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The Poetic Edda: The Mythological Poems

4.34  ·  Rating Details ·  523 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
The vibrant Old Norse poems in this 13th-century collection recapture the ancient oral traditions of the Norsemen. These mythological poems include the Voluspo, one of the broadest literary conceptions of the world's creation and ultimate destruction; the Lokasenna, a comedy bursting with vivid characterizations; and more.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published July 19th 2004 by Dover Publications
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Jun 20, 2015 Liz rated it it was amazing
It feels undoubtedly strange to review this book. In a manner of speaking, like e.g. rating the Bible; the book had (and still has) such an enormous impact on the Western history and culture that rating it feels utterly wrong.
It is somewhat similar with the Edda. Its influence in literature cannot be put into proper words.
However, the Edda is not a smooth read. In the translation of Bellows one can more often than not encounter archaic words or sentence structures that are unusual not only in
Jun 02, 2011 Tozette rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, mythology
Let me disclaim: I have not read this cover-to-cover, because frankly the long poems which are basically lists of names are pretty boring. But there are some seriously choice stories in here, if you're willing to flip through all of it to find the awesomest ones. Aweseomest is now a word, don't argue with me.

The Lokasenna is definitely my favourite -- basically it's a story about Loki, who attends a feast with the gods and gets thrown out for killing a servant. He comes back to tell them all th
Oct 29, 2012 Mimesis rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: hardcore fans of norse mythology
Before reading Bellows' translation of The Poetic Edda: The Mythological Poems, most of my (poor) knowlegde of Norse mythology originated, more or less, from sources like Wikipedia.
Prose Edda or maybe even a moderen day retelling of Norse myths might had been a better choice as an introduction to the topic (recomented by both people and common sense), but screw it, I wanted to read the original poems before I changed my mind.

Totally worth it.

Sure, it was hard to get into and I often had to put
Kate Krake
Aug 24, 2011 Kate Krake rated it it was amazing
It's weird to give a star rating to this. In mythological and cultural terms it's like rating The Bible. But hey, despite whatever my personal experiences and thoughts with Christianity, I'd give that 5 stars too.

So yes, 5 stars for cultural relevance, posterity and overall influence.

A must read for any fan of JRR Tolkien, and indeed any high fantasy.
Don't expect to sit back and relax your way through these poems though - most of them don't make a lick of sense to our modern reading practices w
Aug 08, 2015 Kathy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: paganism, mythology
How do you rate a collection of stories that were sung or told by word of mouth in the 7th-12th century? This text is has influenced cultures, tradition, musicians, writers and Pagans. The text also displays a clash between Paganism and Christianity which is also very interesting to note. As a Pagan and a person who loves medieval literature I enjoyed reading this text. You can also see the influence it had on Snorri Sturluson. If you know your Celtic mythology or texts or Arthurian Literature y ...more
Liss Capello
Jul 24, 2015 Liss Capello rated it liked it
It's a mixed bag. This volume is a collection of (primarily Icelandic, although there are arguments about this) Scandinavian poetry, dating from probably about 900 to as late as 1400. Like most works that arise in an oral tradition, there is a lot of argument about when each piece is actually dated from, and of course the date at which it was composed may not correspond well with the date at which it was written down. Additionally, many of the poems have likely been modified many times over the ...more
Aug 05, 2011 Christie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
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.
Apr 10, 2008 Monica rated it really liked it
My 1968 fifth printing, American-Scandinavian Foundation hardcover edition, (original copyright 1923), is stuffed with tiny papers bookmarking several poems with esoteric notes drawn in green fountain ink. For example: "Voluspo" volva from grave hearing val father -'f of slain...Bestla Bur son's made midgard ...Ithavoll-meeting place of gods... jotunheim-giantland, ymir-blood, dwarves from Brimir & Blain's legs, urth-past, verthandi-present, gullveig-goldmight, wanes-Vamir- seafaring folk of ...more
Feb 28, 2013 J.souza rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasia
I've been meaning to read this one for a very long time. I mean, it influenced on it's own Tolkien and all the other fantasy writers that came after him.

Here you'll find a lot of great tales from the old Nordics. Tales about Thor, Loki, Othin and all the lesser-known gods. Right at the beginning I could see a lot of Tolkien in it, including the names of dwarves and even Gandalf's, they all came from here, and so it did his poetry style in some way and his choice for weird names (sometimes 5 name
Matthew Dambro
Jul 09, 2014 Matthew Dambro rated it it was amazing
This is the collection of oral traditions written between the 9th and 12th Centuries. As such it is the Norse equivalent of the Old Testament and Homer's Iliad. Bellows translation and notes are priceless. It is old, translated in the early 20th Century, but it is encyclopedic. It is a window on a culture that was exactly opposite ours in so many basic ways. It is a must read for anyone interested in Tolkien or any other fantasy epics ie. Potter, Star Wars,etc.
May 21, 2013 Johanna rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Loved this collection of poetic writing. Recommended to anyone who is interested of the norse mythology and ancient poetry. Most of the poems are supposed to have been composed in their current form between 10th and 11th centuries.

My favourites of this collection:
- Baldrs Draumar
- Rigsthula
- Vafthruthnir
- Hovamol
- Voluspo
Everett Darling
Dec 30, 2010 Everett Darling rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2010
Great Footnotes, Henry Adams Bellows presents various opinions and many notes on his editations, as well as relevant history and whos who explanations that are so necessary for any read into the Eddas. ...more
Caleb Aarsand
Apr 19, 2016 Caleb Aarsand rated it it was amazing
Being able to read the literary work of my ancestors is just a feeling I can't describe. One part adventure novel told in parts, one part psalms for your daily life- this book absolutely makes my list of books any person interested in mythology or self help should read.
Amber Nicole
Feb 08, 2016 Amber Nicole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First read: I enjoy Norse mythology more than I thought I would. The characters are unique and the stories are entertaining. The notes in this version helped tremendously - Norse gods go by countless names, apparently. I wish there were more of these stories. Will definitely read again.
Matthew Dalzell
Oct 14, 2012 Matthew Dalzell rated it it was amazing
Excellent translation, lucid, entertaining, close to the original texts as possible. Highly recommended for the student, instructor, writer, and reader.
Oct 25, 2011 Hengest rated it it was amazing
I really like the Bellows translation of the Poetic Edda. This volume contains the mythological poems whilst a second volume contains the heroic poems.
Apr 18, 2010 Chad rated it it was amazing
This good is considered the basis for Norse mythology. People of the reconstructionist religion use a variety of translations of The Poetic Edda for their guides and inspiration.
Oct 23, 2011 Dave rated it really liked it
For the most part, very interesting stuff (barring the long genealogies, lists of gnomes, and so forth). Very helpful annotations as well, what with all the kennings.
Oct 25, 2011 Hengest rated it it was amazing
I really like the Bellows translation of the Poetic Edda. This volume contains the mythological poems whilst a second volume contains the heroic poems.
Jan 12, 2016 Kristina added it
Shelves: poetry
This isn't for anyone casually interested in Norse myths but is a serious study of the poems written down from oral traditions.
Aug 06, 2011 Matt rated it it was amazing
An amazing translation! The notes on the stanzas sheds a lot of light, and gives them a deeper meaning. It's also extremely poetic and flows nicely, which is hard for any piece of translated poetry.
Jo Woolfardis
Apr 13, 2015 Jo Woolfardis marked it as to-read-book
Yes, paperback.
Brett rated it it was amazing
May 08, 2013
Jacob Possin
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Mar 28, 2013
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Decker rated it it was amazing
Aug 13, 2016
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Michael Kelly rated it it was amazing
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Jan 19, 2013
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