Study Guide

Anonymous Writing Styles in Elder Edda

Anonymous
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Epic Characteristics

Leaving aside the Sayings of the High One, which has more in common with works like the biblical Proverbs, it appears that the Elder Edda is not an epic but materials for one. Here, for once, modern readers have the relatively short poetic narratives, or lays, which supposedly lie behind the epic. While the collection provides in the Sibyl's Prophecy a narrative from earth's creation through destruction and renewal, the majority of the poems fit only loosely into that scheme. There is no single hero, but rather a number of heroes ranging from the dim-but-effective god Thor to Gunnar, the treacherous brother-in-law of Sigurd, who, nevertheless, dies a hero while fighting the great tyrant of the age, Atli. Unlike the generic epic, the Edda has the obscenities of Loki in The Insolence of Loki and the broad humor of the Thor episodes—particularly the Lay of Thrym...

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This section contains 914 words
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Buy the Elder Edda Study Guide
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Epics for Students
Elder Edda from Epics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.