Eddic Poetry as World Literature

Joseph Harris

Sammendrag


Professor Sophus Bugge is internationally probably still the most famous Norwegian scholar in the humanities of any period – and that more than a century after his death in 1907. Today it is difficult to image any single scholar staking a significant claim to such a variety of learned fields, including Indo-European and Scandinavian linguistics and philology, mythology and runology, classics, folklore, Celtic, and even the non-Indo-European Etruscan – and I have probably overlooked some. Not only was his range superhuman, but so was the quantity of his output, as a look at the bibliography in his memorial volume confirms (Olsen 1908: 285–294) – containing by rough count 230 free-standing titles and Magnus Olsen’s reminder (n. 1) that Bugge frequently published within other scholar’s works, for example, within the ballad collection of his friend Svend Grundtvig. Bugge plainly belongs to those nineteenth-century gen­iuses who were also workaholics. Looking into Bugge’s life a while back, I found no full biography, though many good short accounts shed light on his career (an especially good one, Holm-Olsen 1981) or on a section of his work, such as the fine appreciation of his ballad scholarship by Bengt R. Jonsson (1992). Perhaps no modern biographer has yet been fully prepared to evaluate that formidable oeuvre and also to take account of Bugge’s friendships and social connections generally. In any case, the handsome three-volume edition of his letters within Scandinavia firmly places him at the center of a lively epistolary social network.

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