Skaldic poetry

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

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The term “skaldic poetry” is conventionally applied to a type of Old Norse-Icelandic verse that was composed from the Viking Age up to the Reformation (c. 850-c.1500). “Skaldic poetry” is a post-medieval coinage that would have made no sense to Norse poets and their audiences: the Old Norse word


simply means “poet”, and all Norse poets were skalds, regardless of the form of their verse or the genre to which it belongs—thus “skaldic poetry” literally means nothing more than “poetry by a poet”. The application of the term to a particular part of the Norse-Icelandic poetic corpus, however, has served a useful purpose for modern critics in allowing them to differentiate between the two main types of Old Norse verse on technical, aesthetic and generic grounds.

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Citation: Abram, Christopher. "Skaldic poetry". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 April 2010 [, accessed 19 April 2024.]

1018 Skaldic poetry 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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