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The Prose Edda

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  12,840 ratings  ·  664 reviews
'What was the beginning, or how did things start? What was there before?'

The Prose Edda is the most renowned of all works of Scandinavian literature and our most extensive source for Norse mythology. Written in Iceland a century after the close of the Viking Age, it tells ancient stories of the Norse creation epic and recounts the battles that follow as gods, giants, d
Paperback, 224 pages
Published July 28th 2005 by Penguin Classics (first published 1220)
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Dijun It depends on your reading level, what translation you pick and how used you are to read ancient text. I read it in French (French reader) and i thoug…moreIt depends on your reading level, what translation you pick and how used you are to read ancient text. I read it in French (French reader) and i thought it was okay. It's not the most simple text ever, but I didn't struggle either. I just had to be concentrated. If you really want to read it, you should give it a try, difficult or not. It's a very good read ;)(less)

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Jun 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The Edda is a collection of Norse myths, written in the 13th century by a dude named Snorri. It's where we got most of our knowledge of Norse mythology today, and it's wicked awesome. I learned, for instance, that your legs may hump each other and produce a child while you're asleep, which is something I'm going to be more careful about from now on. And that mead started as god spit, then turned into blood, and ended up being farted out of Odin's ass, which is, by a train of logic that actually ...more
Feb 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
Metal band name ideas I got from this book: Corpse Gulper, Tooth Gnasher, Sorrow Bringer.

Cat name ideas: see above.
Apr 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s sort of strange to give a review of a book like this – as if I can sit here and complain that Thor’s character feels underdeveloped, or that I didn’t understand Odin’s motivation for acting as he did. It is, after all, from the 13th century, written by someone we might characterize as an Icelandic warlord – and yet, as removed as I am, it’s still fascinating. The book is genuinely funny at times, and the stories of the Norse gods and goddesses have a sense of humor to them that even the Gre ...more
Oct 25, 2022 rated it really liked it
A most extensive source of Norse mythology, this book was written in Iceland in the 13th century (though copies exist from 14th c. onward). This bok has one creation epic, and recounts of survival battles, heroic things, information about the deities and the tree-centric world view, and how the world can end. It preserves oral tradition (and is meant to be read aloud) and cultural roots (of immigrants to Iceland) and offers some guidance on certain details on telling stories from the mythology.

Campbell Rider
you: earth is flat
me, an intellectual: earth is the world tree yggdrasil
E. G.
Aug 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Introduction & Notes
Further Reading
Note on the Translation
Map: The Geographical World of the 'Edda'

The Prose Edda

--Gylfaginning (The Deluding of Gylfi)

Skaldskaparmal (Poetic Diction)
--Mythic and Legendary Tales
--Poetic References from Skaldskaparmal (Translated by Russell Poole)

1. The Norse Cosmos and the World Tree
2. The Language of the Skalds: Kennings and 'Heiti'
3. Eddic Poems Used as Sources in 'Gylfaginning'

Genealogical Tables
Glossary of Names

Jul 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetshere
Odin gave Suttung’s mead to the Æsir and to those men who know how to make poetry. For this reason we call poetry Odin’s catch, find, drink or gift, as well as the drink of the Æsir.

More personal edification than anything. I knew next to nothing about Norse mythos and I sought a remedy. Such a cosmology reflects a brutal existence of deprivation and blind chance. The prominence of trickery is our human approach to the elemental. Plenty of infidelity and incest but lacking the serial rape of the
May 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So after diving headlong into ancient Norse mythology and history, by way of the Heimskringla, The Poetic Edda, and Sagas of Icelanders in turn, I've become ever more interested in the subject (and medieval literature generally). There simply isn't enough extant, well-preserved material to satisfy the desire to know everything, more often we're left with as many questions as answers. The Prose Edda is no exception. Written by the Icelandic chieftain-poet-historian Snorri Sturluson in the 13th ce ...more
Mihai Zodian
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: stories
This one marks the end of an almost yearlong project about reading Medieval Icelandic or Old Norse literature. It blended with hopes of going to Wardruna and playing Assassin`s Creed Valhalla and with reading Tolkien which borrowed a lot, but mostly it`s indebted to Borges and his passion for kennings and metaphor and the meaning of poetry. The well-known “mother of dragons” from Game of Thrones, as a friend told me one, for example.

