Hallgrímur Pétursson. Ljóðmæli 5.

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Abstract

This is the fifth volume of the complete works of Icelandic poet Hallgrímur Pétursson (1614–1674). Unlike the first four volumes, which contain mainly hymns and religious poems, the fifth volume contains poems that may be characterised as secular to distinguish them from the poet’s spiritual compositions. The poems are more closely connected to everyday life than in previous volumes, and many deal with specific incidents in the poet’s life.
This volume contains mainly lausavísur or single-stanza poems, but there are also two longer poems: “Oft er ís lestur” [Ice is often cracked] and “Stöngin fylgir strokki” [The staff follows the churn]. These two poems have a similar metre and sometimes circulate together in manuscripts, occasionally as a single work. Numerous manuscript copies of both poems survive, and it can be difficult to establish the connections between extant copies. New manuscripts preserving these poems emerged constantly during the editing process, and the abundance of copies was an interesting finding, in its own right, as were the difficulties presented for the scholarly editor.
Single-stanza poems by the Rev. Hallgrímur Pétursson tend to be preserved in much younger manuscripts than his other works. For this reason, this volume contains discussion of many manuscripts not already described in the previous four volumes. Although it can be difficult to determine which single-stanza poems are reliably attributed to the poet, poetry composition was clearly an important part of his daily life. He is portrayed in a biography by the Rev. Vigfús Jónsson of Hítardalur (1706–1776) as a man with a good sense of humour, who often composed a verse on the spot when he saw something that struck him as amusing. His single-stanza poems are frequently accompanied in manuscripts by brief prose accounts of the events that sparked the composition of a given poem and explanations of the context and message. In some instances, the editors have chosen to include the accompanying text in this volume.
None of the 49 poems in this volume survive in Hallgrímur Pétursson’s own hand. As in previous volumes, a diplomatic transcription of the manuscript selected as the main text (identified in bold in the list of manuscripts of a given poem) is accompanied by a variant apparatus at the bottom of the page with variants from other witnesses. The preservation of each poem is described in detail, and a complete list of manuscripts at the back of the volume provides concise descriptions of all manuscripts containing one or more poems edited in this volume.

Original languageIcelandic
Place of PublicationReykjavík
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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