A happenstance bargain bin find from a friend of mine-- I note that I'm not only writing the only Goodreads review, mine is the only numerical rating.A happenstance bargain bin find from a friend of mine-- I note that I'm not only writing the only Goodreads review, mine is the only numerical rating.
This is very much an academic edition; as the sagas go this isn't one of unusual merit or significance, but instead a contribution to the overall understanding of the genre. If anything what's most noteworthy is that it's quite late, and as such shows a good deal about the 14th-century culture that the person who wrote it down overlaid on supposedly 10th-century events.
The Durrenbergers lay out their translation philosophy in the introductory essay-- I think it's basically a sound one given their goals, and I think they're successful with it. It's literal even in some cases where a direct translation doesn't produce grammatical English (not something one could necessarily get away with between less closely related languages.) The idea is to mediate just enough to make the work accessible to someone who doesn't read medieval Icelandic, and no more than necessary. They also leave in the eths and thorns, Ð and Þ, maybe a slightly more artificial way of maintaining "Icelandicness," but not a harmful one....more
Enjoyable, but kind of a weird endeavor. I get the feeling that this was Tolkien noodling around rather than anything he really intended for publicatiEnjoyable, but kind of a weird endeavor. I get the feeling that this was Tolkien noodling around rather than anything he really intended for publication. It's not a translation of any one work-- it's an adaptation from several sources, written in a modern English style meant to evoke the feel of the original Norse works. In places it translates line by line; in others it's mostly Tolkien's own writing.
However, taking all that into account, I think what this book does has its place. The actual translations available tend fairly heavy and academic; there's been no equivalent of the Heaney Beowulf for Old Norse. This book could be a nice introduction to works that are pretty opaque otherwise, and it's an insight into Tolkien's own view of the works he used as sources in his fiction....more
Not necessarily the revelation that it might have been in 1949, but still an enjoyable read. Campbell's thesis was that the mythologies of widely-sepaNot necessarily the revelation that it might have been in 1949, but still an enjoyable read. Campbell's thesis was that the mythologies of widely-separated cultures show common elements, and that these patterns can give insight into how our minds work. The idea is familiar now, but Campbell's presentation is still a good overview. His examples are wide-ranging, well-researched, and pretty even-handed. Many came from traditions with which I wasn't very familiar, and so were interesting in their own right. The book can feel a little dated at times, and some of the old-school psychoanalysis can be a little labored, but not overwhelmingly so. Certainly worth going through a book so often referenced for oneself....more