Study Guide

Elder Edda Criticism

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The first indication of the Elder Edda's critical reception is the simple fact of its preservation in a quietly elegant manuscript, the Codex Regius with the explanatory prose passages interspersed among the lays. It is often assumed that, as Christianity reached the peoples of northern Europe, devout Christians, as well as the institutional church, automatically attempted to destroy the memory of the old gods and the human heroes whose activities, judged by Judeo-Christian standards, were often less than edifying. Nevertheless, the poems in Elder Edda were preserved, collected, and copied. This process can perhaps be most easily understood with reference to the work of the Icelandic scholar and politician, Snorri Sturlson (1179-1241), author of the treatise the Prose Edda, which laid the foundation for the analysis of Norse poetry. The stories preserved in the Elder Edda were part of the essential tools of the skalds, Norse poets who...

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This section contains 899 words
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Elder Edda from Epics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.