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The Prose Edda (Translated with an Introduction, Notes, and Vocabulary by Rasmus B. Anderson)

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"The Prose Edda," or "Younger Edda," is a classic collection of Norse myths of the Icelandic people believed to have been written or compiled by Icelandic scholar and historian Snorri Sturluson around the year 1220. Preserved through a handful of medieval manuscripts and another dating to the 17th century, "The Prose Edda" is composed of a prologue and three additional boo "The Prose Edda," or "Younger Edda," is a classic collection of Norse myths of the Icelandic people believed to have been written or compiled by Icelandic scholar and historian Snorri Sturluson around the year 1220. Preserved through a handful of medieval manuscripts and another dating to the 17th century, "The Prose Edda" is composed of a prologue and three additional books. In the prologue Sturluson describes the Norse gods as historical descendents of the Trojans who travelled north after the fall of Troy to settle the lands of Northern Europe. The second book, Gylfaginning, old Icelandic for "the tricking of Gylfi," describes the creation and destruction of the world of the Nordic gods. The third book, Sk�ldskaparm�l, old Icelandic for "the language of poetry," contains of a dialogue between �gir, a sea god, and Bragi, a skaldic god, on the nature of poetry. The fourth book, H�ttatal, Old Icelandic for "list of verse-forms," is a section of poetry composed and discussed by Snorri Sturluson. A classic of Norse mythology, "The Prose Edda" is one of the most important of all Icelandic texts. This edition is printed on premium acid-free paper and is translated with introduction, notes, and vocabulary by Rasmus B. Anderson.


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"The Prose Edda," or "Younger Edda," is a classic collection of Norse myths of the Icelandic people believed to have been written or compiled by Icelandic scholar and historian Snorri Sturluson around the year 1220. Preserved through a handful of medieval manuscripts and another dating to the 17th century, "The Prose Edda" is composed of a prologue and three additional boo "The Prose Edda," or "Younger Edda," is a classic collection of Norse myths of the Icelandic people believed to have been written or compiled by Icelandic scholar and historian Snorri Sturluson around the year 1220. Preserved through a handful of medieval manuscripts and another dating to the 17th century, "The Prose Edda" is composed of a prologue and three additional books. In the prologue Sturluson describes the Norse gods as historical descendents of the Trojans who travelled north after the fall of Troy to settle the lands of Northern Europe. The second book, Gylfaginning, old Icelandic for "the tricking of Gylfi," describes the creation and destruction of the world of the Nordic gods. The third book, Sk�ldskaparm�l, old Icelandic for "the language of poetry," contains of a dialogue between �gir, a sea god, and Bragi, a skaldic god, on the nature of poetry. The fourth book, H�ttatal, Old Icelandic for "list of verse-forms," is a section of poetry composed and discussed by Snorri Sturluson. A classic of Norse mythology, "The Prose Edda" is one of the most important of all Icelandic texts. This edition is printed on premium acid-free paper and is translated with introduction, notes, and vocabulary by Rasmus B. Anderson.

30 review for The Prose Edda (Translated with an Introduction, Notes, and Vocabulary by Rasmus B. Anderson)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    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 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 kinda makes sense when you read it, why it's called the drink of poets. These are important things to know. I also learned that much of what I learned from reading Thor comics when I was 13 isn't totally accurate. There's no mention at all of him being in the Avengers. I enjoyed learning about the Norse poetic style of "kenning," where the point is to pile image upon image to make a complicated chain of meaning. For instance, "spurner of the bonfires of the sea," where "bonfires of the sea" refers to the sun's reflection off it, which is golden, and a spurner of gold would be: a generous man. That's cool because it's exactly what rappers do! Here's an example from the mighty Dres of Black Sheep: I try to stay aware of the drama, it’s crazy Plus, see I got to tell your mama that I’m Swayze Here, Swayze refers to the late actor's classic movie Ghost, and ghost means he's gone; so Dres is saying that he's leaving your mama. Which must be sad for her. I'm not saying that rappers were influenced by Vikings. That would be an awesome thing to say, but not a reasonable one. I'm just saying there's sortof a kinship there. It's not every day that you get to learn about the spiritual connection between hip-hop and Vikings. This is a cool book, man.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Edward

    Acknowledgements Introduction & Notes Further Reading Note on the Translation Map: The Geographical World of the 'Edda' The Prose Edda --Prologue --Gylfaginning (The Deluding of Gylfi) Skaldskaparmal (Poetic Diction) --Mythic and Legendary Tales --Poetic References from Skaldskaparmal (Translated by Russell Poole) Appendices: 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 Notes Glossary of Names Acknowledgements Introduction & Notes Further Reading Note on the Translation Map: The Geographical World of the 'Edda' The Prose Edda --Prologue --Gylfaginning (The Deluding of Gylfi) Skaldskaparmal (Poetic Diction) --Mythic and Legendary Tales --Poetic References from Skaldskaparmal (Translated by Russell Poole) Appendices: 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 Notes Glossary of Names

