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Snorri Sturluson (–1241)

Author of The Prose Edda

143+ Works 6,754 Members 64 Reviews 21 Favorited

About the Author

Snorri Sturluson's fame as a historian---his main work is the 16 sagas included in Heimskringla (c.1230), a monumental history of Norway from its beginning until 1177---lies both in his critical approach to sources and in his fine, realistic exposition of event and motivation. A similar combination show more of scholarly and imaginative talent is seen in The Prose Edda (c.1220). Intended to be a handbook in skaldic poetry, it preserves invaluable mythological tales that were on the verge of being forgotten even in Sturluson's time. A large part of what we know about Nordic mythology stems from his Edda. The bibliography that follows also lists the anonymous Egil's Saga (1200--30), which many expert Scandinavian medievalists (e.g., Sigurdur Nordal and Bjorn M. Olsen) attribute to Sturluson. It is a fascinating account of life in Norway, England, and Iceland and of the poet-warrior Egil, whose skaldic verse is renowned for its unusual emotional and personal qualities. Snorri Sturluson's own life was as eventful as those about whom he wrote. Returning to Iceland from exile in 1239, he again became deeply involved in serious power struggles and was murdered in 1241. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Statue of Snorri Sturluson by sculptor Gustav Vigeland, in Bergen, Norway. An identical statue was erected at Reykholt, Iceland. Source: Own work Date: 27 March 2007 Author: Barend


Works by Snorri Sturluson

The Prose Edda (1220) — Author — 3,077 copies
Egil's Saga (1240) 1,051 copies
Eyrbyggja Saga (1973) 336 copies
Nordiska kungasagor. 2, Olav den heliges saga (1964) — Author — 59 copies
The Elder Edda and the Younger Edda (2006) — Author — 36 copies
La saga de los Ynglingos (1976) 17 copies
Edda: Hattatal (1991) — Author — 15 copies
La alucinación de Gylfi (1990) 12 copies
Edda: Skaldskaparmal (1998) 9 copies
UPPSALA EDDA (2012) 7 copies
Eddas (2014) 5 copies
Norrœna Anglo-Saxon Classics : The Eddas (1907) — Author — 4 copies
Snorris Eddasagn (1970) 4 copies
Norges kongesagaer B. 2 (1995) 4 copies
Viking Mitolojisi (2018) 4 copies
Edda: Part 1 (1982) 2 copies
Kongesoger 2 copies
2. Kongesagaer. Annen del (1979) 2 copies
The Heimskringla (2018) 2 copies
Edda młodsza prozaiczna (2009) 2 copies
Viking Mitleri-Nesir Edda (2019) 2 copies
Kongesagaer 2 copies
Saga of the Ynglings (2021) 1 copy
Snorre 1 copy
Snorre Sturlasøn: (2012) 1 copy
Konungasagor 1 copy
Kongesoger 1 copy

Associated Works

The Sagas of Icelanders (1997) — Introduction, some editions — 2,397 copies
Heroic Fantasy Short Stories (Gothic Fantasy) (2017) — Contributor — 69 copies
Egil Skallagrimssons saga & Gunnlaug Ormstungas saga (1979) — Attributed author — 54 copies
The Book of the Sea (1954) — Contributor — 36 copies
Endless Apocalypse Short Stories (Gothic Fantasy) (2018) — Contributor — 34 copies
Mitt skattkammer. b.9 Gjennom tidene — Contributor — 9 copies
Piirakkasota : Valikoima huumoria — Contributor — 3 copies


13th century (69) anthology (43) classic (48) classics (102) Edda (54) epic (78) fiction (290) folklore (135) history (490) Iceland (399) Icelandic (161) Icelandic literature (144) Icelandic Sagas (56) literature (202) medieval (272) medieval history (51) medieval literature (164) Middle Ages (63) myth (71) mythology (679) non-fiction (129) Nordic (48) Norse (368) Norse mythology (151) Norway (128) Old Norse (126) Old Norse literature (46) Penguin Classics (69) poetry (164) read (40) religion (62) saga (339) sagas (294) Scandinavia (152) Scandinavian literature (49) Snorri Sturluson (40) to-read (453) translation (100) unread (53) Vikings (371)

Common Knowledge



Since this was my second time reading, I skipped Snorri's final section detailing verse-forms, as I was more interested in the mythology than the art of ancient poetry.

