The Literary Adaptation of Vǫluspá in Hauksbók and Snorra Edda

Bernt Ø. Thorvaldsen

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The three versions of Vǫluspá display substantial differences in their references to speaker and audience. In 2013, the present author investigated such references in the Codex Regius version of the poem, and argued that the puzzling deictic peculiarities are, in fact, traces of oral performance. The present article concludes the study of speaker and audience in Vǫluspá by offering a detailed analysis of the other versions of the poem, found in Hauksbók and Snorra Edda. It is argued that we encounter higher degrees of literary adaptation in these two versions than that seen in the Codex Regius version. Vǫluspá is a rare case in which the process of the literary adaptation of an oral art form may be investigated in some detail. The adaptation is not primarily explained according to chronological development, but rather according to differing literary purposes and according to a waning understanding of the oral origins of the poem and the oral art form.

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ISSN 1890-5455

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