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European Journal of Scandinavian Studies

Ed. by Böldl, Klaus / Rühling, Lutz / van der Liet, Henk

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2191-9402
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Runes and Verse: The Medialities of Early Scandinavian Poetry

Judith Jesch
  • Corresponding author
  • School of English, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD, United Kingdom
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Published Online: 2017-09-14 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ejss-2017-0010

Abstract

The paper discusses a number of versified runic inscriptions, mainly from Scandinavia, and from ca. 400 to 1400 AD, to explore what they reveal about the forms and functions of early Scandinavian poetry outside the manuscript tradition. With a particular focus on ‘authors’ and ‘audiences’, as defined by Bredehoft in his work on Anglo-Saxon inscriptions, the paper elucidates the potential oral contexts of Scandinavian runic verse and concludes that, although runic writing is a form of literacy, the examples show that for most of its history it is associated with various kinds of oral context. Runic verse shows that inscriptions provide one of the best ways into understanding the Scandinavian oral tradition, not only before the arrival of manuscript literacy, but also during its infancy.

Literature

    Primary Literature

    • CASSS = Cramp, R. et al. 1977–: Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture. Oxford.

    • DR = Jacobsen, L./E. Moltke 1941–1942: Danmarks runeindskrifter. København.Google Scholar

    • DR EM85 = Moltke, E. 1985: Runes and Their Origin: Denmark and Elsewhere. Copenhagen.Google Scholar

    • E = Barnes, M. P./R. I. Page 2006: The Scandinavian Runic Inscriptions of Britain. Uppsala.Google Scholar

    • N B = unpublished inscription from Bryggen, Bergen, cited from Samnordisk runtextdatabas.

    • N KJ = Krause W./H. Jankuhn 1966: Die Runeninschriften im älteren Futhark. Göttingen.Google Scholar

    • Ög = Brate, E. 1911: Östergötlands runinskrifter. Stockholm.Google Scholar

    • Öl = Söderberg, S./E. Brate 1900–1906: Ölands runinskrifter. Stockholm.Google Scholar

    • Or Barnes = Barnes, M. P. 1984: The Runic Inscriptions of Maeshowe, Orkney. Uppsala.Google Scholar

    • Samnordisk runtextdatabas 2014: Institutionen för nordiska språk, Uppsala universitet [http://www.nordiska.uu.se/forskn/samnord.htm] 30.12.2015.Google Scholar

    • SkP = Clunies Ross, M. et al. 2007–: Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages. Turnhout.Google Scholar

    • Sö = Brate, E./E. Wessén 1924–1936: Södermanlands runinskrifter. Stockholm.Google Scholar

    • U = Jansson, S. B. F./E. Wessén 1940–1958: Upplands runinskrifter. Stockholm.Google Scholar

    • Vg = Jungner, H./E. Svärdström 1940–1971: Västergötlands runinskrifter. Stockholm.Google Scholar

    Secondary Literature

    • Beck, H. 2001: “Runen und Schriftlichkeit”. In: Von Thorsberg nach Schleswig. (Ed.) K. Düwel et al. Berlin. 1–23.Google Scholar

    • Bianchi, M. 2010: Runor som resurs. Vikingatida skriftkultur i Uppland och Södermanland. Uppsala.Google Scholar

    • Bredehoft, T. A. 2009: Authors, Audiences, and Old English Verse. Toronto.Google Scholar

    • Harris, J. 2010: “Old Norse Memorial Discourse between Orality and Literacy”. In: Along the Oral-Written Continuum. Types of Texts, Relations and their Implications. (Ed.) S. Ranković et al. Turnhout. 119–133.Google Scholar

    • Holmberg, P. 2015: “Svaren på Rökstenens gåtor: En socialsemiotisk analys av meningsskapande och rumslighet”. In: Futhark 6 (2015). 65–106.Google Scholar

    • Hübler, F. 1996: Schwedische Runendichtung der Wikingerzeit. Uppsala.Google Scholar

    • Jesch, J. 2014: “Jómsvíkinga Sǫgur and Jómsvíkinga Drápur: Texts, Contexts and Intertexts”. In: Scripta Islandica 65. 81–100.Google Scholar

    • Krüger, J./V. Busch 2017: “The Metrical Characteristics of Maeshowe Runic Inscription No. 20”. In: Futhark 7. 111–125.Google Scholar

    • Malm, M. 2010: “Skalds, Runes, and Voice”. In: Viking and Medieval Scandinavia 6. 135–146.Google Scholar

