volume to SkP II, Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. In order of publication it is the third volume, SkP VII having appeared in 2007 and SkP II in 2009. There will be eight volumes of text in the SkP series, and a ninth containing indices and bibliography. The aim of this new edition, which is set out in more detail in Section 2 of the General Introduction to the series (above in this volume), is to provide a critical edition, with accompanying English translation and notes, of the corpus of Scandinavian poetry from the Middle Ages, excluding only the Poetic Edda and related poetry, and the rímur.

The edition is based on a thorough assessment of all known manuscript evidence and on a review of previous editions and commentaries, including Finnur Jónsson’s Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning (Skj A and B), which has been the standard edition of the corpus since the early twentieth century. The interpretation of individual stanzas and the layout of the corpus differ in many instances from those of Skj, often reflecting a more conservative approach to the manuscript sources, and Skj references (titles, dates, page numbers) are provided throughout the present edition for purposes of comparison. SkP is available in book form and as an electronic edition. The electronic edition is fully searchable and includes images of most of the manuscript texts used in the edition, together with transcriptions of the main manuscript text for each stanza and of other select manuscripts.

Whereas Finnur Jónsson was able to produce his edition single-handedly, current academic conditions make it difficult for one scholar to undertake such Herculean tasks, and we have seen collaboration both as a good in itself, and as the only way to achieve the more ambitious goals of the nine-volume edition. The work of those involved in SkP I is gratefully acknowledged in the Volume Editor’s Preface and Acknowledgements.

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