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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. Anonymous Lausavísur, 8. Lausavísur from Vǫlsa þáttr, 7 [Vol. 1, 1099]

[1-2]: The fact that the daughter of the house swears by Gefjun fits with the designation of the goddess as a virgin in Gylf (SnE 2005, 29). According to Steinsland, Gefjun is contrasted here with Vǫlsi and the ritual connected to it (Steinsland and Vogt 1981, 102). On the other hand, the crude comic element that evokes the image of the severed, yet aroused, horse phallus in the hands of a maiden is surely not unintentional. The association of virginity with sexuality recalls the two opposing sides of Gefjun: beside the virgin goddess Gefjun there is also a magical and lascivious Gefjun who is described in the introductory chapter of Gylf (SnE 2005, 7; cf. Heizmann 2002).


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