The paper discusses a number of versified runic inscriptions, mainly from Scandinavia, and from ca. 400 to 1400 AD, to explore what they reveal about the forms and functions of early Scandinavian poetry outside the manuscript tradition. With a particular focus on ‘authors’ and ‘audiences’, as defined by Bredehoft in his work on Anglo-Saxon inscriptions, the paper elucidates the potential oral contexts of Scandinavian runic verse and concludes that, although runic writing is a form of literacy, the examples show that for most of its history it is associated with various kinds of oral context. Runic verse shows that inscriptions provide one of the best ways into understanding the Scandinavian oral tradition, not only before the arrival of manuscript literacy, but also during its infancy.
Jesch, J. (2017). Runes and Verse: The Medialities of Early Scandinavian Poetry. European Journal of Scandinavian Studies, 47(1), 181-202. https://doi.org/10.1515/ejss-2017-0010