“Völuspá” and “Grímnismál”: A Way of Knowing

Emily H.  Beyer (University of Wisconsin, Madison)

In these two Eddic poems, the characters of the seeress and the god Óðinn recount the events of a mythological past before their audiences. This paper argues that these recitations of mythic knowing may provide windows into an old system of prophecy from the Germanic oral to oral-literate traditions. The paper incorporates studies of shamanistic rituals that contain poems and prophecy from Africa and Canada to shed light on where Eddic poems suggest a performer might provide mantic commentary in an “inspired” oral-composition mode. This paper relies on the scholarship of John Miles Foley, Ruth Finnegan, Icelandic scholars, and others for its discussion.

Part of 24-04 Speaking Through/With Time and Tradition: Nordic Case Studies, Tuesday, October 19, 2:15 pm–3:45 pm