Since many kennings were based on myths, and Old Norse religio
Mar 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021-best-of, fantasy
According to the Prose Edda the Norse god's were descendents of Priam of Troy whose son Paris ran away with Helen who was married to Menelaus the King of Sparta. This act sparked a 10 year war between Troy and Sparta.

These places are so far away from the Viking homelands of Denmark, Sweden, Norway that
the stories must have been related by a traveller.
I find it fascinating that something so disparate could be so interconnected.
It also implies that the Norse god's weren't deities as the Greek go
Aug 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
I’ve been meaning to read both this and the Poetic Edda for a while now, and starting the Icelandic Sagas was just the kick in the pants I needed to do it. I felt like I could use some cultural context, and Snorri here provides it in spades. Norse mythology is fascinating in that it represents a belief-system that was actually practiced not so long ago, relatively speaking. Rome officially converted in the early 300s and I think that most of Europe outside the empire was at least nominally Chris ...more
Megan Openshaw
The Sigur Rós playlist, fittingly, is on, and we are back in business!


The army-musterer gave mountain-haunting ravens their fill. The raven got full on she-wolf’s prey, and spears rang.

Expectations versus reality. You hear the term bandied about all the time; and while my experience of it (at least in the literature-sphere) might not have been as extreme as some, I feel I’m coming closer to understanding that concept having finished the Edda. I wasn’t expecting to give this such an averag
Feb 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Wow! Amazing piece of literature. Every time I finish reading one of these for the first time, I feel not as if I have accomplished a task, but been invited across a deep river to a faraway land. In this case, this river is black and icy and the land beyond it filled with Giants and their rocks and the gods in their mead-hall.
Sean Chick
Mar 27, 2020 rated it liked it
I respect the Prose Edda as our main source of Norse mythology. That said, it is not particularly well written, its intention mostly being a lesson in poetry. As a fan of ancient myth and epics, I am the target audience and it did not land. That said, one interesting aspect is the references to Christianity that are shoe-horned into the text. In our time it might seem odd, but people do the same today. Austrian School economists try to explain the fall of Rome as caused by regulation and taxatio ...more
May 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Another splendid look at Icelandic and Old Norse Literature by UCLA professor Jesse L. Byock, who has become probably the most respected scholar in the area worldwide -- outside of perhaps Iceland.

Here are told all the tales of the Aesir, the Gods Odin, Thor, Loki, Freya -- and the eventual doom that overtakes their world at Ragnarok, when the Fenriswolf and the Midgard Serpent are loosed upon the world tree Yggdrasil.

There is an incredible pathos to Norse mythology. Odin sees and calmly discu
I found the stories easier to follow than The Poetic Edda. Written in a prose style most of it is set out like a dialogue exchange between two people, one is enquiring about a whole assortment of things from how the world was made to who are the gods to why summers are hot compared to winters. My version, downloaded from Gutenberg, has two stories both in the same style, a question and answer format. Where they differ is the questioner, in The Fooling of Gylfe is King Gylfe he ruled lands now kn ...more
Apr 16, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: classics
Tis a divinity shopping list. I'm in the lesser gods section.
They're on two for one.

*gets trolley rage at checkout*
Marko Vasić
The prose Edda and its predecessor The Poetic Edda: The Heroic Poems are cornerstones and the only relevant references regarding Germanic mythology (i.e. one of its branches – Norse mythology). In the beginning of my interest for Norse mythology I, by chance, discovered and read this very book, yet in Serbian translation, and in quite abridged manner, for that edition included translations of merely "Gylfaginning" and some legends from "Skaldskaparmal". Now, I finally read the entire Eda and it ...more
Nov 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Norse mythology is always the coolest one! <3
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: university
*Review to be posted*
I originally planned on reading Penguin's but I read that it omitted quite a few passages, so I went with this one instead.

Interesting how Snorri explains that the gods were actually humans and that they originated from Troy. As Odin and family migrated north, his offsprings founded many of the mythic germanic dynasties from which many rulers and persons claimed descent. As they reach Scandinavia they lose their 'asiatic' names and start being known by the names the natives call them; Odin, Thor
Its so hard to rate or review a piece of workings that have influence so much of the world we know today. I almost feel I have no place in rating this when it is of such importance, however I did love this fascinating and very strange piece.

