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Vad är knittel? Fyrtaktig poesi kontra rimmad prosa
Lunds universitet.
2013 (Swedish)In: Språk & Stil, ISSN 1101-1165, Vol. 23, 205-231 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The medieval Swedish knittelvers has traditionally been analysed as consisting of end-rhymed verses of four beats, each divided into half-lines by a cæsura. While the rhymes are obvious, the four beats and the cæsura are not. Notwithstanding this uncertainty, the traditional analysis has persisted, and has recently been reinforced by Wåhlin (1989, 1999) who stresses the regularity of the four-beat line even more than his predecessors. This article starts with a review of the research tradition focusing on the origin and legacy of the Swedish knittel, the evolution and presumed deterioration of the metre, the far from ideal state of the manuscript sources, and the assumed metrical pattern. In the literature, the first three issues centre around the fourth: the notion of the four-beat knittel. The second part of the article examines this notion more closely. The four-beat line is evaluated in terms of relative rhythmicity: the relative justification of a metrical pattern is that it is supposed to correspond to the proportion of semantically rich words receiving prominence. A high proportion means strong justification, a low proportion weak justification. The same procedure is performed on a piece of medieval prose and a piece of modern poetry. A comparison of the genres shows no clear difference between medieval knittel and medieval prose, while the difference to modern poetry is apparent. The conclusion is that there are no clear reasons for assuming a four-beat metrical pattern.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 23, 205-231 p.
Keyword [en]
medieval Swedish poetry, knittel, knittelvers, the Eufemiavisor, rhymed chronicles, four-beat line
National Category
Languages and Literature
Research subject
Scandinavian Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-232394OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-232394DiVA: diva2:747826
Available from: 2014-09-17 Created: 2014-09-17 Last updated: 2014-09-18Bibliographically approved

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