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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, 20 [Vol. 3, 461]

[2] ǫl-Gefjun ‘the ale-Gefjun <goddess> [WOMAN = Gróa]’: A standard woman-kenning, based on the concept that women serve ale, beer or mead to men (cf. Meissner 418). It is possible, however, that the name Gefjun would seem particularly appropriate as a base-word here, as Gefjun’s most notable exploit, her ploughing loose of the island of Sjælland from Sweden, involved some kind of deception, if not sorcery (cf. Bragi Frag 1 and Note to st. 2/6 above). Cf. ǫl-Gefn st. 11/2 and Note. Kock (NN §1918) proposes taking ǫl-Gefjun sára ‘the ale-Gefjun of wounds’ together, but, as Marold (1983, 174) observes, this would overdetermine the kenning since ‘the Gefjun of wounds’ would by itself be a good woman-kenning, as would ‘the ale-Gefjun’.

references

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