    • Marold, E. 1998: “Runeninschriften als Quellen zur Geschichte der Skaldendichtung”. In: Runeninschriften als Quellen interdisziplinärer Forschung. (Ed.) K. Düwel/S. Nowak. Berlin. 667–693.Google Scholar

    • Marold, E. 2010: “Formen runischer Dichtung”. [http://www.khm.uio.no/english/research/publications/7th-symposium-preprints/marold.pdf] 28.12.2015.Google Scholar

    • Marold, E. 2011: “Vers oder nicht Vers? Zum metrischen Charakter von Runeninschriften im älteren Futhark”. In: Futhark. International Journal of Runic Studies 2. 63–102.Google Scholar

    • Mitchell, S. 2013: “Memory, Mediality, and the ‘Performative Turn’. Recontextualizing Remembering in Medieval Scandinavia”. In: Scandinavian Studies 85. 282–305.Google Scholar

    • Naumann, H.-P. 1994: “Hann var manna mestr óníðingr. Zur Poetizität metrischer Runeninschriften”. In: Studien zum Altgermanischen. Festschrift für Heinrich Beck. (Ed.) Heiko Uecker. Berlin. 490–502.Google Scholar

    • Naumann, H.-P. 1998: “Runeninschriften als Quelle der Versgeschichte”. In: Runeninschriften als Quellen interdisziplinärer Forschung. (Ed.) K. Düwel/S. Nowak. Berlin. 694–714.Google Scholar

    • Nielsen, H. F. 1998: “The Linguistic Status of the Early Runic Inscriptions of Scandinavia”. In: Runeninschriften als Quellen interdisziplinärer Forschung. (Ed.) K. Düwel/S. Nowak. Berlin. 539–555.Google Scholar

    • Spurkland, T. 2004: “Literacy and ‘Runacy’ in Medieval Scandinavia”. In: Scandinavia and Europe 800–1350. Contact, Conflict and Coexistence. (Ed.) J. Adams/K. Holman. Turnhout. 333–344.Google Scholar

    • Thórhallur Eythórsson 2012: “Three Daughters and a Funeral: Re-reading the Tune Inscription”. In: Futhark: International Journal of Runic Studies 3. 7–43.Google Scholar

    • Townend, M. 2015: Antiquity of Diction in Old English and Old Norse Poetry. Cambridge.Google Scholar

    • Wulf, F. 1998: Review of Hübler 1996. In: Alvíssmál 8. 93–97.Google Scholar

    • Wulf, F. 2003: “Runenverse und Runenritzer”. In: Runica – Germanica – Mediaevalia. (Ed.) W. Heizmann/A. van Nahl. Berlin. 969–1006.Google Scholar

Primary Literature

  • CASSS = Cramp, R. et al. 1977–: Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture. Oxford.

  • DR = Jacobsen, L./E. Moltke 1941–1942: Danmarks runeindskrifter. København.Google Scholar

  • DR EM85 = Moltke, E. 1985: Runes and Their Origin: Denmark and Elsewhere. Copenhagen.Google Scholar

  • E = Barnes, M. P./R. I. Page 2006: The Scandinavian Runic Inscriptions of Britain. Uppsala.Google Scholar

  • N B = unpublished inscription from Bryggen, Bergen, cited from Samnordisk runtextdatabas.

  • N KJ = Krause W./H. Jankuhn 1966: Die Runeninschriften im älteren Futhark. Göttingen.Google Scholar

  • Ög = Brate, E. 1911: Östergötlands runinskrifter. Stockholm.Google Scholar

  • Öl = Söderberg, S./E. Brate 1900–1906: Ölands runinskrifter. Stockholm.Google Scholar

  • Or Barnes = Barnes, M. P. 1984: The Runic Inscriptions of Maeshowe, Orkney. Uppsala.Google Scholar

  • Samnordisk runtextdatabas 2014: Institutionen för nordiska språk, Uppsala universitet [http://www.nordiska.uu.se/forskn/samnord.htm] 30.12.2015.Google Scholar

  • SkP = Clunies Ross, M. et al. 2007–: Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages. Turnhout.Google Scholar

  • Sö = Brate, E./E. Wessén 1924–1936: Södermanlands runinskrifter. Stockholm.Google Scholar

  • U = Jansson, S. B. F./E. Wessén 1940–1958: Upplands runinskrifter. Stockholm.Google Scholar

  • Vg = Jungner, H./E. Svärdström 1940–1971: Västergötlands runinskrifter. Stockholm.Google Scholar