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mac

    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 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 Greek myths can often miss. The first book is a kind of Norse catechism, where a traveler is shown around Asgard and Midgard and has the cosmology of the Norse universe explained to him in a question-and-answer session. After that comes a kind of poet’s encyclopedia or dictionary, where the origins of words and names for things become jumping-off points for the stories about the various gods and giants and whatnot, and its structure is very interesting. Imagine if the Iliad had a companion volume that explained all the epithets, and that's what you have here. Some of the sections start as questions, while others are just informational – but that they all come from names (and that so very many names exist for “gold” is especially revealing) is a unique way of telling this story, whether it was Mr. Sturluston’s intention to be structurally inventive or not. It is, again, a Christian Iclander’s retelling of Norse legends in the 1200s, which makes it interesting, but hard to evaluate or give a rating to on a site like this. Can’t say I had a bad time reading it, though.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ben

    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 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 century, it holds a unique cultural position -- purely by accident. Snorri most likely intended this work to be a sort of medieval textbook for the aspiring Icelandic skald, or poet. He cautions in the beginning to always imitate the chief skalds of the past in their methods, but never to believe the underlying mythical associations. You see, Christianity was well-established in Scandinavia by this time, the old heathen beliefs being forgotten from disuse, the reverence of old ways long gone. It turns out heathendom was an essential aspect of skaldic poetry even after the conversion; men may not have truly feared Odin any longer, yet they wanted to hear and speak his name in connection with their own times, as well as demonstrate their wit and creativity in paraphrasing or "kennings", the way their forefathers had done. Understanding and practicing the time-crafted art of the skalds was a worthy skill. Naturally it couldn't be assumed that a young Icelander of Snorri's time would know the story behind "Otter's Ransom" nor who would be referred to as "Harmer of Sif's Hair". Snorri knew that the only way the ancient skaldic poetry would have meaning in the future, the only way it could be propagated, was by thorough explanation from one who knew the art. But how could he pass on this knowledge without actually instructing pupils in the forbidden ways of heathendom? In this task Snorri proceeded on three fronts. First he invented a story, the Gylfaginning, in which a fictional character (Gylfi) questions Odin (in disguise) on many topics: the origins of the world, the gods, their names and characteristics, the doom of the gods and the world itself. To justify his own prose explanations, Snorri quotes a number of skaldic verse fragments. This forms the basis of the mythical worldview from which skaldic poetry drew its metaphors. Then follows the more technical sections of the instruction. In the Skáldskaparmál, Snorri details a conversation with the god of skaldship (Bragi) in which he explains the intricate and crucial art of kennings. He methodically dissects the work of "chief poets", listing the most common types of kennings and occasionally explaining their origins in detail. Last but not least in the Háttatal, Snorri presents his own skaldic verses to explain every form of verse he knew. This would be an advanced course for the serious skald, indeed. Snorri whether he knew it or not, was acting to preserve not only the art of skaldship in his own time, but indeed scant traces of Norse mythology and the mere evidence of the chief poets he so admired. For most of their works are now lost to us. Having little practical value to the learned men of the time, there was no great effort to preserve them in memory or in writing. We're lucky to have even Snorri's Edda, as no more than three medieval manuscript copies of it have survived the ravages of time. Neglect (and fire) could easily have claimed these precious documents as well. I read the 1916 English translation by Arthur Gilchrist Brodeur, as it was freely available. It contains Gylfaginning and Skáldskaparmál, but not Háttatal which due to reliance on alliteration, meter, and Old Norse vocabulary, would have greatly diminished value in English (I'd still like to tackle it some day for completeness' sake). Brodeur's translation incorporates centuries of Eddic scholarship, though in a very cut-and-dry fashion. Snorri's prose is in fact the most entertaining part of this translation, being fairly straightforward to present in English (with the exception of certain names whose etymologies were unclear). If you're reading the Prose Edda in English, this is what you're most interested in, probably because you have a fascination of all things Norse and heathen, rather than being a scholar of Old Norse poetry. The verse, unfortunately, is miserably butchered in the translation to the point of being almost unreadable. The meter is destroyed, the alliteration is absent, the grammar is awkward to say the least, one must force themselves to endure many of the verses - though there is the rare example which shines across the language barrier. As a comparison, read the following verse from section III of Skáldskaparmál: "I pray the high-souled Warder Of earth to hear the Ocean Of the Cliff of Dwarves, my verses: Hear, Earl, the Gore of Kvasir." Now the original: "Hugstóran bið ek heyra, heyr, jarl, Kvasis dreyra, foldar vörð á fyrða fjarðleggjar brim dreggjar." The former is a labyrinthine jumble of words, the latter is poetry. Another example: the author of said verse is repeatedly referred to as "Einarr Tinkling-Scale", a truly comical rendering of the original Einar Skalaglam. With no explanation of what "tinkling-scale" means, we're left to wonder (it's a scale for counting money), and in fact there are numerous other examples. I can't blame Brodeur for making such literal translations, but they have limited value to the English lay-audience and often detract from what are otherwise fascinating insights. By comparison the Complete Sagas of Icelanders is invariably more readable, though a project of considerably greater breadth and depth, simply because they gave thoughtful consideration to these aesthetic issues. Snorri didn't help by inserting random verses out of context simply because they had a kenning he wanted to reference, but naturally that was his purpose in composing the Edda. It's important to remember Snorri was not preserving skaldic poetry for us -- he assumed we'd always remember the poems -- rather the skaldic art that created them. In spite of this, the Prose Edda presents great value to the committed reader. Where Snorri breaks way from the pedantic, he reveals himself as a master story teller, capable of quickly summarizing sagas and poems in dramatic fashion leaving us craving for more. There is lore recorded in the Eddic manuscripts not preserved anywhere else, lore which has inspired generations of authors, musicians, and artists, even spawned new religions and breathed life into ancient ones. In short, it's part of an essential corpus for those interested in studying the origins, culture, religion, poetry, and/or literature of the ancient Norse people and their neighbors.

