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16.05.2019

Scandinavian literature

We can safely say that the Scandinavian literature takes its roots from the Old Icelandic literature. Long years vikings travelled from country to country, conquered new lands, tried to arrange settlements. But usually peoples of conquered lands were more powerful and vikings' culture, language and traditions mixed with main and disappeared with time. Vikings could keep their national features just on the territories which were not populated before them. As the result - just Iceland became the country that was established by vikings.

Ari the Wise (1067-1148) - the first Icelandic chronicler who wrote the first history of Iceland (The Book of the Icelanders) noticed that the first settlers appeared on the lands of Iceland "soon after year 870". At the same time another source says that first people came to Iceland in 874. So that, right now the history of Iceland and Icelandic literature counts more than thousand years. All Old Icelandic literature we can devide into two groups - edda poetry and scald poetry. The early Icelandic poetry closely connected with paganism. And people believed that the talant of versification is given by Supreme God Odin.

All world knows stories about Gods and heroes thanks to Poetic Edda songs. Poetic Edda is the collection of songs that was included to the Codex Regius. The manuscript was found in Iceland in 1643. Long time the parchment stayed in Copenhagen but in April 1971 it returned to Iceland, to the Arni Magnusson Institute in Reykjavik.

Edda poetry is really special one. We don't know the author, its form very simple, contains mythological and heroic stories, wordly-wisdom. Every song is quite short but at the same time full of action and telling us just about one episode from heroes or gods life. All Poetic Edda we can devide into two parts - the first part tells us about Gods, the second one about heroes.

Völuspá - is the most famous saga from the Poetic Edda. The first part of this saga tells us about appearing of the world and main events of the world history, the second part is the describing of the end of the world and death of gods. There're also songs of Germanic origin about Sigurd and Atli in the Poetic Edda. This text is also known as The Song of the Nibelungs.

The Prose Edda was written by scald Snorri Sturluson (1178-1241). It contains rules of poetry and retelling of the Norse mythology.

 

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