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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

8. Gríms saga loðinkinna 2 (Feima Hrímnisdóttir, Lausavísa, 1) — Feima [Vol. 8, 290]

[1] Feima: Several mss (1006ˣ, 173ˣ, 342ˣ, 109a IIˣ) offer the reading Finna ‘Saami woman’, a variant which makes use of the associations between the north and the Finnar (Saami people), who were credited with magical powers (see Nesheim 1970, 7-14; cf. the power ascribed to the father of Feima and Kleima in GrL 4). Occasionally one and the same figure is described both as giant and Saami, for example the father of Snjófríðr ‘Snow-Beauty’ in HHárf ch. 35 (ÍF 26, 125-7). Snjófríðr herself is called finna in Anon Mhkv 11/6III. Nevertheless Feima is the preferred reading, not only because it occurs in the two oldest mss but also because it rhymes with Kleima, a name which only occurs here: there are several other Old Norse examples of siblings whose names rhyme with one another (cf. Kommentar III, 870 and a further example in Gautr, FSGJ 4, 4-5). The word feima occurs as a name in 25/6 (one of the daughters of Karl, the progenitor of the peasant class) and is used elsewhere as a poetic term for ‘woman’ (LP: feima). The etymology of the word is unclear (AEW: feima), but in Skm the word feima is said to connote shyness (SnE 1998, I, 107; cf. Note to Þul Kvenna I l. 4III). If the name Feima in GrL evokes such associations then it is manifestly ironic, since it stands in great contrast to the bold and ‘forward’ behaviour of the two giantesses, cf. Feima’s description of her sister Kleima as hálfu fremri ‘twice as courageous’ (as herself).


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