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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

3. Rǫgnvaldr jarl and Hallr Þórarinsson, Háttalykill, 43 [Vol. 3, 1051]

[All]: The meaning of hnúfu (nom. hnúfa) in hnúfu háttr is disputed. Jón Sigurðsson suggested ‘hump-form’, referring to the additional line added to each helmingr, whereas Finnur Jónsson (1892, 56; 1907, 203) and Magnus Olsen (1932a, 150) believed that the term could have been derived from the nickname of the skald Ǫlvir hnúfa (ǪlvI) ‘Snub-nose’ (?). For later attestations of the metre, see Maríulykill st. 18 (ÍM II, 216) and Háttalykill Lopts Guttormssonar sts 5, 31 (Småstykker 11, 220, 238), where it is called álagsháttr ‘extension’s form’ (see sts 79-80 below and SnSt Ht 27). Holtsmark (Hl 1941, 132-3) suggested that the metre originated as an imitation of Old French troubadour poetry, and that the refrain may have been sung (for similar refrains in troubadour poems, see Holtsmark loc. cit.).


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