old norse poetry

Many, many years ago I did independent study in ancient Scandinavian literature at the local university, under the direction of a professor of English who had grown up in Cavalier, North Dakota.  I visited that area once and found it to be true, that quite a few of the residents were of Norwegian or Icelandic descent.  This professor whose name was Ruth has long passed on, but I have a book she loaned me and which I sadly did not return.  The title is Skaldic Poetry, and now and then I thumb through its pages.  The time has come for me to delve into the intricacies of Old Norse poetry, which has been made less daunting by the presence of Wikipedia on the web.

My first observation is that Old Norse poetry can be viewed  as consisting of two broad types, eddaic and skaldic.  The eddaic is straightforward, informal, anonymous.  Authorship of skaldic poetry is assigned to known poets, some of whom may have been kings, is fairly complex and employees fixed literary devices.  Some skaldic poetry is so obscure that allusions may be lost on the modern reader without extensive footnotes.  And I will get back to this topic when I sort out the relevancies.

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