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Alliteration in the Poetic Edda


Tadao Shimomiya

This book presents a detailed analysis of the alliteration of the whole of the Poetic Edda (or Elder Edda) of the Codex Regius, using the Germanic alliterative framework established by Andreas Heusler. The considerable regularity of the alliterative scheme is demonstrated, with only a handful of the corpus of approximately 7,300 long-lines falling outside of the rules identified, and therefore the appropriacy of Heusler’s system for understanding the structure of the Poetic Edda is confirmed.
The needs of the student of Old Icelandic poetic style have been foremost in mind in the presentation of this book. It includes an overview of sources not readily available to scholars as well as those not available in English. Copious examples are presented in Old Icelandic with English translation and supported by a select glossary of key Old Icelandic words into English. A Japanese language précis contains a select list of 100 alliterations that appear in the Poetic Edda.


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Foreword vii


Foreword This is an expanded version of the same study published in The Development of the Anglo-Saxon Language and Linguistic Universals (Series 3, 87–115, Senshu University, March 2008). The text is from Hans Kuhn (ed.), Edda. Die Lieder des Codex Regius nebst verwandten Denkmälern (I. Text, Dritte, umgearbeitete Auf lage, Heidelberg 1962). Examples are given in the order of the text by H. Kuhn (1962) so that the reader can get a rough idea about the content of the Poetic Edda. For the general principles of alliteration see A. Heusler’s article on ‘Stabreim’, in Reallexikon der germanischen Alter- tumskunde (ed. Johannes Hoops, Bd.4, Strassburg 1918–1919), 231–240. For the English translation of the Poetic Edda, I am largely indebted to the newest one by Carolyne Larrington (Oxford World’s Classics, 1999), which I find text faithful and context friendly. I also consulted German translations by H. Gering, K. Simrock and F. Genzmer and the Japanese translation by Yukio Taniguchi (Tokyo 1973). Beatrice La Farge and John Tucker’s Glossary to the Poetic Edda (Heidelberg 1992) has been thank- fully consulted on every occasion. For the identification of word forms, I was greatly aided by H. Gering (1903). An Old Icelandic–English glossary is appended for beginning students. I have added a Japanese résumé (which includes a synopsis of alliteration in general and a selection of a hundred examples of alliteration from the Poetic Edda) for Japanese readers. I am grateful to Professor Tomonori Matsushita of Senshu University, Tokyo,...

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