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The Poetic Edda by Anonymous

The Poetic Edda

by Anonymous, Saemund Sigfusson (Alleged author)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,939185,439 (4.12)32
Young were the years when Ymir made his settlement,there was no sand nor sea nor cool waves;earth was nowhere nor the sky above,chaos yawned, grass was there nowhere.The sun turns black, earth sinks into the sea,the bright stars vanish from the sky;steam rises up in the conflagration,a high flame plays against heaven itself.Seeress's Prophecy 3, 57The collection of Norse-Icelandic mythological and heroic poetry known as the Poetic Edda contains the great narratives of the creation of the world and the coming of Ragnarok, the Doom of the Gods. The mythological poems explore the wisdom of the gods and giants, narrating the adventures of thegod Thor against the hostile giants and the gods' rivalries amongst themselves. The heroic poems trace the exploits of the hero Helgi and his valkyrie bride, the tragic tale of Sigurd and Brynhild's doomed love, and the terrible drama of Sigurd's widow Gudrun and her children.Many of the poems predate the conversion of Scandinavia to Christianity, allowing us to glimpse the pagan beliefs of the North. Since the rediscovery of the Poetic Edda in the seventeenth century, its poetry has fascinated artists as diverse as Thomas Gray, Richard Wagner, and Jorge Luis Borges.This is the first complete translation to be published in Britain for fifty years, and it includes a scholarly introduction, notes, a genealogy of the gods and giants, and an index of names.… (more)
Recently added byprivate library, Crow_Station, sulla2, RasputinSane, DarrenGraemeDrake, rmbarley
Legacy LibrariesC. S. Lewis, Carl Sandburg
  1. 80
    The Nibelungenlied by Anonymous (andejons)
    andejons: Much of the story of Nibelungenlied is also told in the poetic Edda, but in considerably shorter form but with some extra material. There are also many points that differ.
  2. 30
    The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun by J. R. R. Tolkien (guurtjesboekenkast)
    guurtjesboekenkast: De legende van Sigurd en Gudrún bevat twee epische gedichten die zijn gebaseerd op Oudnoorse mythen die bekendstaan als de Edda. Tolkien herschreef deze legende in twee modern Engelse gedichten. Samen vormen deze het verhaal van de drakendoder Sigurd, de wraak van Gudrún en de val van de Nibelungen.… (more)
  3. 30
    The Skalds A Selection of Their Poems, with Introduction and Notes by Lee M. Hollander (Rowntree)
    Rowntree: An interesting examination of skaldic verse forms.

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» See also 32 mentions

English (14)  Dutch (3)  Swedish (1)  All languages (18)
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
Hollander's translation is the only book that I've ever bought twice; my first copy is locked away in storage and inaccessible, but I had a strong desire to read it, so bit my tongue and put down the money. I'm Norwegian-American down to my socks, but Norse mythology is something that I've had a bit of a love-hate relationship with over the years. While there's a flavor that hits home with me, there's also something distinctly foreign about the pre-Westernized Scandinavians that is off-putting. I think it's the anti-egalitarian, anti-altruism, "might is right" brutal spirit of the Vikings. It's fun for mild-mannered Scandinavians and those of the diaspora to joke about, but in reality Norway, Sweden, and Denmark have long since grown beyond that era and left it in the dust. I'm far more familiar with Asbjørnsen and Moe's collection of 19th century folktales, which I find to be more culturally relevant for me.

But the time had come for me to read the Viking-era myths, so I gave the Poetic Edda a read. Some takeaways:

1) I knew that "trolls" had some sort of representation in the Norse era. I did not realize how often the word would be used (alongside others such as "thurs") as a synonym for "giant" (Hollander's "etins"). I also did not realize that the same rule found in Asbjørnsen and Moe, that trolls turn to stone when exposed to daylight, was present in Viking times. I thought that was a development from eight hundred years later.

2) I found that I didn't care much for the Óthin. I found him sinister, not what I would expect for a king of gods. Conversely, I found Thór completely likeable. No wonder the common people in ancient times worshipped Thór, leaving Óthin to the Viking warriors and ruling class.

3) I've read "The Volsunga Saga" before, and I didn't like it. Nor did I like the Sigurd lays in this Edda. I think that, out of all the Old Norse material, the Volsungs story has the least connection to modern Scandinavia.

4) Lee Hollander refers to many different scholars in his translation, but the two that he seems to appreciate the most (based on the quantity of his footnote references) are Sophus Bugge and N.F.S. Grundtvig. There was a coffee shop in Oslo called "Bugges" (Bugge's) that I became fond of while visiting cousins a few years ago (they told me at the time that it was named after a famous writer). And as a Lutheran, I'm very familiar with some of Grundtvig's hymnody ("Built on a rock, the church shall stand, even as temples are falling" and "Den signede dag"). I had no idea that Grundtvig the theologian was also Grundtvig the Norse mythology buff. It was fun to make these two connections. ( )
  Sylvester_Olson | Jul 1, 2018 |
I bought this book several years ago and by several I mean many but never got around to reading it in its entirely. I thought it was about time I did that, so.. well, I did. Although it took me ages to finish it, that is in no way a reflection on the quality of the book itself - more my ability to be distracted, etc. So, let's get on with the review.

