Basicallyrun's Reviews > The Prose Edda

The Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson
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's review
Apr 24, 11

bookshelves: asnc-y
Read in April, 2011

To be quite honest, I think I liked this more for the historical-ness than for the actual stories. I'd only sort of heard of Snorri in passing, so to speak, and had kind of assumed he was a scholarly type wandering round and transcribing myths and legends in a terribly earnest fashion. Um, yeah, not so much. The very informative introduction disabused me of that pretty quickly - apparently Snorri was more of an argumentative war leader than anything, and wrote the Prose Edda on his days off. Which is pretty cool.

Anyway, yes, I like the hints of political history you get from the book, especially the prologue, where there's a somewhat confusing attempt to link the Norse myths to the Greek and Roman ones, as well as to disclaim any actual *belief* in these stories, because Snorri's a sophisticated Christian, don'tcha know. Being somewhat geeky about books, I like what the translator says about the various manuscripts that exist of the Edda and how they differ from one another.

The stories themselves are interesting enough, but I rather preferred their poetic versions, where those still exist. Still, as a primer for Norse mythology it's pretty much a must-read, given it's our source for most of our knowledge of Norse myths. The notes that accompany the stories are very comprehensive and really interesting, if somewhat hard to find amongst the appendices.
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