If you're intrigued or want to know more about Norse mythology and its origins, this is the book. The Prose Edda is nearly 800 years old and depicts ancient tales of gods and goddesses of Asgard and others of further worlds. While it is not a book to read for
Apr 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
If one compares the Greek mythology to that of the Norse, I would say there are three main differences: the sense of impending apocalypse, more thorough intimacy and Loki. A perfectly artificial way of summing it up, but these points struck me the most, especially since I read The Prose Edda straight after perusing some mythological tidbits of the Greek. The world of the Ancient Greeks is rich, lush and beautiful yet recognisably human at the same time - conversely, the world of the Norse was al ...more
Regina / cà rốt và thỏ
May 12, 2022 rated it really liked it
it gets more confusing by the end
Dec 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Norse mythology that has come down to us, is primarily thanks to one Icelandic scholar and politician. The Prose Edda is Snorri Sturluson’s attempt to compile the myths of the Northern world and save the knowledge of how skaldic poetry is composed.

The book is essentially divided into two parts, the first is strictly concerned with mythology and the second is a mix of mythology and learning the rules of skaldic poetry. While Snorri follows the examples of Virgil and Geoffrey of Monmouth of co
Joshua  Gonsalves
Jul 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Despite all the countless lists of eyebrowraisingly foreignsounding names that Snorri Sturluson seems to enjoy riddling off every once in a while assuming that we'll remember all of them, The Prose Edda is a fun and fascinating ride. It's a short collection of short stories and lengthy passages detailing creation, gods, battles, prophecies, the past, the present, the future, and lots and lots of important hard to pronounce names to remember even though the book is a meager 120 pages not counting ...more
Dec 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you have an interest in mythology, Scandinavian culture, pre-Christian Indo-European worldview then this is a must read book. If your an Odinist this is a must read book, HOWEVER, the Eddas are not an Odinist bible. Snorri was a Christian who wrote this stuff 200 years after Iceland converted to Christianity. There are obvious Christian influences in the Eddas and there are compelling arguments that some of the Gods in the Eddas were never worshipped by Heathens and put there for entertainmen ...more
This translation was underwhelming. I have a suspicion that the source is better.
Sean DeLauder
Dec 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
The historical figures and mythological structure of the cosmos found in the Prose Edda existed in an oral tradition and skaldic poems long before an Icelandic nobleman named Snorri purportedly decided to put them down on paper. Much of the poetry concerning the Norse gods is sadly lost as a consequence of that tradition.

Snorri's work is an obvious attempt to preserve some of what was lost and promote the continuation of a poetic tradition that had begun to fade by the 13th century in the face o
May 25, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Though there's some Christian influences that I'm not enough of an expert to notice, the myths are enjoyed more as a constant narration like the one in the Gylfaginning (which happened to be my favourite section in all of the Eddas).

The whole thing is just amazing. So many cool stories, so much cool imagery... chaotic too, but it works in its favor imo.

I skipped the Háttatal and I think I might have read an abridged version of the Skáldskaparmál, but it's all good. The first chapter is what matt
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Colosseum. Sfide ...: GDL: Edda di Snorri Sturluson 14 13 Apr 01, 2020 01:59AM  
Play Book Tag: Prose Edda - Snorri Sturluson - 3 stars 6 15 May 17, 2018 07:23PM  
Goodreads Librari...: author name and surname inverted 5 15 Oct 29, 2017 02:52AM  
Goodreads Librari...: wrong cover and incomplete info. 10 82 Mar 24, 2014 07:51AM  
greatest parties in literature 2 40 Jul 08, 2013 10:14AM  
Fantasy Aficionados: Which edition of Norse myths? 3 37 Jul 01, 2013 02:23PM  

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Snorri Sturluson (also spelled Snorre Sturlason) was an Icelandic historian, poet and politician. He was twice elected lawspeaker at the Icelandic parliament, the Althing. He was the author of the Prose Edda or Younger Edda, which consists of Gylfaginning ("the fooling of Gylfi"), a narrative of Norse mythology, the Skáldskaparmál, a book of poetic language, and the Háttatal, a list of verse forms ...more

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