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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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3. Newsletters 7. Newsletter 7 (August 2010)

7. Newsletter 7 (August 2010)

This is not currently part of the peer-reviewed material of the project. Do not cite as a research publication.

1. General Editors’ meeting and skaldic symposium 2010

The General Editors met for the fourteenth time on Friday 25 – Monday 28 June 2010 at the Centre for Scandinavian Studies, University of Aberdeen, hosted by Tarrin Wills. Some items discussed at the meeting are reported in more detail below. The meeting included a one-day symposium on kennings, also organised by Tarrin, at which speakers were: Edith Marold (Kiel), ‘Kenningar for “breast” - their referentiality and their development’; Emily Osborne (Cambridge), ‘“To Be” in Two Positions at Once: Dynamic Kennings and Uninspiring Verbs’; Kari Ellen Gade (Indiana), ‘Foxy Forms in Háttalykill and Háttatal’; Mikael Males (Oslo), ‘Markedness for Referent in the Manuscript Tradition”; Tarrin Wills (Aberdeen), ‘Kennings and Metrical Complexity’; Bergsveinn Birgisson (Bergen), ‘Nykrat and ny´gerving as Terms for Skaldic Aesthetics’; Debbie Potts (Cambridge), ‘Forecasting the rain of Óñinn: battle, poetry, and referential ambiguity’; Judy Quinn (Cambridge) ‘The human in the mythological and the mythological in the human: reference beyond the referent in some kennings for woman’; Rolf Stavnem (Århus) ‘Kennings of ridicule and mockery’. Publication of the papers is being looked in to.

2. Progress of the Edition

Good progress is being made with SkP I: Poetry for Scandinavian Rulers 1: From Mythological Times to c. 1035, ed. Diana Whaley, and the manuscript will be sent to the publishers by 1 April 2011, for publication in Spring 2011. This will be followed by SkP III: Poetry from Treatises on Poetics, ed. Edith Marold and Kari Ellen Gade, in April 2012, and SkP IV: Poetry on Icelandic History, ed. Guñrún Nordal, in November 2012. Contributors to these volumes with material outstanding should please take special note of these deadlines and maintain contact with their Volume Editor(s).

3. New terms of agreement with Brepols

A new agreement has been negotiated with our publisher, Brepols, regarding the electronic edition. Rather than having a separate site hosted by Brepols, subscribers will be provided with a password for the relevant parts of the skaldic database, which will remain at its present address, Purchasers of SkP VII and/or II, already in print, will receive password access to the electronic version of the volume(s) until 31 December 2012. After this date, the material will be freely available on the skaldic website. Password-protected logins will be available for purchasers of subsequent volumes for three years after the date of publication of each volume, following which the material will be publicly accessible. There will be a separate login for each volume. Institutional subscriptions will operate in line with other electronic resources purchased by libraries. Logged-in subscribers will have access to the content of the volume purchased, including skald biographies, introductions, editions, translations, contexts, notes and variant apparatus. In addition, access will be available to high-resolution images of certain relevant manuscripts, searchable editions and transcriptions and other data. This additional material will appear automatically when subscribers are logged in and browsing the skalds, poems, manuscripts and prose works in which the poetry is contained. Material that is available via the database but is not in the printed edition is provided at no additional cost to the subscriber. However, it should be appreciated that such material may not be quality-controlled to the same level as the content of the printed volumes. Tarrin has put extra security measures in place to counter any risk posed by an increased number of users with password access; of course, all subscriber-level logins are read-only.

To access the electronic edition, purchasers will need an email address, which will form part of their login, and will be assigned a password by Tarrin once proof of purchase has been verified. Brepols will confirm purchases for volumes bought directly from them; in these cases the purchaser need only provide an email address, not further proof. Purchasers who have acquired volumes via other means such as Amazon or at conferences must provide an email address alongside proof of purchase, normally a photocopy of an invoice. Information on how to gain access will be published alongside the front matter in future volumes; for those who have already purchased SkP VII and/or II this information will be advertised on the skaldic website and with various relevant journals and professional newsletters. Please encourage anyone you know who has bought either or both of the published volumes to contact Tarrin ( for access to the electronic edition. Please note that all Contributing Editors already have access beyond that of subscriber level via their editorial login, usernames and passwords for which will remain unchanged.