As someone not terribly familiar with Norse myth, I came away from the book feeling that I understood the essence of it a bit better. Having recently traveled to Austria, and in previous years been to much of the Baltic region, I felt that those trips supplemented my understanding of the text a bit more than the copious notes at the back of the book did.

The way that the book was set up was a bit troubling to me. The notes at the back of it, rather than say.. footnotes, or notes on the side of the page, made for much flipping. At times, the notes were just reminders of the meaning of certain words (e.g. norns and disir) rather than truly supplementary or explanatory material.

The translation of the texts was good, if a bit.. heady. Having the translation be rather literal, including phrases such as "slaughter dew" when referencing blood, or "foot twigs" instead of toes always came off as a rather interesting choice. It added to the feel of the text itself - you could never forget you were reading something fairly ancient, rather than bringing the ancient into a more modern time period such as [a:Seamus Heaney|29574|Seamus Heaney|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1200407647p2/29574.jpg]'s translation of [b:Beowulf|52357|Beowulf|Unknown|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1298256739s/52357.jpg|189503] did.

All in all, I did enjoy the book, but it would not be remiss for me to look into more contemporary or, rather, just alternate translations of what I read. I'm tempted to read Snorri's translation of the Prose Edda, though, which would be an even more.. insurmountable sort of task. Perhaps I should look up easier guides to the Nordic mythology prior to doing so, so I'm not jumping in entirely brainlessly. ( )
  Lepophagus | Jun 14, 2018 |
I read [b:The Prose Edda|24658|The Prose Edda|Snorri Sturluson|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1388200536s/24658.jpg|1198450] some while back and was influenced heavily by it, so naturally I had to read The Poetic Edda. This is a different beastie. It's not what I would call light reading; it took me a long time to get through it. It's big, complex, loaded with footnotes (which I soon discovered were worth picking through if I wanted to follow what was going on) and dry, professorial commentaries on the origins, quality, verse patterns and completeness of each lay. The glossary in the back was handy.

After a short time, however, it got under my skin. It has a mood that feels like the North. I found myself thinking in verse. It affected my writing. I had dreams about it. It made me want to listen to music like Opeth and Wolves In The Throne Room. The imagery and the way the words are put together open a window into a mythical, epic world of heroes, wolves, ravens, dragons, dwarves, elves, swords, forests, curses, love and tragedy. A must-read for any traditional fantasy buff, this work is inspiring and just plain beautiful.

I wasn't sure how to rate it. It almost seems beyond that. So I gave it five stars because I'm a geek and I love this stuff.
( )
  ftmckinstry | Mar 31, 2018 |
The Scandis are the best because they cover both extremes. The Norse gods take us on a cosmic journey beyond our imagination, from the birth of the world out of the bones of the ice giant Ymir to its death at the hands of the fire demon Surtr, and then, like, fart on our pillow, or pants us in front of the whole fishing village. Essential if anything is. ( )
  MeditationesMartini | Jan 11, 2017 |
If you're really interested in Norse mythology, this is a must-read. However, if you want an easy-to-understand version or are not already familiar with the stories, it might be best to find another book. There are so many footnotes that it can be easy to forget what the footnotes were referring to. I had to reread the whole book before I felt like I remembered anything from it. ( )
  aurelas | Dec 23, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (25 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anonymousprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Saemund SigfussonAlleged authormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Dronke, UrsulaEditor and Translatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jonsson, FinnurEditormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bellows, Henry AdamsTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brate, ErikTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Collinder, BjörnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Genzmer, FelixTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hollander, Lee M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jarzina, ThomasCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Larrington, CarolyneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Larsson, CarlIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
May, EberhartCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nyström, JennyIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Otten, MarcelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sörling, OlofIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scardigli, PiergiuseppeEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schier, KurtIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sigurdsson, GisliEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Simrock, KarlTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stange, Manfred.Herausgebersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Terry, PatriciaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
von Rosen, GeorgIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vries, Jan deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zorn, AndersIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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FOR JOHN [Larrington translation]
First words
Ongeveer vanaf het jaar870 werd Ijsland razendsnel gekoloniseerd.
INTRODUCTION [Larrington Translation] -- the old, one-eyed god Odin hands nine days and nights on the windswept ash-tree Yggdrasill, sacrificing himself to himself; the red-bearded Thor swings his powerful hammer against the giant enemy; the ravening wolf Fenrir leaps forward to seize the Father of the Gods in his slavering jaws, the terrible passion of Brynhild for the dragon-slayer Sigurd culminates in her implacable demand for his murder -- all these famous scenes from Old Norse myth and legend are found in their oldest and most original form in the Poetic Edda.
The Seeress's Prophecy (Voluspa), composed mainly in the fornyrdislag metre, is recited by a seeress who can remember before the beginning of the world and who can see as far ahead as after Ragnarok - the Doom of the Gods.

(translated by Carolyne Larrington, 1996)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Please do not combine with the Prose Edda - a very different work
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Inngangur; Texti Eddukvæða með nútímastafsetningu; Orða- og efnisskýringar. Handhæg kiljuútgáfa fyrir skóla og almenning.
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