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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 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 surprised to find that the heroic second section of the Edda overlaps a lot with The Saga of the Volsungs again, it mostly narrates the stories of the last men of the Volsung dynasty.It also contains what to me will always be one of the funniest, albeit tragic, pieces of dialogue ever Sinfj tli dying due to poisoning and his father Sigmund, too drunk to realise the actual danger, simply tells him tofilter it through your moustache, sonI know it s a tragic death but that line gets me everytime.Like the Volsunga saga, it narrates Sigurd the Dragon Slayer s story, and it offers a different perspective on what is probably the oldest love square story Sigurd, Brynhild, Gunnar and Gudr n the Norse Medea.I find their story incredibly compelling, a true Greek tragedy and what was clearly a good cautionary tale at a time when whole families died because they kept avenging each other.If you re a fan of Norse myths, then this is the book for you My favourite mythological lays were the H vam l the Lay of the High One , a list of advice coming directly from the God of autoerotic asphyxiation, Odin and Lokasenna Loki in a yelling match with all the other gods, proving he s not a god of destruction but the God of ridiculous and hilarious comebacks Based on my limited knowledge, Dr Crawford seems to have done an excellent job with the material An important read for anyone interested in primary sources on Norse mythology The stories themselves are long on plot, short on character development. famous for being one of the earliest plagiarisms of professor Tolkien s LotR. Wits are needful for someone who travels widely,anything will do at home he becomes a laughing stock, the man who knows nothingand sits among the wiseH vam lArguably the greatest mythological masterpiece human civilisation has achieved, in my mind But I m biased for a variety of reasons from being from the north, from researching its history and culture every day as a profession and from this being the main inspiration for my favourite literary author J R R Tolkien.I ll do apropeWits are needful for someone who travels widely,anything will do at home he becomes a laughing stock, the man who knows nothingand sits among the wiseH vam lArguably the greatest mythological masterpiece human civilisation has achieved, in my mind But I m biased for a variety of reasons from being from the north, from researching its history and culture every day as a profession and from this being the main inspiration for my favourite literary author J R R Tolkien.I ll do aproper review of this when I gather somethoughtsThe corpses of doomed men fall,the gods dwellings are reddened with crimson blood sunshine becomes black the next summer,all weather is vicious do you understand yet, or what Volusp 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 timesCollected by an unidentified Icelander, probably during the twelfth or thirteenth century, The Poetic Edda was rediscovered in Iceland in the seventeenth century by Danish scholars Even then its value as poetry, as a source of historical information, and as a collection of entertaining stories was recognized This meticulous translation succeeds in reproducing the verse patterns, the rhythm, the mood, and the dignity of the original in a revision that Scandinavian Studies says may well grace anyone s bookshelf 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 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 word or name.Not to depreciate the skill of the translator I m sure great skill and care went into the rendition of the original into the current text but reading these poems rife with unfamiliar accents and names impossible to pronounce undermined for this reader the translator s preservation of the meter of the original I had hoped to use these poems to peer into a lost era Instead I muddled through murky events half seen, a foreign fog poorly illuminated by brief flashes of clarity like a movie viewed while distracted and drunk.There is a catalog of dwarfs at the end, in case you are into that sort of thing 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 SigrdThen 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 Sigrdrifa usually better known via the Germanic The Nibelungenlied Other poems have been added to this canon and Larrington includes quest and other poetry.Unlike Snorri s The Prose Edda, the poetry here is not systematic nor connected in any easy way what we have instead are fragments and tales that might contradict or undermine or supplement each other in a nicely allusive and intertextual way Different versions of the heroic sagas emerge and diverge so while this might be comparable to other great mythic collections like Ovid s Metamorphoses or Hesiod s Theogony, this is farunstable in an interesting way Source material for The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, this is a fascinating window into Old Norse heroic culture 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 thetimes I read the poems, theI 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 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 thetimes I read the poems, theI 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 medieval source for the study of Old Norse mythology and cosmology The poems are about the creation of the world, of sir and vanir the two kind of gods , of giants, dwarves, elves, volvas, valkyries and all kinds of creatures, including the norns who decide our faith, and Yggdrasil, the World Tree The poems tell how Thor fights the giants, of Freya s seductive powers, of Siv s beauty, and of Loki s treachery But first of all the poems are about Odin s obsessive quest for knowledge and the truth about his own death in Ragnarok, the Doom of Goods The Poetic