  5. 5 out of 5

    João Fernandes

    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!

  6. 4 out of 5

    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 average 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 average rating (medieval Iceland and Norse myth? Sounds like a perfect blend, like those Christmas peppermint hot chocolates they used to do at Starbucks), but things started to go downhill after the story-based Skaldskaparmal devolved into what appeared to be just another ordinary textbook. What saved this one from a lower rating was the first 100 pages or so, and some of those morbidly beautiful poetic descriptions that made me wonder if I could get away with sneaking them into my own writing, since they’re just so perfect for the situation at hand. Don’t get me wrong – I didn’t actively dislike any part of the Edda - but I did find certain sections far more engaging than others. While the exploits of the Norse gods were the unquestionable favourite, the conversational structure of the Gylfaginning - the tale of a Swedish king named Gylfi, who, disguised as a peasant, is told the mythological history of the world when visiting the residence of three oddly-named kings – and the similar premise of the first part of the Skaldskaparmal were also enjoyable. They worked as effective framing devices for what were in essence just massive info-dumps, and IMO this is what set them above the rest of the book. Underneath, they were ‘textbooks’ like all the rest, but crucially it didn’t feel like I was reading one. Compare this to the Hattatal, which makes no attempt to hide this and is pretty much a list breaking down the key elements of around 100 forms of poetry. Sticking with the positives for the moment, I felt like Snorri’s Edda gave me a detailed insight into the culture of medieval Scandinavia – heck, I think I even learned a thing or two about the Old Icelandic/Old Norse language while I was at it! The priorities of the age are expressed in the poetry quoted, and it’s probably much like you’d expect – princes and jarls fight to defend their territories, give out rafts of precious things to their retainers, and warriors make a lot of journeys in ships. All of this is expressed via the use of varied kennings – compound metaphorical descriptions that can be confusing at first, but luckily there are plenty of [side notes] in this edition to help you understand just what on Earth a ‘spear-clash-flame-mail-tree’ or the like even is. Many of these poems are meant to describe dramatic conflicts and praise great rules, but I couldn’t help laughing at some of those kennings. They may be an integral part of the form, but some look so strange to the modern reader that they can end up being unintentionally amusing (see my activity for a couple of examples!) Now… on to the not so good. Firstly –let’s face it, I’m not going to remember much of the Hattatal. It might be useful if you want to learn more about Norse literature or have an interest in poetry; however, I’ve always preferred prose narratives, and I just wanted to get it finished by the time I was about ¾ of the way through (I may have speed-read the last 10 pages…). Some of the forms have awesome-sounding names, like ‘ghost-form’ and ‘fox-turns’, but I couldn’t tell you the difference between them. The format quickly becomes repetitive and dull, and all the terminology about syllables and rhyme begins blurring into one. Maybe this wasn’t intended to be read in extended sittings; whatever the reason, it stopped appealing to me shortly after I started it. Secondly – and lastly – I have a real bone to pick with that Prologue. I think I felt my brain melting at one point because it ended up being so utterly convoluted and confusing. Sure, it started out easy enough, with a discourse on God and Creation, as you might expect from a medieval Christian writer – and then proceeded to blow the space-time continuum to smithereens as Classical, Christian and Norse myth were smashed together in a cosmic melting-pot and the resulting stew slung out onto the page. Warning: geeky rant incoming. I sat there in disbelief for most of this. I was just so bloody confused. God made the world – fine, I get it. People begin to worship the Earth and forget about God – I got you. There was a city in Turkey called Troy – brownie points for getting this bit of Classical legend right! …Wait. Now you’re telling me that King Priam had a grandson named Tror, who we call Thor? He married the freaking Sibyl, and Odin is descended from them? They came to Scandinavia from Turkey, and their line ended up being worshipped as deities? The Æsir came from Asia, hence their name?! I… can’t. I understand that paganism had fallen out of favour with the establishment by this time, but was attempting to connect three different forms of mythology really necessary? I feel I’m being unduly harsh here as I have limited knowledge on the subject, but this really messed with my head. Overall… I’m chalking my apathy towards sections of the Edda up to personal taste. I loved the crash course in Norse mythology; it’s just a shame things went out of the window further down the line. Still recommended for any Norse or history buff! Final rating: 3/5 stars. May reread some of it in future. Bonus: TOLKIEN! I’m pretty sure this is where Tolkien got the names of his dwarves from – Thorin? Dvalin? Gloin? - and it really made me smile to spot the apparent references.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Briynne

