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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Stúfr inn blindi Þórðarson kattar (Stúfr)

11th century; volume 2; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

Stúfsdrápa (Stúfdr) - 8

Skj info: Stúfr enn blindi Þórðarson kattar, Islandsk skjald, 11. årh. (AI, 404-5, BI, 373-4).

Skj poems:
Stúfsdrápa, Stúfa

Stúfr inn blindi ‘the Blind’ Þórðarson kattar ‘of the Cat’ came from an illustrious family of Icel. poets. He was the great-grandson of the skald Glúmr Geirason (GlúmrI) and the grandson of Guðrún Ósvífrsdóttir (see Laxdœla saga, ÍF 5, 87, 94, 281-90). He was also related to Einarr skálaglamm ‘Tinkle-scales’ (EskálI), Úlfr stallari ‘the Marshal’ Óspaksson (Úlfr) and Steinn Herdísarson (Steinn) (See Genealogy IV, ÍF 5). What we know about his life is detailed in two versions of Stúfs þáttr, which has been transmitted in a longer and a shorter version (see ÍF 5, xcii-xciv, 279-90). Stúfr was born c. 1025 and, as his nickname indicates, he must have been blind or had extremely poor vision (it could be, however, that his eyesight failed him in old age, contributing to his nickname; see ÍF 5, xciii). Around 1060 he travelled to Norway to claim an inheritance, and while he was there he met King Haraldr harðráði Sigurðarson. The following summer Stúfr visited the king in Trondheim, became his retainer and recited a poem which he had composed in Haraldr’s honour. He then apparently returned to Iceland, and nothing more is known about him (see also SnE 1848-87, III, 593-5; LH 1894-1901, I, 633-4). Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 254, 262, 275) lists him among the court poets of Haraldr harðráði.

Stúfsdrápa — Stúfr StúfdrII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘ Stúfr inn blindi Þórðarson kattar, Stúfsdrápa’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 350-8. <> (accessed 24 June 2022)

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Skj: Stúfr enn blindi Þórðarson kattar: Stúfsdrápa, Stúfa, o. 1067 (AI, 404-5, BI, 373-4)

in texts: Flat, Fsk, H-Hr, Hkr, HSig, MH, Mork, ÓlKyrr, Skm, SnE

SkP info: II, 350-8

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files


According to the longer version of Stúfs þáttr, the encomium which Stúfr recited to Haraldr in Trondheim was called Stúfsdrápa ‘Stúfr’s Drápa’ (Stúfr Stúfdr) (ÍF 5, 289-90): Drápa þessi, er Stúfr kvað ok orti um konung, var kǫlluð Stúfsdrápa ‘This drápa, which Stúfr recited and composed about the king, was called Stúfsdrápa’. However, the shorter version of the þáttr (found in Mork, H-Hr and Flat) gives the following information (ÍF 5, 290): Hann hefir ort erfidrápu um Harald konung, er kǫlluð er Stúfsdrápa eða Stúfa ‘He has made a memorial drápa about King Haraldr, which is called Stúfsdrápa or Stúfa’. The sts below presumably belong to that poem because Haraldr is never addressed in pres. tense, st. 8 commemorates Haraldr’s last stand at Stamford Bridge and the refrain shows that he is deceased. The order of the sts is determined by the chronology of the events they describe, and all sts are attributed to Stúfr (see also Fidjestøl 1982, 146-7). Stanza 1 is preserved in Hkr (mss , 39, F, E, J2ˣ, 42ˣ) and H-Hr (H, Hr), and st. 7 is recorded only in mss R, , U, A, B and C of SnE (Skm). Stanzas 2-6 are found in Mork (Mork), Fsk (FskBˣ (sts 2-5 only), FskAˣ), H-Hr and Flat (Flat; sts 2, 4-6) and Hkr, and st. 8 is transmitted in Mork, Flat, Fsk and H-Hr only. Hence sts 2-6 and 8 must have been included in the ‘Oldest Mork’ (*ÆMork). In most cases, the Mork version corresponds to the Fsk version against Hkr, and Snorri (or a later redactor of Hkr) appears to have made changes to the poetic texts and introduced independent variants. It is not clear whether these changes were prompted by poetic considerations or by a better knowledge of the poem. Because Mork and the Fsk mss are higher up on the stemma, Mork has been chosen as the main ms. for sts 2-6 and 8, but the Hkr variants are discussed in detail in the Notes. One of the characteristics of the poem is the klofastef ‘split refrain’, in which the last ll. in sts 2/8, 3/8 and 6/4 do not belong syntactically to the preceding ll.; rather, taken together, they form a separate cl. (see Note to st. 2/8 below).
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