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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

3. 1. Þjóðólfr ór Hvini (biog. vol. 1), 1. Haustlǫng, 11 [Vol. 3, 447]

[1-2] hund hrynsævar hræva ǫl-Gefnar ‘the hound of the roaring sea of corpses [BLOOD > WOLF] of the ale-Gefn <= Freyja> [WOMAN = Iðunn > = Loki]’: An extended kenning in which, unusually, the base-word is in itself a kenning. The referent of this, ‘wolf’, is required in order to understand how the final referent, here judged to be Loki, derives from the determinant ‘[WOMAN = Iðunn]’. ‘Wolf’ is to be understood metaphorically in the sense ‘abductor, thief’. Some scholars (e.g. Holtsmark 1949, 32-3) consider the final referent to be ‘[GIANT = Þjazi]’ (cf. st. 2/2 ulfr snótar ‘the wolf of the woman’, st. 4/1 fjallgylðir ‘mountain wolf’), and this is a possible reading, both syntactically and on grounds of kenning-pattern. However, it does not conform to the mythic narrative as we know it from SnE, because there the gods are not said to find Þjazi before they seize Loki and threaten him with death or torture.


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