    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 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 Christian by the 7th century or so. So, the fact that Scandinavia remained pagan until after the 1st millennium, and probably much longer than that in more remote areas, makes it rather unique. There is a fun contrast between the grand designs and personalities of Norse mythology. Namely, the Norse understanding of the cosmos is beautiful and elegant; and its gods and other characters are rather not. Their construct of the universe centers around the tree Yggdrasil, the branches and roots of which support the nine worlds of men, gods, giants, elves, and the dead. A giant serpent gnaws on the root of the tree, threatening to destroy it, but the tree is kept alive by three Norns, who are analogous to the Fates. The Norse version of the apocalypse, Ragnarok, was my favorite of the stories. Ragnarok begins when Yggdrasil shudders, the Fenris-wolf is loosed in the world, and the giant serpent surrounding the earth joins his side. It culminates in the death of nearly all the gods and the destruction of the world in flames and floods. It gave me chills. I would love to know how much of the story is colored by Christian interpretations of older material and how much is just eerily similar to the apocalypse story in Revelations. That being said, there are probably only so many ways to have an Armageddon, so maybe the similarities are just natural. The gods and goddesses and creatures that figure in these myths are definitely interesting, but they largely lack the polish of the creation and apocalypse myths. These are gods that were dreamed up by people who lived pretty darn close to the Arctic Circle before electricity; so logically, they are tough and brutal and just a little scary. It kills me that people refer to Loki as a “trickster” god. It seems a little inappropriate to equate Loki’s bloody mayhem and maliciousness with schoolboy shenanigans. However, I fully accept that the Vikings and I may have somewhat different senses of humor. Although, considering that the gods did end up tying him to a rock with his son’s intestines so a snake could drip excruciating venom into his face for eternity, perhaps they didn’t find him all that funny either. Next in line is Thor, who is kind of a jerk. He seems to be unduly popular considering that he’s constantly bashing people’s heads in with his hammer every time he gets a bit cross. Not very gentlemanly, but I suppose I do see the appeal that his temper and easily offended honor might have had to a society centered around warrior culture. His one redeeming moment came after Loki cut off all of Thor’s wife Sif’s pretty hair, and he threatened to break every bone in Loki’s body unless he swore to fix it. I actually found that quite sweet. Odin is scary, but good. I think it’s the ravens that freak me out, or maybe the pet wolves. I’m also a little creeped out by his valkyries who swoop down and snatch men who have died in battle. On a side note, what an interesting conception of heaven Valhalla is: getting up in the morning, chopping your friends to bits with war-axes, and then sitting down to some serious mead-drinking by breakfast-time, all miraculously healed so you can do it all again tomorrow. The goddesses were a little difficult to get a handle on, personality-wise. They seem to be less manipulative and horrible than their Greco-Roman counterparts, but that’s about all I could get. Frigg is the queen of the gods, and she sees everyone’s fate but tells no one. Freyja is the Aphrodite of the group, Hel guards the realm of the dead, and Idun possesses the magic that keeps the Æsir eternally young. There are others of course, but the women are just very remote in the stories. At the very end, and completely unexpected, was the extremely melodramatic story of Sigurd, Gunnar, and Brynhild. I knew that old Wagner got it from somewhere, I just didn’t know it was from here. Ick. It’s not his fault, but Sigurd will only ever make me think of Nazis and bad, loud opera featuring hefty women in horned helmets. Lots of fun, and definitely more my style than nymphs and satyrs frolicking in meadows.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Campbell Rider

