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Versatility in Versification

Multidisciplinary Approaches to Metrics


Tonya Kim Dewey

Versatility in Versification grew out of an international conference organized by the University of Iceland and the Nordic Society for Metrical Studies and held at Reykholt, Iceland, the thirteenth-century home of Snorri Sturluson. Although medieval Icelandic poetic culture was highlighted at the conference, the range of subjects remained diverse and discussion became dynamic. Similarly, this volume brings together the work of a broad range of scholars who embark on a discourse across disciplines, addressing aspects of poetry and poetics within the Germanic language family in particular. The subjects range from runic metrical inscriptions to literature and poetics of the modern day, the medieval period becoming a nexus of attention through which the various subjects in this historical scope are interwoven and united. Approaches range from theoretical linguistics and generative metrics to cognitive theory and folkloristics. The discourse initiated at the conference has both continued and expanded during this volume’s evolution, and it has significantly enriched the development of the individual chapters, which variously treat meters, their relationships to language, and poetics in application. These diverse subjects and approaches form remarkable constellations of complementary relationships and continue to engage in a discourse to the immense benefit of the reader.
Contents: Kristján Árnason: Preface and Acknowledgments – Frog/Tonya Kim Dewey: Introduction – Michael Schulte: Early Runic ‘metrical’ inscriptions - How metrical are they? – Guðrún Nordal: Metrical learning and the First Grammatical Treatise – Kristján Árnason: On Kuhn’s Laws and Craigie’s Law in Old Icelandic poetry – Thórhallur Eythórsson: The syntax of the verb in Old Icelandic: Evidence from poetry – Tonya Kim Dewey: The effect of prosody on the linear structure of adpositional phrases in eddic verse – Ragnar Ingi Aðalsteinsson: Alliteration and grammatical categories – Chris Golston: Old English feet – Tomas Riad: Accents left and right – Nigel Fabb: Formal interactions in poetic meter – Stefano Versace: How Germanic features can appear in Italian metrical poetry – Sissel Furuseth: The poem as a site of inherited structures and artistic innovation – Jacqueline Pattison Ekgren: Dipod rules: Norwegian stev, paired accents and accentual poetry – Frog: Speech-acts in skaldic verse: Genre, compositional strategies and improvisation – Helgi Skúli Kjartansson: No royal road: The extremes of dróttkvætt lines in Snorri’s Háttatal – Bergljót Soffía Kristjánsdóttir: Gnast and brast: On metrics, enjambment and more in two ditties in Gísla saga, the shorter version – Eva Lilja: Towards a theory of aesthetic rhythm.