Eddic, Skaldic, and Beyond shines light on traditional divisions of Old Norse–Icelandic poetry and awakens the reader to work that blurs these boundaries. Many of the texts and topics taken up in these enlightening essays have been difficult to categorize and have consequently been overlooked or undervalued. The boundaries between genres (Eddic and Skaldic), periods (Viking Age, medieval, early modern), or cultures (Icelandic, Scandinavian, English, Continental) may not have been as sharp in the eyes and ears of contemporary authors and audiences as they are in our own. When questions of classification are allowed to fade into the background, at least temporarily, the poetry can be appreciated on its own terms. Some of the essays in this collection present new material, while others challenge long-held assumptions. They reflect the idea that poetry with “medieval” characteristics continued to be produced in Iceland well past the fifteenth century, and even beyond the Protestant Reformation in Iceland (1550). This superb volume, rich in up-to-date scholarship, makes little-known material accessible to a wide audience.
Martin Chase is Associate Professor of English and Medieval Studies at Fordham University, where he teaches Old and Middle English and Old Norse. His current research is on late- medieval Icelandic devotional poetry. He edited Geisli and Lilja for the Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages series.