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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

3. Anonymous Þulur, 56. Hugar heiti ok hjarta, 1 [Vol. 3, 964]

[1, 2] móðr; hugr ‘spirit; thought’: Translations provided here can give only a rough idea of the spectrum of meanings implied by these two words, which are the central terms for emotions and heroic behaviour in Old Norse as well as in other Germanic languages (cf. OS mōd, hugi, OE mōd, hyge, OHG muot, hugu). In Old Norse, móðr m. denotes ‘spirit, mind’, ‘excitement, wrath, rage’, ‘bravery, foolhardiness’, ‘moodiness, grief’ (CVC, LP: móðr), and the word appears less frequently than hugr, which prevails in this semantic field. Hugr m. has the senses ‘heart, temper, mood, disposition, desire, wish, feeling, affection’, ‘mind, thought, reason, frame of mind’, ‘courage, valour’ (cf. Gering 1903, 470-2; LP: hugr). On the semantic distinctions between móðr and hugr, see especially Beck (1987; 1988). According to Beck (1987, 995), while móðr predominantly refers to emotional conduct manifested by physical symptoms, hugr denotes an abstract, non-visual entity (eine abstrakte, unanschauliche Größe) and is often the expression of courageous disposition resulting in impulsive brave actions (Beck 1988a, 144-5).


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