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Durham University

Department of English Studies


Academic Staff

Publication details for Professor John McKinnell

John McKinnell (2005). Hávamál B: A Poem of Sexual Intrigue. Saga-Book 29(2005): 83-114.
  • Publication type: Journal Article
  • ISSN/ISBN: 0305-9219
  • Keywords: Hávamál, Poetic Edda, Old Norse poetry

Author(s) from Durham


The collection of mythological and gnomic verse in the Poetic Edda which is known as Hávamál is shown to be made up of four major elements, of which the second is a witty poem about sexual intrigue, probably composed in the 12th century under the influence of Ovid's Ars Amatoria, but also embodying two older fragments of Old Norse mythological verse. Each of these uses the experience of the god Óðinn to demonstrate how women betray men and vice versa. The article also includes an edition and translation of the poem as now reconstructed.

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