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Gade, Kari Ellen, ed., Poetry from the Kings' Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300.

Gade, Kari Ellen, ed., Poetry from the Kings' Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300 (Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2), Turnhout, Brepols, 2009; hardback; pp. cvii, 916; R.R.P. 120.00 [euro]; ISBN 9782503518978.

This second volume is the companion to Poetry from the Kings' Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. The whole series is to comprise nine volumes: eight of text (Vol. vii, Poetry on Christian Subjects appeared in 2007) and a ninth that will contain indices and a general bibliography of medieval Scandinavian poetry. The present volume, edited by Kari Ellen Gade from Indiana University in Bloomington, aims at providing a critical edition along with English translation and notes of the corpus of Scandinavian poetry from the Middle Ages (excluding only the Poetic Edda and closely related poetry). Space limitations prevent me from discussing the whole project at greater length--more can be found at <>.

Technically, this edition comes in two solid volumes which respectively hold the following sections: I. Poetry by Named Skalds c. 1035-1105 (pp. 5-432) and II. Poetry by Named Skalds (continued) c. 1105-1300 (pp. 467-914).

This wonderful compilation is based on a thorough examination of all the known manuscript evidence and on previous editions and commentaries including Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning by Finnur Jonsson, the standard edition of the corpus in question since the beginning of the twentieth century. It is a long-awaited result of cooperation between many researchers from leading academic institutions in a number of countries including, for instance, Australia and Iceland.

The poems compiled and edited in this publication commemorate the lives of Scandinavian rulers from c. 1035 to 1280 (i.e. from the reign of Magnus inn go[delta]i ('the Good') Olafsson, King of Norway, up to the reign of Haraldr Madda[delta]arson, Jarl of Orkney) and events which occurred during the time.

This volume offers an immensely useful and intricate analysis of Skaldic poetry, accompanied by elaborate commentary, explanatory notes, and translations. It is intended for a variety of users from students to more experienced scholars of Old Norse and other medieval European languages and literatures. It will also be accessible to scholars in related disciplines such as history and archeology. The whole nine-volume compilation will ultimately offer a fantastic resource to a wide range of scholars, and I for one will be impatiently anticipating its completion.

Mariusz Beclawski

University of Warsaw

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Author:Beclawski, Mariusz
Article Type:Book review
Date:Jul 1, 2011
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