4. Reviews

The following reviews have so far appeared:

Of SkP VII: Poetry on Christian Subjects, ed. Margaret Clunies Ross (published November 2007):

  • Bergsveinn Birgisson, Gripla 19 (2008)
  • Svanhildur Óskarsdóttir, Scripta Islandica 59 (2008)
  • Anatoly Liberman, JEGP 108 (2009)
  • Rudolf Simek, ZfdA 138 (2009)
  • Roberta Frank, TMR 09.10.19
  • John Kennedy, Parergon 26 (2009)
  • Thomas Hill, SS 81 (2009)
  • Margaret Cormack, Speculum 85 (2010)

Of SkP II: Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300, ed. Kari Ellen Gade (published June 2009):

  • Roberta Frank, TMR 10.03.08

If contributors know of any other reviews not mentioned here, please send bibliographical details to Hannah (

5. Editorial guidelines

In response to some reviews suggesting that abbreviations have been overused in the volumes published so far, we have revised some of our procedures. Editors who still have material to submit should note that with a few exceptions (see below), abbreviations should now be expanded in all discursive sections (i.e. skald biographies, Introductions and Contexts). Most abbreviations listed in the Mini-Manual should still be used in the Notes section.

  • The following abbreviations have been disallowed completely:
    cl., sp., w. o., ÁM, v., vv. (note that the word ‘verse’ should also be avoided unless the context is clearly unambiguous, e.g. ‘skaldic verse’, ‘verse and prose’ etc.).
    st., sts, ch., chs, l., ll., p. and pp. when not preceding a numeral (i.e. ‘ch. 11’ is allowed, but not ‘In the following ch….’).
  • The following abbreviations are allowed in all sections, including discursive ones:
    ms. and mss;
    st., sts, ch., chs, l., ll., p. and pp. when preceding a numeral.
  • Plurals should be written out in full, including both parts of ‘place names’, which should not be hyphenated (unless used adjectivally).
  • Non-discursive parenthetical information (e.g. regnal/death dates, ‘lit.’) in any section should use abbreviations, but discursive statements within parentheses should use expanded forms (unless in Notes), though this should be avoided where possible.
  • Abbreviations should not be used as the first word in a sentence, though Hap. leg., Lit., Cf., I.e. and E.g. are allowed as the first word after the lemma in the Notes.
  • Linguistic abbreviations should never be used for ethnicity (e.g. NOT ‘the Dan. king’), but may be used in any linguistic context (e.g. ‘ON barñhvalr’, ‘This is not attested in ModNorw.’).

Editors should also note that their own translations from Old Norse texts should be used in preference to published translations. If published translations must be used (including those from languages other than ON), they should of course be acknowledged and referenced according to our guidelines, set out in the Mini-Manual (2007).

6. New features of the database

The database was successfully converted to Unicode last August. Editors can still use ReykholtTimes, which is then converted to Unicode for storage. Editors can now alternatively prepare editions using a Unicode/MUFI compliant font (download at – but in either case use only ReykholtTimes or a Unicode/MUFI font. Any combination of font will cause problems. In some cases, a different web form must be used to enter the data, depending on the font – this is clearly indicated at the top of each web form. There have been some other changes to the web forms for entering verses. If you have any queries or suggestions, please contact Tarrin.

There are a number of resources incorporated into the database for the use of editors, or simply out of interest. Some of the resources available which editors may find useful are as follows (all have links on the main database page and drop-down menu):

  • Dictionaries: A number of digitised Old Norse dictionaries have been incorporated into the database (this was actually done in 2005-6). A single search of headwords will bring up entries from Lexicon Poeticum (parts), Cleasby and Vigfusson, Zoega (not 100% reliable), Fritzner, ONP (headwords and citation count only) and cross-references to lemmatised words in the edition. This resource is useful not just for dictionary searches but also to see how other editors have translated words in the corpus. Please note that some of this material is under copyright and cannot therefore be published outside the project.
  • Bookmarks: When logged in, you can bookmark any database page by clicking the small bookmark icon. You can then access the page from the bookmarks tab at the top of the skaldic site.
  • Search editions: the discursive content of published and unpublished editions can be searched using the link under ‘subscribers’. This allows you to find, for example, any references to bibliographic entries or other non-indexed items.
  • Index of kennings: Kennings are automatically indexed when entered into the database. The website has a full list of kenning referents linked to individual stanzas, including Meissner’s categories.
  • Bibliography: The online bibliography is constantly growing and may provide a useful point of reference for editors. Certain items (such as older editions and other out-of-copyright works) that are available in electronic form elsewhere on the web have hyperlinks pointing to this material. If you know of any material available in electronic form which may be useful to other editors, and which is not already linked from the bibliography, please send details to Hannah.

7. Date and place of next General Editors’ meeting

The next General Editors’ meeting will take place on 24-26 June 2011 in Sandefjord, Norway.



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