Edda also tells the stories of Helgi Hundingsbane and his valkyrie bride and the tragic love between Sigurd the Dragonslayer and Brynhild.It may seem out of place to recommend the reading of another book before you read the one which is up for review, but for the first time reader who knows little about Norse mythology, Snorri s Edda is actually a better starting point In his book Snorri explains the old poems and the myths, and the mythological stories are retold in plain prose With this background it is easier to understand the poems in The Poetic Edda But it definitely helps that the Oxford edition of the poems is equipped with an index, explanatory notes, genealogies, and an introduction.Being accustomed to the rhythm and non Latinate wordings of Norwegian translations, I find it a bit strange to read English versions of the old poems, but I am in no position to compare Carolyne Larrington s translation with other English translations It is nevertheless very refreshing to get a new perspective on the poems given by another language And, as I said in the beginning of the review, theI read the Edda poems, theimpressed I get I wish I hadn t read all the gory details 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 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 Edda was constructed As I understand it, these two eddas are the two most important primary sources for what is known about Norse Mythology If I can step onto my soapbox for a moment, I think it s a shame to read those clinical synopsis type mythologies i.e encyclopedia like entries for each deity and concept when the source material is so much better Sure, it can be slightly incomprehensible at times, but you get so muchlocal color, as it were.The opening poem, the V lusp , is a knock out Really, go find it on the internet and read it In the poem, a seer woman spins the future out for Odin and delivers the dark, dismal fate of the gods and the world in a hauntingly ethereal, lyrical style What I loved about this collection is that the next poem Saying of the High One does a complete 180 in tone and delivers a sometimes amusing string of advice that could have been taken from the Viking version of the Poor Richard s Almanac The comedy roles on with the Lay of Thrym note according to the OED a lay is a short lyric or narrative poem intended to be sung I had no idea, so I thought I d share In this poem, Thor and Loki disguise themselves, badly, as ladies in order to fool a giant The king of the giants demands the goddess Freyja as his wife in return for giving Thor back his stupid hammer, but since she won t have anything to do with it, the guys go in her place It was funny in an absurd way I kept thinking that the folks in medieval Iceland probably would have really enjoyed Harold and Kumar The Lay of Harbard also operated on this sort of sophomoric level Basically, Thor and this guy Harbard stand on opposite banks of a river yelling insults at each other Thor tries to prove his masculinity or whatever by bragging about various feats of battle, to which Harbard responds by enumerating his various, shall we say, romantic conquests I honestly kept waiting for him to respond with yo momma Things turned back again in style with The Lay of Alvis, which I really liked It reminded me of Tolkein, who may not have been as creative as I had originally thought, but he certainly had a good eye for inspiration The whole poem is dedicated to Alvis listing the names for different things in the various worlds of the Vanir, sir, elves, dwarves, and humans it doesn t sound interesting, but I found it to be one of the most lovely and poetic of the lays For instance, when Thor asks Alvis what the sun is called in the different worlds, he repliesMen call it Sol, and gods the Sun, The dwarfs say Dvalin s Delight The giants Ever Glowing, the elves Fair Wheel, The sir Shadowless ShiningThe entire second half of the Edda is devoted to poems of the Volsung saga I m still not in love with this story, although I felt like I got to know the story and characters better in this edda, and I ve warmed up a little The drama centers around the Sigurd Gudrun Gunnar Brynhild love square, only not really since Gudrun and Gunnar are siblings It s a horrible mess and neither the heroic Sigurd nor the high maintenance valkyrie Brynhild make it out alive They both get on my nerves, though, so it s alright Gunnar is a loser, and Brynhild was probably right to be so scornful of him But Gudrun I like She is Sigurd s wife, and there is a really touching lay describing her silent grief after he is killed I changed from pitying her to just plain being scared of her pretty quickly, though The Lay of Atli is like a horror movie In the poem, Gudrun is married against her will to a barbarian king whom she cannot stand after the death of her beloved Sigurd, at the insistence of her brothers After a few miserable years together, the king kills Gunnar and the rest of her brothers in some dispute and she just snaps She murders the two young sons they had together and feeds her husband their blood and hearts in disguise as some sort of delicacy at a feast before killing him and everyone else she could find Not joking So, she s completely crazy, but she provides a great punctuation mark to the sometimes tedious Volsung themed poems As a whole, these poems were utterly fascinating They were strange and beautiful in fairly equal measure, and I m very glad I tracked this particular translation down through ILL Seriously, there are some horrific translations out there I don t know anything about their technical merits, obviously, but from a readability stand point this was the best one I could find I wouldn t recommend reading this book before you have a little background from either the Prose Edda or one of those anthologies I bashed earlier, because I don t think it would make a lot of sense without some outside context