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Die Edda

4.24  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,410 Ratings  ·  178 Reviews
Compiled by an unknown author in Iceland around 1270, and based on sources dating back centuries earlier, the single main manuscript of The Elder Edda is one of the literary wonders of the medieval world and the greatest source of knowledge of Viking lore in existence. These mythological and heroic poems tell of gods and mortals from an ancient era: the giant-slaying Thor, ...more
Hardcover, 434 pages
Published 2004 by Marix-Verlag (first published 1200)
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Wood Wroth
PLEASE NOTE: Due to poor organization of translations on this website, I must note that this is a review of Andy Orchard's translation of the "Poetic Edda", which he has titled "The Elder Edda: A Book of Viking Lore".


Being familiar with Andy Orchard's handbook on Norse mythology ("Dictionary of Norse Myth and Legend", 1997) and finding it to be a nice middle ground between Rudolf Simek's deeply flawed handbook and the limited scope of John Lindow's own, it was with high hopes that I waited for
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João Fernandes
description

What I love the most about Norse literature and mythology is that the gods are all incredibly... for the lack of a better word, human. They suffer, they lust, they love, and they even seem to be quite mortal as far as gods go.

The Elder (or Poetic) Edda is a collection of 'poems' found in an ancient manuscript in Iceland, the Codex Regius.

The Elder Edda has a mythological section, with poems about the gods and the start and end of the world (the famous Ragnarok), and a heroic section.

I was surpri
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Briynne
Sep 28, 2009 Briynne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It turns out that I have a real thing for Scandinavian literature. Reading this and the sagas has made me a little obsessed with the idea of visiting Iceland. It’s hard for me to separate my thoughts on the eddas from my thoughts on the sagas and the most recent Sigrid Undset novel I’m reading, but I’m going to try to keep everything to it’s proper review space.

Alright. The Elder Edda (or Poetic Edda) is the written version of the oral-tradition base material from which the later Younger/Prose
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Mike
May 26, 2009 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: native speakers of Anglo-Saxon, etins
The introduction states that the Edda is "a repository, in poetic form" of mythology and heroic lore "bodying forth both the ethical views and the cultural life of the North during the late heathen and early Christian times." It is also, for the most part, boring as fuck. It may be an interesting read if you are a fan of English before it got corrupted by all those French and Latin borrowings, or don't mind stopping several times a page to find out the meaning of an obscure or terribly archaic w ...more
John Snow
Oct 24, 2013 John Snow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Poetic Edda is not a book you read from beginning to end like a novel. The Poetic Edda contains 35 poems, some of which are very complicated. I usually read and study one or a few poems at a time, put the book aside, and then get back to it later. But the more times I read the poems, the more I appreciate their poetic qualities and the glimpses they give into the deep mysteries and wisdom of Norse mythology.

Together with The Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson, The Poetic Edda is the best medieva
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sologdin
Feb 14, 2014 sologdin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion, medieval
famous for being one of the earliest plagiarisms of professor Tolkien's LotR.
Stephen
Apr 17, 2014 Stephen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If for no other reason, this translation is remarkable for its scrupulous adherence to English words of Germanic origin - I cannot recall a single instance of finding a Greek or Latin root. The language and meter are deliciously archaic, and give a feel for the grammatical richness which has now largely fallen away from our modern tongue.
Mina Soare
The notes cover more of each page than the stanzas... and it's worth it.

I found out about this book by watching the Avengers, which led me to slash Avenger fanfiction, which mentioned the The Prose Edda and this... this splendid-story-great-poetry-albeit-translated-rich-vibrant-speech-not-to-mention-the-characters companion, as it were, the Poetic Edda. For the poem by poem (ye fifty of them) impressions, see the notes.

Considering the Thor, Odin and Loki of the movie had to have ingested enoug
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Chris
Oct 18, 2009 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When you consider the fact that pre-Christian Scandinavian cultures, at least the ones responsible for the stories written down in the Edda, believed the world was created from the dismembered body of a giant, then you begin to realize that it's not going to be a trip to Mr. Roger's Neighborhood.

Even the gods are doomed, and when Odin, boss of the gods, is constantly trying to find secret wisdom to avert the prophesied battle that will kill the gods, you know you're screwed.

Not for the faint
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Kaila
The Voluspa is the first poem of the Edda. It tells of the birth of the world, the giants and the gods, a few things in their lives, and then Ragnarok. It is one of the most beautiful, poignant, and sad things I've ever read. The world is out to get you and everyone dies, that's what Norse mythology teaches us.

Note on the translation: I mostly read Carolyn Larrington's UNrevised translation. I had the great fortune of getting a copy of Ursula Dronke's Voluspa and it is superior in every way as f
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Hannah
Jun 09, 2015 Hannah marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I just received the latest Penguin edition of Orchard's ''Elder Edda'' and won't have time to read it just yet, but some things already irk me. It has already been said in another review that the use of the term ''viking lore'' is not really accurate, and I agree, it comes across as a marketing move to heighten the interest. Really, it doesn't need that.

