A Podcast Exploring the Wit and Weirdness of Medieval Texts

MDT Ep. 72: An Icelandic Vision of the Afterlife

Detail from Bodleian Library MS Douce 134, f. 87r.

This episode we take a look at Sólarljóð, an Old Norse poem that mixes a Christian tour of heaven and hell with the stylings of eddic poetry. We also consider what it might have in common with one of the fugues of the Great Revival.

Today’s Text

  • “Song of the Sun.” The Elder Eddas of Saemund Sigfusson and the Younger Eddas of Snorre Sturleson, translated by Benjamin Thorpe and I.A. Blackwell, Norrœna Society, 1906, pp. 11-120. Google Books.


  • Cobb, Buell E., Jr. The Sacred Harp, A Tradition and Its Music. U of Georgia P, 1978.
  • Larrington, Carolyne, and Peter Robinson. Introduction to “Anonymous, Sólarljóð.Poetry on Christian Subjects, edited by Margaret Clunies Ross, Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7, Brepols, 2007, pp. 287-357.
  • “Sólarljóð — Anon SólVII.” Skaldic Project.
  • Wright, Thomas. St. Patrick’s Purgatory: An Essay on the Legends of Purgatory, Hell, and Paradise, Current During the Middle Ages. John Russell Smith, 1844. Google Books.
  • Zaleski, Carol. Otherworld Journeys: Accounts of Near-Death Experience in Medieval and Modern Times. Oxford UP, 1987.

Image: Detail from Bodleian Library MS Douce 134, f. 87r.

Audio Credit: “Greenwich” performed by Cork Sacred Harp, from the first Ireland Sacred Harp Convention, 2011. Used under CC-BY-3.0 license. https://soundcloud.com/corksacredharp/183-greenwich.


  1. Luke

    Hi Patrick,

    Where can we find your mysterious word from this passage? Thank you!

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