Hilary's Reviews > The Poetic Edda

The Poetic Edda by Anonymous
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's review
Nov 10, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction, folklore, history, own, poetry, religion, reference, sociology, 2011
Read from August 29 to November 10, 2011 — I own a copy

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 Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf 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.

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08/29/2011 page 27
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