    you: earth is flat me, an intellectual: earth is the world tree yggdrasil

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lynn Rainbow

    Norse mythology is always the coolest one! <3

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Tis a divinity shopping list. I'm in the lesser gods section. They're on two for one. *gets trolley rage at checkout*

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lucinda

    *Review to be posted*

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    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 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 records many of the tales that were kept alive for centuries by the Skalds and also elucidates their poetic techniques and forms, their use of metaphor and of rhythm. This text is for anyone who is interested in Viking myth and literature and also useful for anyone who wants to explore poetic expression from a viewpoint not usually presented in a standard literature class. For extra enjoyment, combine reading this book with viewing the Teaching Company course entitled The Vikings by Kenneth Harl.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    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 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 perhaps entertainment, it was fascinating to read where it all originated. There are, however, some gaps in this, so it would not be wise to rely on the Edda for all your Norse knowledge, it, I think, is to be considered a rough basis and a first stepping stone when learning about Norse mythology.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Eadweard

    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 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, Baldr, etc. First part of the book deals with the origin of the gods, the creation, end and rebirth of the world after ragnarok. The second deals with poetry and how to make poetry, the various styles of verse and the many kennings (I love kennings) and ways which you can refer to things, events or people.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sean DeLauder

    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 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 of Christianity, the last bastions of a heathen pantheon of northern Europe making a last stand in Scandanavia. Faced with the spread of Christianity and its Bible, Snorri observed his people had no solid theological work upon which to fall back on as a resource, and thus composed what is known as the Prose Edda. God + Giant = Horse + Spider (Sleipnir). Only in mythology. The Prose Edda is generally composed of a Prologue and three parts: Gylfaginning Skaldskaparmal Hattatal Gylfaginning The largest portion is given to the Gylfaginning, and serves as the meat of the Nordic cosmic history. It involves the travel of a Scandanavian king, Gylfi, disguised as Gangleri, to visit Odin, who likewise disguises himself as three kings (it seems to be a theme amongst gods to disguise themselves simply because they can), and inquire about the nature of Odin, who has migrated from his original lands (Troy--yes, that Troy). In the process of their discussion, Gylfi learns about the creation and inevitable destruction of the world, as well as the various gods of the Nordic pantheon. Gylfi speaking to Odin, disguised as three kings The compilation was meant as a guide, maybe even a bible of sorts, to which people and poets could refer--a handy thing in any age, really. The work refers heavily to the Poetic Edda, which itself is more a collection than a consciously assembled work, compiling bits of mythological history and assembling them into a relatively linear whole. The dialogue begins with the three kings stating Gylfi must become wiser (i.e., more knowledgeable about mythology) or he will not be permitted to leave alive. It's a pretty thin veneer for a contrived conversation meant to unsubtly wheedle information about the foundation of the world, and while probably the most informative in a general sense, comes off a bit forced. Here we have a disguised kind seeking mythological knowledge, asking surprisingly pointed questions about topics which he knows nothing about, and can therefore hardly know when he's received all the information about something. "What more of importance can be said of the ash [Ygdrasil, the world tree]?" The history of the Norse Gods is one of strange contradictions and bizarre world creation legends tending toward the Munchhausen Trilemma--not that science has found the bedrock for an explanation of a beginning yet, either, but it seems pointed in a comparatively sensible direction. The contradictions stem from an effort on, presumably, Sturleson's part to link Norse gods to a physical location and line of people, the AEsir, on Earth, which we'll get to later. The gods, Odin and his famous offspring and brethren, were a race of people who were born of a giant who was born of the very first giant (a term usually, but