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Undergraduate course

Old Norse Poetry

  • ECTS credits5
  • Teaching semesterAutumn
  • Course codeNOFI109
  • Number of semesters1
  • LanguageNorwegian. Danish, Swedish and English may also be used to a certain extent.
  • Resources

Main content

Level of Study


Teaching semester


Place of Instruction


Objectives and Content

The aim of this course is to expand the students' ability to read and understand Old Norse poems, such as Eddic poetry and skaldic poetry, in their original language and form. The students will also learn to use guiding texts such as dictionaries, commentaries, grammar books and different text editions.

Learning Outcomes


After successfully completing this course, students will have:

- Basic knowledge of Old Norse poems, such as the styles of heroic poetry, poems of Norse gods and the older and newer tradition of the skald.

- Basic knowledge of metric variations in both Eddic poetry and skaldic poetry.

- A clear understanding of two Eddic poems in their original language and form.

- A clear understanding of ten stanzas of dróttkvætt (¿courtly metre¿) in its original language and form.


- The ability to comment on and analyse a selection of the Edda poems and skaldic poems in their original language and form.

- The ability to comment on and analyse the metric structure of Eddic poetry and skaldic poetry.

- The ability to explain the use of heiti and kenningar in skaldic poetry.

General Competence

- can identify references to - or elements from Old Norse poetry in later literature, art and film

- can reflect on other aesthetics and contexts that apply to poetry in older times or other cultures

Required Previous Knowledge


Students must have a good knowledge of the Norwegian language.

Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap

NOFI109 overlaps completely with parts of the previously taught course NOFI102, so that those who have taken NOFI102 will not also be awarded credits for NOFI109.

Access to the Course

The course is open to all students with the right to study at UiB.

Teaching and learning methods


The teaching will be held in the second third of the semester.

The teaching is planned with the intention that the students participate actively, and it is therefore expected that they carry out the assignments (written and/or oral) that will be set as a part of the teaching.

If less than five students are registered for a course, the department might reduce the teaching, please see the department¿s guidelines regarding this on Mitt UiB. Regarding a course where this is a possibility, the students will get information about this at the beginning of the semester, and before the deadline regarding semester registration 1st February/1st September.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Obligatory attendance at at least 75% of the scheduled lectures

The compulsory requirements are valid for the given semester and the following semester.

Forms of Assessment

Oral examination.

No examination support material is permitted.

The oral examination will normally be held the week after the last lecture has taken place.

It is permitted to speak Norwegian, Danish, Swedish or English during the oral exam. It will be taken into consideration that international students might need extra time in order to formulate their answers fully.

Grading Scale

Grade scale A-F.

Reading List


A. Primary Texts

1. Eddic poetry: two Edda poems, at least 80 stanzas altogether.

2. Skaldic poetry: 10 stanzas of dróttkvætt, e.g. the selection given in chapter 7 by Else Mundal in Handbok i norrøn filologi, ed. Odd Einar Haugen, Bergen: Fagbokforlaget (2013).

B. Secondary Texts

1. An introduction to eddic and skaldic poetry, e.g. chapter 7 in Handbok i norrøn filologi.

2. A selection of commentaries on eddic and skaldic poetry.

The department will announce the complete syllabus. There is the opportunity to change parts of the literature on the syllabus in consultation with the lecturer. In this case, the candidate must contact the course lecturer as soon as possible, and hand in and have the syllabus list approved within the advertised deadline.

Course Evaluation

Evaluation will be conducted in accordance with the University of Bergen's quality assurance system.


Department of Linguistic, Literary and Aesthetic Studies.

E-mail: advice@lle.uib.no

Exam information