The present work is intended to be a contribution in the study of kennings (special rhetorical figures) and their use in late medieval Icelandic poetry, particularly in rímur, a peculiar Icelandic poetical genre originated in the late 14th century. Kennings have been studied as crucial components of the skaldic poetry of the Viking age, but later medieval texts do not appear to have attracted systematic attention. Our analysis examines and compares several works in the field of Old Norse studies about kennings and then offers an interpre- tation of the kennings occurring in the text of Friðþjófsrímur “The Rímur of Friðþjófr”, composed in Iceland at the end of the 14th and the beginning of the 15th century. It points out trends and developments of these rhetorical figures according to historical and cultural changes and to their new literary context and metrical pattern. This work is divided into four parts: 1. the first part introduces the main features of the Icelandic genre of rímur, tracing its relationships with skaldic poetry and other medieval Scandinavian literary genres; 2. the second part specifically deals with Friðþjófsrímur and their relationships with the different redactions of Friðþjófssaga; 3. the third part presents and discusses the most notable defini- tions of kennings and the theoretical debate about them (going back to Snorri Sturluson and Óláfr Hvítaskáld until Rudolf Meissner, Wolfgang Mohr, Klaus von See, Edith Marold, Mar- garet Clunies Ross, John Lindow, Hallvard Lie, Roberta Frank, Fredric Amory, Bjarni Fidjestøl); 4. finally, in the fourth part, all the kennings of Friðþjófsrímur are classified according to different theoretical and grammatical principles and related to their specific poetic context. Although kennings and metaphors appear to be closely related and most kennings in Friðþjófsrímur can be classified as metaphorical, a number of them, instead, may be defined as either metonymical or syneddochical according to the type of relation- ships between the Grundwort (the chief member of the kenning) and the referent of the compound. In spite of a general stability of the kenning-system, we can ob- serve some evolution in the choice of synonyms in late medi- eval texts, due to cultural and historical changes (e.g. Chris- tianization). According to the so-called ‘functionalistic school’ which main- tains that a kennig serves multiple roles in its poetic context, we can observe that in the Friðþjófsrímur the context influences the choice in the range of synonyms: e.g. if a prince or a warrior is fighting at sea, he is called ‘leader of the sail-bear‘(leader of the ship) rather than ‘shaker of the wound-serpent’ (shaker of the sword). The contextual appropriateness of kennings stresses their allu- sive power and indicates that they are not merely ornamental devices. By characterizing people and actions in accordance with their context, they emphasize positive or negative elements actually contributing to the understanding of the narrative.

Kenningar nelle Friðþjo´fsri´mur islandesi

LOMBARDI, MARIA CRISTINA
2012

Abstract

The present work is intended to be a contribution in the study of kennings (special rhetorical figures) and their use in late medieval Icelandic poetry, particularly in rímur, a peculiar Icelandic poetical genre originated in the late 14th century. Kennings have been studied as crucial components of the skaldic poetry of the Viking age, but later medieval texts do not appear to have attracted systematic attention. Our analysis examines and compares several works in the field of Old Norse studies about kennings and then offers an interpre- tation of the kennings occurring in the text of Friðþjófsrímur “The Rímur of Friðþjófr”, composed in Iceland at the end of the 14th and the beginning of the 15th century. It points out trends and developments of these rhetorical figures according to historical and cultural changes and to their new literary context and metrical pattern. This work is divided into four parts: 1. the first part introduces the main features of the Icelandic genre of rímur, tracing its relationships with skaldic poetry and other medieval Scandinavian literary genres; 2. the second part specifically deals with Friðþjófsrímur and their relationships with the different redactions of Friðþjófssaga; 3. the third part presents and discusses the most notable defini- tions of kennings and the theoretical debate about them (going back to Snorri Sturluson and Óláfr Hvítaskáld until Rudolf Meissner, Wolfgang Mohr, Klaus von See, Edith Marold, Mar- garet Clunies Ross, John Lindow, Hallvard Lie, Roberta Frank, Fredric Amory, Bjarni Fidjestøl); 4. finally, in the fourth part, all the kennings of Friðþjófsrímur are classified according to different theoretical and grammatical principles and related to their specific poetic context. Although kennings and metaphors appear to be closely related and most kennings in Friðþjófsrímur can be classified as metaphorical, a number of them, instead, may be defined as either metonymical or syneddochical according to the type of relation- ships between the Grundwort (the chief member of the kenning) and the referent of the compound. In spite of a general stability of the kenning-system, we can ob- serve some evolution in the choice of synonyms in late medi- eval texts, due to cultural and historical changes (e.g. Chris- tianization). According to the so-called ‘functionalistic school’ which main- tains that a kennig serves multiple roles in its poetic context, we can observe that in the Friðþjófsrímur the context influences the choice in the range of synonyms: e.g. if a prince or a warrior is fighting at sea, he is called ‘leader of the sail-bear‘(leader of the ship) rather than ‘shaker of the wound-serpent’ (shaker of the sword). The contextual appropriateness of kennings stresses their allu- sive power and indicates that they are not merely ornamental devices. By characterizing people and actions in accordance with their context, they emphasize positive or negative elements actually contributing to the understanding of the narrative.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11574/31100
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