Secondary Literature

  • Beck, H. 2001: “Runen und Schriftlichkeit”. In: Von Thorsberg nach Schleswig. (Ed.) K. Düwel et al. Berlin. 1–23.Google Scholar

  • Bianchi, M. 2010: Runor som resurs. Vikingatida skriftkultur i Uppland och Södermanland. Uppsala.Google Scholar

  • Bredehoft, T. A. 2009: Authors, Audiences, and Old English Verse. Toronto.Google Scholar

  • Harris, J. 2010: “Old Norse Memorial Discourse between Orality and Literacy”. In: Along the Oral-Written Continuum. Types of Texts, Relations and their Implications. (Ed.) S. Ranković et al. Turnhout. 119–133.Google Scholar

  • Holmberg, P. 2015: “Svaren på Rökstenens gåtor: En socialsemiotisk analys av meningsskapande och rumslighet”. In: Futhark 6 (2015). 65–106.Google Scholar

  • Hübler, F. 1996: Schwedische Runendichtung der Wikingerzeit. Uppsala.Google Scholar

  • Jesch, J. 2014: “Jómsvíkinga Sǫgur and Jómsvíkinga Drápur: Texts, Contexts and Intertexts”. In: Scripta Islandica 65. 81–100.Google Scholar

  • Krüger, J./V. Busch 2017: “The Metrical Characteristics of Maeshowe Runic Inscription No. 20”. In: Futhark 7. 111–125.Google Scholar

  • Malm, M. 2010: “Skalds, Runes, and Voice”. In: Viking and Medieval Scandinavia 6. 135–146.Google Scholar

  • Marold, E. 1998: “Runeninschriften als Quellen zur Geschichte der Skaldendichtung”. In: Runeninschriften als Quellen interdisziplinärer Forschung. (Ed.) K. Düwel/S. Nowak. Berlin. 667–693.Google Scholar

  • Marold, E. 2010: “Formen runischer Dichtung”. [http://www.khm.uio.no/english/research/publications/7th-symposium-preprints/marold.pdf] 28.12.2015.Google Scholar

  • Marold, E. 2011: “Vers oder nicht Vers? Zum metrischen Charakter von Runeninschriften im älteren Futhark”. In: Futhark. International Journal of Runic Studies 2. 63–102.Google Scholar

  • Mitchell, S. 2013: “Memory, Mediality, and the ‘Performative Turn’. Recontextualizing Remembering in Medieval Scandinavia”. In: Scandinavian Studies 85. 282–305.Google Scholar

  • Naumann, H.-P. 1994: “Hann var manna mestr óníðingr. Zur Poetizität metrischer Runeninschriften”. In: Studien zum Altgermanischen. Festschrift für Heinrich Beck. (Ed.) Heiko Uecker. Berlin. 490–502.Google Scholar

  • Naumann, H.-P. 1998: “Runeninschriften als Quelle der Versgeschichte”. In: Runeninschriften als Quellen interdisziplinärer Forschung. (Ed.) K. Düwel/S. Nowak. Berlin. 694–714.Google Scholar

  • Nielsen, H. F. 1998: “The Linguistic Status of the Early Runic Inscriptions of Scandinavia”. In: Runeninschriften als Quellen interdisziplinärer Forschung. (Ed.) K. Düwel/S. Nowak. Berlin. 539–555.Google Scholar

  • Spurkland, T. 2004: “Literacy and ‘Runacy’ in Medieval Scandinavia”. In: Scandinavia and Europe 800–1350. Contact, Conflict and Coexistence. (Ed.) J. Adams/K. Holman. Turnhout. 333–344.Google Scholar

  • Thórhallur Eythórsson 2012: “Three Daughters and a Funeral: Re-reading the Tune Inscription”. In: Futhark: International Journal of Runic Studies 3. 7–43.Google Scholar

  • Townend, M. 2015: Antiquity of Diction in Old English and Old Norse Poetry. Cambridge.Google Scholar

  • Wulf, F. 1998: Review of Hübler 1996. In: Alvíssmál 8. 93–97.Google Scholar

  • Wulf, F. 2003: “Runenverse und Runenritzer”. In: Runica – Germanica – Mediaevalia. (Ed.) W. Heizmann/A. van Nahl. Berlin. 969–1006.Google Scholar

About the article

Published Online: 2017-09-14

Published in Print: 2017-04-25


Citation Information: European Journal of Scandinavian Studies, Volume 47, Issue 1, Pages 181–202, ISSN (Online) 2191-9402, ISSN (Print) 2191-9399, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ejss-2017-0010.

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