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The Poetic Edda

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4.25  ·  Rating details ·  5,523 Ratings  ·  231 Reviews
The Poetic Edda comprises a treasure trove of mythic and spiritual verse holding an important place in Nordic culture, literature, and heritage. Its tales of strife and death form a repository, in poetic form, of Norse mythology and heroic lore, embodying both the ethical views and the cultural life of the North during the late heathen and early Christian times.

Collected b
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Paperback, Second Edition, Revised, 343 pages
Published 1986 by University of Texas Press (first published 1200)
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Hailey The poems Norse mythology is based upon. One of the two surviving texts from that time period we have to go off of. The other is the Prose Edda.
Trevor These are poems about the Norse gods. It includes prophecies and sayings by the Norse gods as well as stories about them. It also includes some poems…moreThese are poems about the Norse gods. It includes prophecies and sayings by the Norse gods as well as stories about them. It also includes some poems about Norse heroes and their adventures.

It's probably not the best choice if you're looking to learn about vikings but is fantastic if you're interested in Norse mythology.(less)

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Wood Wroth
PLEASE NOTE: Due to poor organization of translations on this website, I must note that this is a review of Andy Orchard's translation of the "Poetic Edda", which he has titled "The Elder Edda: A Book of Viking Lore".


Being familiar with Andy Orchard's handbook on Norse mythology ("Dictionary of Norse Myth and Legend", 1997) and finding it to be a nice middle ground between Rudolf Simek's deeply flawed handbook and the limited scope of John Lindow's own, it was with high hopes that I waited for
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João Fernandes
description

What I love the most about Norse literature and mythology is that the gods are all incredibly... for the lack of a better word, human. They suffer, they lust, they love, and they even seem to be quite mortal as far as gods go.

The Elder (or Poetic) Edda is a collection of 'poems' found in an ancient manuscript in Iceland, the Codex Regius.

The Elder Edda has a mythological section, with poems about the gods and the start and end of the world (the famous Ragnarok), and a heroic section.

I was surpri
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sologdin
famous for being one of the earliest plagiarisms of professor Tolkien's LotR.
Mike
May 26, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: native speakers of Anglo-Saxon, etins
The introduction states that the Edda is "a repository, in poetic form" of mythology and heroic lore "bodying forth both the ethical views and the cultural life of the North during the late heathen and early Christian times." It is also, for the most part, boring as fuck. It may be an interesting read if you are a fan of English before it got corrupted by all those French and Latin borrowings, or don't mind stopping several times a page to find out the meaning of an obscure or terribly archaic w ...more
Belinda
Jan 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literair
- Nederlandse pocket - schoolopdracht -
John Snow
Oct 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Poetic Edda is not a book you read from beginning to end like a novel. The Poetic Edda contains 35 poems, some of which are very complicated. I usually read and study one or a few poems at a time, put the book aside, and then get back to it later. But the more times I read the poems, the more I appreciate their poetic qualities and the glimpses they give into the deep mysteries and wisdom of Norse mythology.

Together with The Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson, The Poetic Edda is the best medieva
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Roman Clodia
Feb 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Then Brynhild laughed - all the hall resounded - / just one time with all her heart: / 'Well may you enjoy the lands and followers / now you've brought the brave prince to his death'

Collected in the 13th century in the Codex Regius, the body of poetry here straddles Old Norse myth and heroic poetry from probably around the 10th century, a time when the pagan North was becoming Christianised. The heroic verse is primarily from the complicated tales of Helgi, Sigurd, Gunnar and the valkyrie Sigrd
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Briynne
Sep 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It turns out that I have a real thing for Scandinavian literature. Reading this and the sagas has made me a little obsessed with the idea of visiting Iceland. It’s hard for me to separate my thoughts on the eddas from my thoughts on the sagas and the most recent Sigrid Undset novel I’m reading, but I’m going to try to keep everything to it’s proper review space.

Alright. The Elder Edda (or Poetic Edda) is the written version of the oral-tradition base material from which the later Younger/Prose
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Cymru Roberts
Jul 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: other-ancients
The gods of antiquity are our super heroes of today. Marvel has transformed most of the Norse gods into comic book characters, for better or for worse I don't know. I am inspired by the tales of glorious gods and I was interested in any overlap that may occur between the Norse and Greek pantheons. This text met and exceeded my expectations, but contained many lays that would only appeal to a completist or college-level student of Norse mythology.

