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The Prose Edda

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  11,113 ratings  ·  529 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, 180 pages
Published July 28th 2005 by Penguin Classics (first published March 30th 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
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

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
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
João Fernandes
Mar 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: norse-literature
Did you know that all the Norse gods (Æsir) are descended from Priam of Troy, and therefore from Zeus himself?

Did you know apparently the Icelandic authors of the Viking myths are actually Plato disguised to continue his sick addiction to one-sided-interrogation-for-infodump?

If you did not, this book is for you!
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
Campbell Rider
you: earth is flat
me, an intellectual: earth is the world tree yggdrasil
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
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.
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
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*
Lynn Rainbow
Nov 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics
Norse mythology is always the coolest one! <3 ...more
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: university
*Review to be posted*
Oct 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Snorri Sturluson ranks as the least known literary genius in Western Civilization. His work was the apex of Icelandic literature dealing with the Viking age. While Iceland had been Christian for over two centuries when Sturluson wrote this text, it is (along with the Poetic Edda ) one of the best primary sources of Viking myth and religion.

Better known as the Prose Edda this text is an attempt to permanently record the intricacies of the orally transmitted Skaldic literary tradition. It recor
Feb 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to learn more about Norse Mythology
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
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
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
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
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
Aug 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
I quite enjoyed this actually
Sean Chick
Mar 27, 2020 rated it liked it
I respect the Prose Edda as our main source of Norse mythology. That said, it 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 taxation w ...more
Sep 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Students/enthusiasts of mythology, heroic lit, and Norse lit.
Naturally my review has turned out to be too long, so I'll post what I can and then post the rest as comments. And if anyone in a position of power at goodreads sees this, please give us more room to write!

An excellent translation of Snorri's Edda, or the Prose Edda. I hear Jesse Byock has a translation out as well which I'll have to check out, but I see no reason for the beginner to try anything other than Faulkes'-- at the very least, I believe his academic work has had him more involved in re
From a literary point of view, most of the tales are told in an interview-like fashion. We have curios characters, King Gylfe disguised as Ganglere asking questions to the asas, and in part two we have Æger asking questions to Brage. Therefore, the myths are presented in a matter-of-factly kind of fashion. You should not expect lavish, Tolkienesque descriptions, it wasn't the literary style of the time.

The The Prose Edda is much more than a simple collection of myths, it offers insight into the
I skipped the last 100 or so pages as it got into a lot of stuff about poetry that I had little interest in. Probably really interesting from a historical stand point but just not much of a page turner.

I'm reading this for a class called Northern European Mythology. The professor had us start here because the prose is a little easier to penetrate than poetry, and she is spending a lot of time explaining what the hell all the gods are up to. The names and such can get really confusing.

But let me
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
else fine
I've been told that most editions of The Edda of Snorri Sturluson (say it out loud, you'll love it) do not contain the 'Skaldskaparmal'. I thought this was the best part, and recommend that you find a copy with it included. It's basically a glossary of poetic terms and forms, breaking down the formal riddle-language into easily comprehensible parts. If you've ever found yourself overwhelmed by the kennings in an Icelandic epic (and who hasn't?), this book will straighten you right out.

Feb 19, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-and-sf
Half the book was on old icelandic lagnguage, half on my native, so I could say I read whole book, other could say I read half the book. Part of the story was written in poetry. I didn't like the dated style.
The story centers on king Gylfi asking gods questions and they answered with mythological stories about creation of the world, end of the world, stories about gods, stories about the mythological creatures and objests, and there was Thor's story at the end.
Must have for everyone trying to le
My main concern about reading books these days are will they inspire some piece of art or a drawing or a fresh idea. This is all I care about. So this book is a win in that regard. This book gave me some great ideas for art/paintings, (one of which I am working on right now) based on the weird and sometimes whimsical stories about the Aesir (gods/goddesses) of the Nordic Pantheon. I enjoyed reading this a great deal.
Cassandra L. Manna
May 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
It was interesting reading the original written source of the compiled stories of Norse mythology and see how similar the stories have stayed today, and sometimes how they have changed. It is clear that Norse culture learned through a call-and-response discussion and that came through in the way the stories were written: a new learner would ask questions and the more knowledgeable person would answer. Well worth the read!

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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ - I loved the book so much I would reread it agai
Roger Herrera
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I recommend it to whomever whishes to learn about norse mythology from its source. In it there is an account of the Aesir and the Vanir; the war between order and chaos, symbolized each by the gods and their jötunn foes; the adventures of Thor and also of the ever mischievous Loki; a detailed drescription of Asgard and of some of the other Nine Worlds; but also tales of mortal heroes like Sigfrid and Rolf Krake, and more, so much more.
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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 81 Mar 24, 2014 07:51AM  
greatest parties in literature 2 39 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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