I also noticed the blurb which says: ''Legends from the Ancient North'' and then lists Sir Gawain and the Green Knight too, which makes no sense
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Chad
May 06, 2015 Chad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Hollander's Translation)

A difficult book to rate. I enjoyed the first third of the poems, having to do with the gods and giants, but I suspect this was only because I was already familiar with these myths and could follow along.
The last two-thirds of the poems have to do with the heroic legends that partly inspired Wagner's Ring Cycle. I wish I had read a prose version of this story first as the poetic version(s) was hard to follow. Especially since the story was chopped up among 20 different
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Lance Schaubert
Sep 13, 2014 Lance Schaubert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Where else can you find a joint source for half of Tolkien's names and a good chunk of Marvel comics?

The Poetic Edda is the crux of Norse mythology and I won't presume to aspire to heavy or valued literary criticism here. I appeal as a lay reader to lay readers –you need to work your way through this book as you would any classic piece. You need this book as source material for your own stories, as enjoyment for life, and as a platform upon which to build an understanding of modern stories.

As L
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Paul Haspel
Jul 21, 2014 Paul Haspel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The poetry of the Poetic Edda probably reads best in the original Old Norse; but in case your Old Norse proficiency is not what it once was, this translation by Lee Hollander of the University of Texas is a good way to get to know these intriguing poems from the world of the Vikings. Hollander’s introduction is scholarly – quite scholarly – with extensive attention to the metric and potential musical values of Old Norse poetic syllabication; if all you wanted was to get to Thor swinging his hamm ...more
Deborah Ideiosepius
This is a massive read. I expected it to be, however not only has it exceeded expectations it has totally scrambled them as well as my original goals in reading this book.

This collection is indeed a treasure trove of mythic Norse verse, it does indeed give a lot of insight into mythology lore and culture just as the cover claims it will.

The translator, Hollander also gives us a truly astounding amount of scholarly information, footnotes and explanations without with a large amount of this prose
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Cymru Roberts
Dec 30, 2014 Cymru Roberts rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: other-ancients
The gods of antiquity are our super heroes of today. Marvel has transformed most of the Norse gods into comic book characters, for better or for worse I don't know. I am inspired by the tales of glorious gods and I was interested in any overlap that may occur between the Norse and Greek pantheons. This text met and exceeded my expectations, but contained many lays that would only appeal to a completist or college-level student of Norse mythology.

The lays are epic in scope, encompassing the begin
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Elizabeth
Contents

Introductory Material: iv-xliv (x)

Mythological Poems
Voluspa: 5-14 (x)
Havamal: 15-39 (x)
Vafthrudnusmal: 39-49 (x)
Grimnismal: 49-59 (x)
For Skirmis: 59-67
Harbardsljod: 67-76 (x)
Hymiskvuda: 77-82
Lokasenna: 82-96
Thrymskvida: 96-101
Volundarkvida: 101-108
Alvissmal: 108-113

Heroic Poems
Helgakvida Hundingsbana in fyrri: 117-125
Helgakvida Hjorvardssonar: 126-135
Helgakvida Hundingsbana onnur: 136-144
Fra dauda Sinfjotla: 145
Gripisspa: 146-153
Reginsmal: 154-159
Fafnismal: 160-168
Sigrdrifumal: 169-175
Br
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Eirene
Jan 21, 2011 Eirene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who love poetry of the kind like Beowulf
" So weave we weird sisters our war winning woof..." I did not start out to read Old Norse poetry. I was looking up something regarding the Valkyrie for a piece I was writing and I came across this one line. Needless to say, the spectacular alliteration got me. I picked up this book from the library and read through it. Found in these poems are the stories of the Valkyrie, Jörmunrekkr, king of the Goths, the Nibelung and, if I recall correctly, even references to Attila the Hun. The structure is ...more
Helen Francini
Sep 19, 2013 Helen Francini rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anyone who likes Tolkien needs to read the Eddas. Also anyone who likes mythology, good stories, etc. If you think the Vikings were only into raiding England (and anywhere else they landed), battles, and mayhem in general, think again. These tales contain plenty of violence, but also far more beauty and imagination than most people realize the ancient Norse culture possessed. Greece may have given the world democracy and Rome the Pax Romana, but in all their myths and legends there is nothing li ...more
Charlotte
Loetud:
- Völuspaa
- Thrymri laul
- Vöölundri laul
- Odini kaarnaloits
TomF
Aug 18, 2015 TomF rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lashings of Norse/Icelandic mythology here, from Tolkein-inspiring 'dragon fire' riches & magical rings, to the stoic mysticism of their gods, awaiting inevitable death at Ragnorok. It's not all entirely accessible, requiring regular ferrets through the footnotes, and rife with the repetitive form of oral histories, but there's a fascinating vibe in there worth searching out.