The lays are epic in scope, encompassing the begin
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Kiwi Begs2Differ  ✎
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: classics
I thought I would enjoy this more than I actually did. Luckily, I already knew about the legends in Norse mythology or I would have given up, I definitely prefer prose to poetry.
Lance Schaubert
Aug 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Where else can you find a joint source for half of Tolkien's names and a good chunk of Marvel comics?

The Poetic Edda is the crux of Norse mythology and I won't presume to aspire to heavy or valued literary criticism here. I appeal as a lay reader to lay readers – you need to work your way through this book as you would any classic piece. You need this book as source material for your own stories, as enjoyment for life, and as a platform upon which to build an understanding of modern stories.

As
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Mina Soare
The notes cover more of each page than the stanzas... and it's worth it.

I found out about this book by watching the Avengers, which led me to slash Avenger fanfiction, which mentioned the The Prose Edda and this... this splendid-story-great-poetry-albeit-translated-rich-vibrant-speech-not-to-mention-the-characters companion, as it were, the Poetic Edda. For the poem by poem (ye fifty of them) impressions, see the notes.

Considering the Thor, Odin and Loki of the movie had to have ingested enoug
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Chris
Oct 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When you consider the fact that pre-Christian Scandinavian cultures, at least the ones responsible for the stories written down in the Edda, believed the world was created from the dismembered body of a giant, then you begin to realize that it's not going to be a trip to Mr. Roger's Neighborhood.

Even the gods are doomed, and when Odin, boss of the gods, is constantly trying to find secret wisdom to avert the prophesied battle that will kill the gods, you know you're screwed.

Not for the faint
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Kaila
The Voluspa is the first poem of the Edda. It tells of the birth of the world, the giants and the gods, a few things in their lives, and then Ragnarok. It is one of the most beautiful, poignant, and sad things I've ever read. The world is out to get you and everyone dies, that's what Norse mythology teaches us.

Note on the translation: I mostly read Carolyn Larrington's UNrevised translation. I had the great fortune of getting a copy of Ursula Dronke's Voluspa and it is superior in every way as f
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Eric Tanafon
Dec 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Not the best or the worst translation. Sometimes Hollander's focus on poetic considerations can be irritating, when it means he uses unnecessarily archaic diction or flat out substitutes a word that's very different than the actual translation (to his credit, he mentions doing this in a couple of instances, but that makes you wonder how many other times he did that and didn't bother footnoting it).

But, as Yogi Berra remarked in a slightly different context, even imperfect translations of the Edd
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Stephen
Apr 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
If for no other reason, this translation is remarkable for its scrupulous adherence to English words of Germanic origin - I cannot recall a single instance of finding a Greek or Latin root. The language and meter are deliciously archaic, and give a feel for the grammatical richness which has now largely fallen away from our modern tongue.
Kirsty Cabot
Really interesting! But hard going... So many names and mothers and fathers and sons and daughters and gods and names and more names and places. Hard to get your head around...

Better review to come!
Edy
Aug 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh, if I read this book before Gaiman's Nordic Mythology, I would feel so much better.
It was really informative (especially all commentaties added by the translator) and the whole thing had it's old story charm. Definitely big 4,5 from me, maybe because I had to read it quickly and didn't sank much into the stories.
Rebecca Jane
Apr 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics-poetry
3.5 stars.
Ettelwen
Mar 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Čím víc času knize věnujete, tolikrát vám to samotná kniha vrátí :)
Deborah Ideiosepius
Aug 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a massive read. I expected it to be, however not only has it exceeded expectations it has totally scrambled them as well as my original goals in reading this book.

This collection is indeed a treasure trove of mythic Norse verse, it does indeed give a lot of insight into mythology lore and culture just as the cover claims it will.

The translator, Hollander also gives us a truly astounding amount of scholarly information, footnotes and explanations without with a large amount of this prose
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Hengest
Oct 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
An excellent with copious useful footnotes.
Trevor
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading the Poetic Edda. The variety of different types of poems and subject matter (from advice from Odin to tragic stories of doomed heroes) make for a fascinating glimpse into Norse beliefs and legends.

