World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Svipdagsmál

Article Id: WHEBN0000591633
Reproduction Date:

Title: Svipdagsmál  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Fjölsvinnsmál, Aurboða, Gróa, AM 738 4to, Hervararkviða
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Svipdagsmál

Svipdagr meets his beloved in this illustration by W. G. Collingwood.

Svipdagsmál or The Lay of Svipdagr is an Old Norse poem, a part of the Poetic Edda, comprising two poems, The Spell of Gróa and The Lay of Fjölsviðr. The two works are grouped since they have a common narrator, Svipdagr. Moreover, they would appear to have a common origin since they are closely similar in use of language, structure, style and metre (ljóðaháttr). These two poems are found in several 17th-century paper manuscripts. In at least three of these manuscripts, the poems are in reverse order and separated by a third Eddic poem titled Hyndluljóð.[1] For a long time, the connection between the two poems was not realized, until in 1854 Svend Grundtvig pointed out a connection between the story told in Grógaldr and the first part of the medieval Scandinavian ballad of Ungen Sveidal[2]/Herr Svedendal/Hertig Silfverdal. Then in 1856, Sophus Bugge noticed that the last part of the ballad corresponded to Fjölsvinnsmál. Bugge wrote about this connection in Forhandlinger i Videnskabs-Selskabet i Christiania 1860, calling the two poems together Svipdagsmál. Subsequent scholars have accepted this title.[3]

Contents

  • Poems 1
    • Grógaldr 1.1
    • Fjölsvinnsmál 1.2
  • Theories 2
  • Notes 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Poems

Grógaldr

In the first poem, the young Svipdagr has been compelled to come to Menglöð by his cruel stepmother. To acclompish this seemingly impossible task, he summons the shade of his mother, Gróa, a völva or witch, to aid him in this task. She casts nine spells (a significant number in Norse mythology).

Fjölsvinnsmál

In the second poem, Svipdag, having survived the rigours of the journey, is confronted by the eponymous giant watchman, Fjölsviðr. Fjölsviðr is one of the names of the principal of the gods of Asgard, Odin. Fjölsviðr tells him to go away, while asking him his name; Svipdagr wisely conceals his name. A game consisting of question and answer riddles ensues, wherein Svipdagr learns that Menglöð lives in the castle guarded by the Fjölsviðr, and that the castle may not be entered by any save one: Svipdagr. He gives his true name and the gates are opened and Menglöð greets her saviour.

Theories

To date, scholarship has reached no consensus on the meaning of the poems, producing a number of competing theories. Jacob Grimm (1835) identified Menglöð (Old Norse "the one who takes pleasure in jewels"[4]) with Freyja. Viktor Rydberg (1889) identified Svipdagr as Freyja's husband Óðr, Menglöð herself as Freyja, and Fjölsviðr representing Odin.[5] Hjalmar Falk (1893) is inclined to see the influence of Grail-poems.[6] Jan de Vries (1941) concluded that the author had formed an Eddic poem out of a fairy story of an enchanted princess and her lover, through borrowing and invention. Otto Höfler (1952) and F.R. Schröder (1966) discerned elements of the myth and ritual which treat the reawakening of the earth beneath the rays of the sun each spring. Einar Ólafur Sveinsson (1975) suggests that the substance of the poem comes from the Irish legend of Art mac Cuinn. Lotte Motz (1975) argues that the poem represents the initiation of a young hero into a mother-goddess cult, identifying Svipdagr's mother Gróa with his lover, Menglöð, based primarily on a limited interpretation of the word mögr in Fjölsvinnsmál 47. More recently, John McKinnell (2005) has stated: "There is no need to identify Menglöð with Gróa, and the attempt to see Gróa’s spells as an initiatory ritual distorts the obvious meaning of several of them."[1]

Notes

  1. ^ a b McKinnell (2005:202).
  2. ^ Ballad no. 70 in the second volume of his Danmarks gamle Folkeviser
  3. ^ Sveinsson (1975).
  4. ^ Simek (2007:211).
  5. ^ Rydberg (1889:510—515).
  6. ^ Falk (1893).

References

External links

  • Jörmungrund: Svipdagsmál (Old Norse text with English translation.)
  • Bellows' translation
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.