not always, restricted to Very Large People). What did not simply appear from the void, such as light and waterfalls and cows, came from a single giant, Ymir (who was a giant, even though not all giants are giant) that, having been slain by his grandchildren, Odin included, had all his body parts turned into the various landscapes fo the world. When Gylfi/Gangleri asks where one thing or another comes from (e.g., What did the giant eat if there was only light and dark and such? Answer: A cow formed spontaneously from icicle drippings. How fortunate.), one gets the impression that pretty much anything can preclude the formation of something else based purely upon necessity, and in that fashion "it's turtles all the way down." This seems a rather linear and sensible description of the ascent of Odin, et al, to the seat of power, not unlike the ascension of Zeus and other Greek gods after they slay their elemental father. Where it gets confusing is when we consider the Prologue to the Gylfiginning. In the prologue, despite having been the grandsons of what was the first humanoid being, Ymir the giant, the "gods" hail from Troy, exist post-Talmudic flood, and are called AEsir. They are the current line in many generations and have migrated all the way from western Anatolia to settle in Sweden. We also learn in the Gylfaginning that Odin and his brethren were actually just people who became godlike because of their great powers and are immortal so long as they eat magical apples overseen by another "god". While other gods are innately godlike, the Norse Gods are more like superheroes. We have an All Father in Odin, yet he and all the other gods have anticipated their doom in the final battle (Ragnarok), in which everyone dies, even the warriors who died well and are granted the opportunity to participate in this final battle. Rather grim, though there are hints of an afterlife afterwards, even if the fate of everyone involved in Ragnarok isn't clear--clarification is welcome. How these two pathways rectify with one another is beyond my understanding. Only in the realm of mythmaking and religion can a story be told several starkly different ways and each of them be true. The best explanation I can come up with is that by tying these gods to a place in time and making them wise humans rather than gods born of a giant Snorri may have been attempting to avoid being outed as heretical, as Christopher Tolkien's foreword to J.R.R Tolkien's The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun describe Christian missionaries as rather zealous and intent on squelching paganism. This is a resource for myth-writing poets, so it can hardly be expected to be believable, or without contradiction and hyperbole. It probably suffers from an effort to integrate some features of Christianity that were invariably absent from the oral tradition and an inexplicable compulsion to tie Asgard, the home of the gods, to Troy and its King Priam. Skaldskaparmal The Skaldskaparmal is a dialogue between AEgir and Bragi, the god of poetry, and provides examples of the proper idioms used to refer to people, places, and things (e.g., Gold is known as Sif's hair, pretty much everyone's bane, and a number of other, more obscure references based on Nordic myths) when composing poetry. For example, Suttung's Mead gives the gift of poetry to any who drink it. Odin stole the mead by drinking all of it, then vomited two thirds out while flying over Asgard in bird form (to escape the giant he was fleeing), with the final third blowing out his rear. This final third is known as the "bad poet's portion". The implication here ought to be clear. This also confirms the grand thesis of scatalogical theorist,Taro Gomi. In this section it is plain to see mechanisms utilized by Tolkien in his writing. Projected downfalls of one God or monster in the Edda are often referred to as The Bane of [insert character], which naturally brings your mind to bear on particulars from the Lord of the Rings, such as Isildur's Bane. Hattatal This book loses a star because it inexplicably lacks the Hattatal, which many other versions contain. The Hattatal was composed by Sturleson in an effort to demonstrate appropriate meter and method used when composing poetry. In all, this work is a fantastic and convoluted resource for figures, names, locations, and their functions in Norse mythology. If you want to know why certain gods do the things they do (e.g., fight frost giants, appear in cinematic features, etc.), the name and features of the gigantic hall in which each lives, the particular traits that are their weaknesses and strengths, where monsters like Jormungand originate (usually Loki), it's all here. The Midgard Serpent, Jormungand. Not a dog dropping. In all, an informative if not gripping read. However, if you're looking for a reference book, you're probably better off finding a Dictionary of Norse Gods, or something of that ilk.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Esmay

