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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 28. Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson, 2. Erfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar, 27 [Vol. 1, 439]

[All]: The syntax of this stanza breaks with convention in two significant ways, and has been much discussed. Firstly, it allows elements in the first helmingr (hugreifum Ôleifi ‘glad-hearted Óláfr’, l. 2) to depend syntactically on elements in the second (glíkr ‘equal ... to’, l. 5). This is unparalleled in the skaldic corpus before the C14th (Hollander 1947; Frank 1978, 88), though cf. Snorri Sturluson’s langlokum ‘with late conclusions or long enclosings’ (SnSt Ht 14III). Combined with the self-contained, stef-like prayer in ll. 7-8, the crossing of the helmingr boundary also means the stanza breaks Kuhn’s rule (1969b, 67) that neither helmingr may contain a syntactic break sharper than the one between them. However, these innovations suit the hyperbolic content of the stanza. Kock in NN §515 offers an interpretation which avoids this syntactic arrangement, but it has not found favour (Reichardt 1928, 118; Hollander 1947, 301). For an alternative construal suggested by Jón Helgason (1975, 405), which involves emendation, see Note to ll. 3-4 below.

references

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