Oddrúnargrátr is the twenty-ninth part of the Older Edda (OE) or Poetic Edda.
INTRODUCTORY NOTE by Henry Adams Bellows
The Oddrunargratr follows Guthrunarkvitha III in the Codex Regius; it is not quoted or mentioned elsewhere, except that the composer of the „short“ Sigurth lay seems to have been familiar with it. The Volsungasaga says nothing of the story on which it is based, and mentions Oddrun only once, in the course of its paraphrase of Brynhild's prophecy from the „short“ Sigurth lay. That the poem comes from the eleventh century is generally agreed; prior to the year 1000 there is no trace of the figure of Oddrun, Atli's sister, and yet the Oddrunargratr is almost certainly older than the „short“ Sigurth lay, so that the last half of the eleventh century seems to be a fairly safe guess.
Where or how the figure of Oddrun entered the Sigurth-Atli cycle is uncertain. She does not appear in any of the extant German versions, and it is generally assumed that she was a creation of the North, though the poet refers to „old tales“ concerning her. She does not directly affect the course of the story at all, though the poet has used effectively the episode of Gunnar's death, with the implication that Atli's vengeance on Gunnar and Hogni was due, at least in part, to his discovery of Gunnar's love affair with Oddrun. The material which forms the background of Oddrun's story belongs wholly to the German part of the legend (cf. introductory note to Gripisspo), and is paralleled with considerable closeness in the Nibelungenlied; only Oddrun herself and the subsidiary figures of Borgny and Vilmund are Northern additions. The geography, on the other hand, is so utterly chaotic as to indicate that the original localization of the Atli story had lost all trace of significance by the time this poem was composed.
In the manuscript the poem, or rather the brief introductory prose note, bears the heading „Of Borgny and Oddrun,“ but nearly all editions, following late paper manuscripts, have given the poem the title it bears here. Outside of a few apparently defective stanzas, and some confusing transpositions, the Poem has clearly been preserved in good condition, and the beginning and end are definitely marked.
Eddukvæði II, Hetjukvæði, Jónas Kristjánsson og Vésteinn Ólason gáfu út, p. 365-371, Íslenzk fornrit, Reykjavík 2014.
Oddrunsgraad (Oddrúnargrátr), tr. G.A Gjessing, Kristiania 1899.
ODDRUNARGRATRThe Lament of Oddrun, tr. Henry Adams Bellows, in the Poetic Edda, the American-Scandinavian Foundation, 1936.
Input by Angela Kowalczyk, August 14th, 2016.