    I quite enjoyed this actually

  17. 4 out of 5

    Carl

    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 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 research on Edda than Byock's, but I could be wrong. Of course, I know Byock's been doing some work on oral history that could be considered relevant to Edda, but as far as that whole topic goes I recommend Gisli Sigurdsson instead. I believe Faulkes takes the majority or all of his translation from the Codex Regius manuscript, which is the primary one. As another review has said, Faulkes is one of the few translators to include Skaldskaparmal, which contains many of the most important stories. Well, some older translations include the interesting bits but leave out the rest. But with Faulkes you get the whole thing, and it serves as a reminder that Edda was not written as a handbook on mythology, but as a Poetics-- in fact, I believe Faulkes subscribes (as I do) to the idea that "Edda" (the book is named this in the Uppsala codex-- the name for Poetic or Elder Edda was applied to that MSS in the 1600s) is derived from the Latin verb for "compose", "edo" (based on a comparison to the Old Norse adaptation of the word "credo" to "kredda"). I think it was Magnus Olsen who first suggested that the book was originally written in reverse order. As we have it, it begins with a prologue (which may or may not have been written by Snorri) in which we are given a euhemeristic explanation for the gods, claiming that they are magicians who left Troy after the Trojan war and came to Sweden because their leader Odin prophecied that they would thrive there-- after arrival they convince the inhabitants they are gods (though I could be confusing a bit of this account with that in Ynglinga saga, or even Gylfaginning), which leads us to the next section, Gylfaginning (=The Deluding of Gylfi), which frames a summary of the mythology (especially the creation, Ragnarok, the main gods and some representative stories, basically along the lines of Voluspa/Seeress' Prophecy, which he constantly quotes) with a dialogue between the Swedish King Gylfi and the immigrant, magical Aesir from Asia Minor. After that we have Skaldskaparmal (=Poetic Diction), which begins with but doesn't sustain a frame narrative in which Aegir (in some places a "sea king", in some a giant or sea god) is at a feast with the Aesir (this could be the feast that the Aesir force the giant Aegir to host in Hymir's poem and Loki's quarrel in Poetic Edda) and questions Bragi, the god of poetry (apparently derived from the supposed court poet Bragi from around 850 who composed the first known skaldic poems, or drottkvaett stanzas-- the sort of poetry Snorri is teaching here) on the art of poetry, mainly kennings in this case, which are ornate circumlocutions used in drottkvaett (and to a lesser degree of ornateness in all Germanic alliterative verse). Most of these kennings are based on mythological stories, so Bragi explains many of these kennings by telling these stories. Eventually Skaldskaparmal turns into a bunch of lists of "heiti", which aren't kennings proper but just other ways of referring to things.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Loránd

    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 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 art of the skalds(norse bards/poets), explaining their styles, metrics and so forth. All of these lessons will help you better understand other Germanic-themed epics like The Nibelungenlied. Finally, we have Snorri Sturluson notes on the chapters. Which offer a bit of historical context to the tales. I was surprised to find that these myths had influences from The Aeneid and other mythologies. All in all, I am glad that I finally got to read about the Norse myths from a source as close as I can hope for to the original myths. P.S. For the record. I read the book titled "Edda (Illustrated)" kindle edition, ASIN B00NCCEJ6O. Translated by R.B. Anderson.

  19. 5 out of 5

    framptonhollis

    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 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 the appendix, name glossary (thanks for that one, Penguin), etc. The stories normally end up with something horribly tragic happening, scarring and brutal violence, and another set of "essential" names (there are way too many characters in this relatively short book, there, I said it!), but many of them also have humor, even if some of that humor is pretty messed up in its own right. My favorite tale here was definitely the story in which Thor and some of his buds are deceived by a clever giant. At first, it's really funny, but when the giant reveals his trick to Thor things begin to get really interesting and my emotional response winded up being somewhere between tensity and thought provocation.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kaila

    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 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 tell you, this has NOTHING on the poetic Edda. The poetic Edda is like, WOW, and this is, well ok. It would have been nearly impossible to jump straight into the poetic Edda though, so this is a really great starting point if you are interested in learning more about Norse mythology. Just don't ignore the poetic Edda.

  21. 4 out of 5

    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. Seriously 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. Seriously, amazingly helpful for any study of the northern myths and epics. Very readable, as well.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    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 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 discusses the end of him, the gods, and the world they inhabit.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mel

    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.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Roger Herrera

    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.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Isa

    1. they put the horse that knocked up loki on his family tree 2. the horse had the word "dilf" in the middle of its name

  26. 4 out of 5

    Stefan

    Loki is a pain in the neck.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    Snorri Sturluson wrote his Edda, also known as the "Prose Edda", around 1220. Sturluson's work contains his versions of numerous Norse/Icelandic myths as well as a fair catalogue of tropes, motifs and "kennings" of skaldic poetry. This work derives from a really fascinating liminal period in European history between pagan and Christian culture and oral and written culture. It is a written work that seeks to preserve an oral tradition. Additionally, it was written by a Christian author about the Snorri Sturluson wrote his Edda, also known as the "Prose Edda", around 1220. Sturluson's work contains his versions of numerous Norse/Icelandic myths as well as a fair catalogue of tropes, motifs and "kennings" of skaldic poetry. This work derives from a really fascinating liminal period in European history between pagan and Christian culture and oral and written culture. It is a written work that seeks to preserve an oral tradition. Additionally, it was written by a Christian author about the not-so-distant pagan past of his people. These tensions between the written and the oral and the Christian and the pagan wind their way throughout the book. I find particularly interesting Sturluson's relatively sympathetic treatment of the pagan beliefs of his own culture. Medieval Christianity has scarcely been noted for its patient toleration of diverse beliefs, but Sturluson strikes an expository tone that is without condescension. In fact, he practically offers an apology and asks indulgence for the Norse people's pagan past by portraying these beliefs as rather misinterpreted versions of true Christian (and latinized) beliefs. For instance, he equates the Aesir (the stock of the Norse pantheon) with the inhabitants of ancient Troy and hypothesizes that these migrating kings from Asia simply, if mistakenly, came to be revered as gods by the Norse people. Sturluson's entire work ranges from interesting to extremely entertaining, but the sleight of hand he continually exercises in blending Norse pagan myth with latinized Christian tradition is what really stood out to me about this book. Having read a good many primary sources from the Middle Ages, I found Sturluson's Edda particularly sensitive and clever. The latter portions of the book, which focus so exclusively on skaldic poetry and its language are, perhaps, of greatest interest to specialists who wouldn't be reading the Edda in translation anyway. However, I still found delightful kernels of myth and story interlaced into these more didactic chapters. The entire thing is really worth a read and especially for those, like myself, who delight in the historian's sensibility wherever it is found. Sturlson may have been explicating poetry, but he did so with the attention and perspective of an historian. And, of course, only fairly recently have these two disciplines been separated from each other as though unrelated. Sturluson's Edda provides a beautiful example of poetry as history and history as poetry.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Barnaby Thieme