For every tedious list of virtues (that could still sell as a management book to this day: 'Arrive at every meeting as
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Richard Abbott
Jun 19, 2014 Richard Abbott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I decided to classify The Elder Edda, translated by Andy Orchard, as historical fiction, on the grounds that the tales within it probably served a similar function in Icelandic culture – and general Norse culture – as that genre serves in ours. Certainly the content moves progressively from more obviously mythical, where the main focus is on the doings of gods and supernatural beings, towards history, where specific leaders and their followers are vying for political and military supremacy in a ...more
Stephen
May 19, 2016 Stephen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating book.
Some parts were boring, others fascinating. I was impressed with how funny some parts were. Laughed. I tried to put myself in the position of people listening to these tales centuries ago. Some of it's weird (like, strange ways to remember genealogies or something?), some messed up: like, the deaths. I thought it was best when read aloud. I didn't get to do that too often (as I didn't want to be that bus person.

I'll just include some bits that stuck out at the time of reading.
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Sarah Briggs
Apr 01, 2016 Sarah Briggs rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(This review may contain spoilers).

Considering what I'm writing personally, it's surprising it took me a little while to actually sit down and read the actual poems, even though I do know most of the storylines.

I thought it was good to see the different kinds of poems and also how the stanzas were shown with the different mythological figures exchanging insults in some. While I do sometimes find it more difficult to read poetry, I did think there was some really nice visual imagery in many of th
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Joel Mitchell
Lee Hollander's translation of The Poetic Edda is a challenging, but enjoyable read. He gives priority to maintaining the original meter and alliteration, which may mean that his rendering is a bit more functional (thought-for-thought) than formal (word-for-word). Personally, I prefer this approach in translated ancient poetry as long as the translator isn't changing the intent/meaning of the original poet. It was written in a certain meter and/or alliteration and/or rhyme scheme and that is how ...more
Nikki
I totally didn't use my essay as an excuse to read this... This is a source for Snorri's Edda, so of course, it was appropriate reading. It's a bit harder to read than Snorri's Edda, I think, although that's partially the translation. The translator translated the names, which is a bit weird to read.

Fun seeing how much this mythology has influenced fantasy writing.
Jason
Aug 17, 2015 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, epic, myth_folk
Two extraordinary sets of stories in verse--the first set out the Norse cosmology from creation through destruction and the second set focus on the Volsungs, especially Sigurd the dragonslayer. Amazingly, only one copy of this was preserved from the Middle Ages, forming much of the source of our knowledge of Norse myths, and even this copy has a missing section--the lacuna. It is a collection so it moves backwards and forwards in time, often telling the same stories from different perspectives o ...more
Eadweard
I liked how Hollander used mostly words of germanic origin, it fits well.

Very much liked all the lays and poems that dealt with the Volsungs, I think that that is probably the most interesting saga of them all.
John Snow
Dec 17, 2014 John Snow rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is definitely one of the most important books in my life. I like the translation into Norwegian and I have read the poems over and over again. You never get to the bottom of Voluspá, Hávamál, Grimnesmál and the other poems about the Old Norse gods and world-view. The heroic poems are also an important source of Norse Mythology. I never stop admiring the anonymous makers of these poems. Being an author writing Viking stories (The Slayer Rune) I use themes and motifs from The Old Edda all the ...more
Kevin Mcniece
Feb 13, 2014 Kevin Mcniece rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love me some alliterative verse. These are some great stories which provide a great background for everything from Wagner to Marvel. The stories are great, and the verse is simple, direct, and powerful.

I read the Oxford World Classics edition that was recently published first. I've since found better translations of the verse itself, but the notes in the OWC edition really did a great job of filling in the background I was missing. These poems were written for people already familiar with Norse
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What is "Heathenism?" 1 3 Jul 28, 2014 03:34PM  
Ancient World: Ancient Scandinavia 1 27 Dec 05, 2012 03:06AM  
  • The Prose Edda
  • Gods and Myths of Northern Europe
  • Norse Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs
  • Hrafnkel's Saga and Other Icelandic Stories
  • Saxo Grammaticus: The History of the Danes, Books I-IX: I. English Text; II. Commentary
  • Viking Age Iceland
  • A Dictionary of Northern Mythology
  • The Vikings
  • The Norse Myths
  • Early Irish Myths and Sagas
  • Myths of the Norsemen: From the Eddas and Sagas
  • The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings
  • Futhark: Handbook of Rune Magic
  • History and Lore (Our Troth, #1)
  • Exploring the Northern Tradition: A Guide to the Gods, Lore, Rites, and Celebrations from the Norse, German, and Anglo-Saxon Traditions
  • Vikings: The North Atlantic Saga
  • From Asgard to Valhalla: The Remarkable History of the Norse Myths
  • Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth: Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer
Books can be attributed to "Anonymous" for several reasons:

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* They are traditional stories not attributed to a specific author
* They are religious texts not generally attributed to a specific author

Books whose authorship is merely uncertain should be attributed to Unknown.
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