3. Guidelines supplement (TW)
Conventions of normalisation of the poetry in fornaldarsögur
The question of how and to what chronological standard to normalise poetry in manuscripts of fornaldarsögur is a vexed one, to which there is no fully satisfying answer. There are several reasons for this, including the fact that most of the poetry in these sagas has been recorded in manuscripts of the fourteenth century or later, sometimes much later. Although we may suspect that much of this poetry is old, perhaps very old, we do not know in most cases exactly how old it is. A similar situation exists with the poetry of the Elder Edda, but there at least the manuscripts are of reasonably early date.
Much of the poetry in the fornaldarsaga corpus is metrically irregular and difficult to date on either linguistic or metrical criteria. As a lot of it is in fornyrðislag, it has probably been readily subject to changes, both in oral tradition and in scribal transmission and corruption.
You will have observed that Skj, followed by Skald, have tried to date the poetry in these sagas to a range of dates between the early thirteenth and the fourteenth centuries.
There are some instances in which criteria can be invoked (e. g. linguistic, metrical, lexicographical) to suggest that the poetry is considerably older than the prose context in which it has been recorded, but rarely can we be precise about its age. Furthermore, in some cases we know that forms of certain fornaldarsögur were extant by the late twelfth or early thirteenth centuries (e .g. Snorri Sturluson clearly knew a version of what we know as Hrólfs saga kraka), but we do not know whether they took a similar form to that in which we know them now, either as regards the poetry or the prose.
In the face of this uncertainty, while at the same time wishing to offer a reasonably conservative text of the poetry in fornaldarsögur, it has seemed best to the General Editors to adopt the following principles of normalisation. We would be grateful if you could follow them when preparing your draft editions, unless of course you have already submitted them. In that case, I will make any necessary alterations.
Margaret Clunies Ross,
The following are supplementary guidelines or clarifications of submission format, where the Manual is unclear or not comprehensive.
1. tmesis in text and prose order
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