    Snorri's manual of poetry and Norse mythology is an oddball collection of myths and legends told in highly-compressed form, apparently with the primary intent of serving as a reference for Skalds. Obviously this is a key source for many of the stories we know, such as the account of Ragnarok, the binding of the Fenris wolf, the theft of Idunn's apples, and some of Thor's more famous adventures with the giants. A careful read (and probably many re-reads) of this book is essential for approaching Snorri's manual of poetry and Norse mythology is an oddball collection of myths and legends told in highly-compressed form, apparently with the primary intent of serving as a reference for Skalds. Obviously this is a key source for many of the stories we know, such as the account of Ragnarok, the binding of the Fenris wolf, the theft of Idunn's apples, and some of Thor's more famous adventures with the giants. A careful read (and probably many re-reads) of this book is essential for approaching the topic. As with so much of the surviving Norse religious material, it is difficult to know how to take a lot of the content, or to extrapolate much of religious feeling from these stories. Odin is presented as the All-Father who fashioned the universe out of the bones of the primordial frost giant Ymir, but in the main the gods register more as adventurers with unusual abilities (great strength, magic powers, et cetera) rather than cosmic powers. The stories convey little sense of the numinous power typically associated by deities who are the object of active veneration, which perhaps one might expect, as Iceland and Norway were well-Christianized by the time these stories were set down. Still, having read this several times, I inevitably come away wishing I could discern more of early German and Scandinavian religious life from its pages - something of the character and tone of its devotions, prayers, rituals, temples, and other forms of expression. But that is not to be found in this reference of composition and storytelling. What is to be found is a brisk collection of often-obscure anecdotes, which nonetheless contain the kernels of great power and force. The brooding perception of nature as a hostile and overwhelming presence looms large, as does the sense that the very lights of the heavens are flickering and transitory, ever in danger of being blown out by the cold final wind of Ragnarok. Many of the stories and adventures are amusing in the manner of folk tales or Märchen, and the student of Wagner will find much of the source material of his great Ring cycle here. Anyone with even a casual interest in Norse mythology should absolutely read this classic of our world's literary and religious heritage.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nikki

    I really enjoyed The Prose Edda. It's well-worth reading, and it sheds light on a surprising number of references in other media -- not just stuff like The Lord of the Rings, but also, for example, the names of monsters in the Shin Megami Tensei games. It's not really surprising, given what a wealth of mythology is contained in this book. I'm really looking forward to the lectures about it, and will probably write my essay on it, if the essay titles are good... It also makes me more enthusiastic I really enjoyed The Prose Edda. It's well-worth reading, and it sheds light on a surprising number of references in other media -- not just stuff like The Lord of the Rings, but also, for example, the names of monsters in the Shin Megami Tensei games. It's not really surprising, given what a wealth of mythology is contained in this book. I'm really looking forward to the lectures about it, and will probably write my essay on it, if the essay titles are good... It also makes me more enthusiastic (and I was already enthusiastic) about the idea of learning Old Norse next year. The translation is clear and easy to understand. I realised that the translator is the same as for my copy of The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki, Jesse Byock, and I recommend his translation work, definitely. Also, this edition comes with a good introduction and a lot of helpful notes.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Cwn_annwn_13

    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 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 entertainment value by Snorri. That being said Snorri is still argueably the best source for Indo-European religion. You just have to take a lot of it with a grain of salt. The translation itself is entertaining and easy to read. Overall you can't go wrong here.

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