I read Jackson Crawford's 2015 translation as his simpler less literal style seemed like it would be best for a beginner like me. Overall, I really enjoyed his work. I always knew what was going on and his introductions did a really good job of explaining the context of each p
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Megan Openshaw
There's something about Norse poetry that just clicks with me. I enjoyed most, if not all, of the stories in this, and certain parts of the writing I find to be genuinely beautiful, thought-provoking, hard-hitting... You get the picture. I have a deep appreciation for good wordcraft.
I'm stuck on how to rate this at the moment - I may bump it up to a 4.5 once I've had more of a chance to think about it.

Review to come - although I'm not sure when, since I still have to finish some other reviews I
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Dimi Balerinas
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Not a book for the casual reader. But an excellent source of Eddaic poetry and 10th to 13th century European literature.
Recommended only if you are willing to go very very deep in the sources. All texts are filled with verses and eddaic text in old English language.
It really easy a treasure of great historical and linguistic importance.
The book contains a large collection of lays and poems, most of them from the Codex Regius.
Wikipedia has the exact list of the book's content and more details abo
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Paul Haspel
Jun 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The poetry of the Poetic Edda probably reads best in the original Old Norse; but in case your Old Norse proficiency is not what it once was, this translation by Lee Hollander of the University of Texas is a good way to get to know these intriguing poems from the world of the Vikings. Hollander’s introduction is scholarly – quite scholarly – with extensive attention to the metric and potential musical values of Old Norse poetic syllabication; if all you wanted was to get to Thor swinging his hamm ...more
Hannah
Apr 04, 2014 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I just received the latest Penguin edition of Orchard's ''Elder Edda'' and won't have time to read it just yet, but some things already irk me. It has already been said in another review that the use of the term ''viking lore'' is not really accurate, and I agree, it comes across as a marketing move to heighten the interest. Really, it doesn't need that.

I also noticed the blurb which says: ''Legends from the Ancient North'' and then lists Sir Gawain and the Green Knight too, which makes no sense
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Joel Mitchell
Jan 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Ever since being exposed to tales of Thor, Loki, Odin, Sigurd, Fafnir, Brunhilde, and so forth in My Bookhouse children’s books, I’ve enjoyed Norse Mythology. When I started trying to find the original (or at least oldest recorded) versions of the stories, I discovered that Norse prose is pretty dull in translation…then I discovered the far more interesting Norse poetry, and this book collects the best of it.

This poetry covers subject matter ranging from Norse cosmology to squabbles among the go
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Chad
Mar 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
(Hollander's Translation)

A difficult book to rate. I enjoyed the first third of the poems, having to do with the gods and giants, but I suspect this was only because I was already familiar with these myths and could follow along.
The last two-thirds of the poems have to do with the heroic legends that partly inspired Wagner's Ring Cycle. I wish I had read a prose version of this story first as the poetic version(s) was hard to follow. Especially since the story was chopped up among 20 different
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Stuart
Oct 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Elder Edda is the second book in the Penguin Classics series Legends from the Ancient North. This work, like the others in this series have two things in common. The author is anonymous, and the works inspired the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien. This edition of the book begins with a twenty page introduction by the author, which tells us about the Icelandic history of the Codex Regius and the contents. There are also notes on spelling, pronunciation, and translation, which will be helpful to ser ...more
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What is "Heathenism?" 1 4 Jul 28, 2014 03:34PM  
Ancient World: Ancient Scandinavia 1 28 Dec 05, 2012 03:06AM  
  • The Prose Edda
  • Gods and Myths of Northern Europe
  • Norse Mythology: A Guide to Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs
  • Hrafnkel's Saga and Other Icelandic Stories
  • The Vikings
  • Viking Age Iceland
  • Saxo Grammaticus: The History of the Danes, Books I-IX: I. English Text; II. Commentary
  • A Dictionary of Northern Mythology
  • The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings
  • The Norse Myths
  • Early Irish Myths and Sagas
  • Myth and Religion of the North: The Religion of Ancient Scandinavia
  • Myths of the Norsemen: From the Eddas and Sagas
  • Runelore: The Magic, History, and Hidden Codes of the Runes
  • A History of the Vikings
  • D'Aulaires' Book of Norse Myths
  • Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth: Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer
  • Taking Up the Runes: A Complete Guide to Using Runes in Spells, Rituals, Divination, and Magic
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“Men brave and generous live the best lives, seldom will they sorrow; then there are fools, afraid of everything, who grumble instead of giving.” 14 likes
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