Snorri created this collection of stories and poetry how-to in part to save a dying art. He himself was Christian but he wished to ensure that traditional Norse poetic composition was not lost. He has an interesting theory on the origin of Aesir worship, linking them with Trojan mythology.

Reading this composition, I couldn't help but be sad that this is one of the few sources we still have for Norse mythology, and what we get here is often tantalising fragments. Snorri often quotes other compositions, which have been lost to the ages save the few lines he includes. Just what was Heimdall's poem, what would it have told us about the enigmatic watchman of the gods, and would it have told us why the head is called "Heimdall's sword"?

This is certainly a must for anyone wishing to dig down into Norse mythology. This is one of the main sources that collections of the myths draw from, and you can judge for yourself how well they have interpreted the fragmentary source material. One of the surprises is how numerous the gods were, yet these days we only really pay any attention to Odin, Thor and Loki, seeing as the surviving myths concern mainly these three and give them such lively personalities. But what of Loki and Odin's companion Hoenir? What of Gefjon who ploughed up a whole island? We may never know.

One thing I can say with fair certainty: our modern interpretation of Odin seems to be completely wrong. Sure he was "All Father", but he was also "Corpse Father" and "Dread". I feel that rather than being a kindly old man, he must have been terrifying.
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weemanda | 24 other reviews | Nov 2, 2023 |
prior to reading notes in this vol I hadn't realized that some of the "mythical" material reflects actual people/events with independent attestations (Atli=Attila etc)
utterly fascinating
lidaskoteina | 24 other reviews | Sep 16, 2022 |
The Prose Edda is a collection of Norse legends and writings compiled by Snorri Sturluson (and at least some definitely written by him) in the 1200s. I don't know a ton about Norse mythology so did find this interesting - it was nice to finally "really" figure out how all of the pieces that I've heard about at various times, from Valhalla to Thor's hammer to Ragnarok to Yggdrasil, all fit together. As one would expect from what is essentially a compilation of myths (also featuring all of the different names of the different gods), it's not the most compelling read, and I found it hard to keep track of which giant did what in which story, but I definitely came out of this knowing more about Norse myths than I did when I started it.

It would have been useful for me to know in advance that the translation/edition that you pick to read may have huge repercussions for your enjoyment of the book, since there are some sections of the Prose Edda (the really dry ones on the composition of poetry) that aren't included in all editions. I first tried to read a non-abridged edition and found it to be a total slog, but eventually I switched to the Penguin edition (the Jesse Byock translation) and found it much more enjoyable.
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forsanolim | 24 other reviews | May 18, 2022 |
I was quite excited to find this volume at my a local used book sale - I've been trying to read more of the myths and sagas written before the introduction of Christianity. While this set of stories is written some years after Egil, this saga certainly fits the bill.

By the time Snorri Sturluson wrote them, he was using stories that have been passed down through the centuries, so while Egil is a real person, and he was an important historical figure, what we know about him is a mix of truth, hyperbole, and completely false. This doesn't detract from the story.

These stories are both brutal and beautiful. This is a time of brutality. Where death is both casual and done at at a whim. Egil spends part of his time raiding in other places, often killing people just because they were in his way. However, he had his moments. He is regarded as a great poet, and his poetry is renowned across Iceland and Sweden.

Highly recommended. Its a great read, full of adventure, but also sheds light into the Viking world.
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TheDivineOomba | 8 other reviews | Jan 1, 2022 |



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I. A. Blackwell Translator
J. W. Buel Editor
Lee M. Hollander Translator
Hermann Palsson Translator
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Samuel Laing Translator
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J. Lasès Translator
K. Samplonius Translator
I. Marsman Translator
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H. Hamaker Translator
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P. Vermeyden Translator/afterword
William Morris Translator
Hjalmar Alving Translator
Mats Malm Translator
Sigurdur Nordal Introduction
Jesse L. Byock Translator
Mårten Eskil Winge Cover artist
Björn Collinder Translator
Erik Werenskiold Illustrator
Christine Fell Translator and Editor
Paul Edwards Translator
E. R. Eddison Translator
Bernard Scudder Translator
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A. H. Smith Contributor
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Halvdan Egedius Illustrator
Wilhelm Wetlesen Illustrator
Eilif Peterssen Illustrator
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