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Heimskringla: or, The Lives of the Norse Kings Paperback – May 1, 1990
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The Lebensborn program abducted as many as half a million children from across Europe. Through a process called Germanization, they were to become the next generation of the Aryan master race in the second phase of the Final Solution. Hitler's Forgotten Children is both a harrowing personal memoir and a devastating investigation into the awful crimes and monstrous scope of the Lebensborn program. Learn more | See related books
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Mr. Sturlason is indeed a kind of mysterious figure. Icelandic by birth, he would no doubt feel at home in the world of modern politics; as a matter of fact, he might have one or two things to teach any well seasoned contemporary politician. Why he devoted his life to political scheming and Norse history, we shall never know for sure; but should be under no illusion about his prowess in both disciplines. He's no doubt the Herodotus of the northern latitudes - and the Machiavelli. Nonetheless, in analogy to other historical figures, he machinated and intrigued a bit too far, which brought him his demise, after an anyway rather long life.
At the thirteenth century, the historical framework that saw the flourishing of Snorre Sturlason, the dynasties of Norwegian kings have come to an end. Not surprisingly so though, due to the extreme bellicosity and, from our late twentieth century point of view, hooligan-like features that characterized that string of monarchs.
Snorre's tale starts at the mythical times of the creation of the world, eons ago, with a crisp narrative of the well-known old Norse cosmology. It is not clear where mythology terminates and history begins, and one cannot help but wondering if the scheming historian kept the ambiguity on purpose.Read more ›
On the first element, Heimskringla is is of enormous importance in both mythological and historical studies relating to Viking and Medieval Scandinavia. Snorri's account begins with a mythological account of the gods euhemerized (as in Edda) in the Ynglinga Saga, and then goes through the history of the kings of Norway starting with Harald Fairhair. The material is of tremendous importance and even later sagas in the series have proven important in folklore studies.
However the translation was made at a time when it was fashionable to provide very flowery translations of sagas and other Old Norse documents. The goal was to make the work feel classy and old. Unfortunately this greatly hurts its readability and, as Einar Haugan pointed out in his essay "On Translating from the Scandinavian," this approach fails to note that in their day such works did not have such a feel and hence a more direct translation is often better. Hence I think that the fidelity and readability issues are worth treating this edition as less important than it would be otherwise.
Finally there are other translations out there which are more recent and reflect a better understanding of the Old Norse documents in their historical context. For this reason, while this is't a BAD addition to one's library, I would recommend other translations instead.
The extensive annotations and clarifications make this an ideal reference work for navigating the labyrinth of icelandic and norse sagas and other literature from the Scandinavian side of the sea. It's an ideal companion to an aggregation of the norse sagas. If this volume has a shortcoming, that is that it lacks what all of the present-day renderings of the related body of literature could have to add interest for the novice: up-to-date maps keyed to the individual chronicles. But in fairness, that could be a volume in itself, for sure!
Criticism of this translation of the Snorri's chronicles of the lives of the norse kings as "victorian" is not very insightful. First, the Victorian era ended with the 20th century (Queen Victoria died in 1899). This volume dates at the earliest back to 1932.
Second, expecting a translation that reads like Harry Potter does a major disservice to both Snorri's and the editorial board/translators' efforts. It might make for a more casual read, but that isn't the purpose of this volume. Perhaps a version of Clif's Notes or a lighter pictoral Marvel's comics edition will be forthcoming...
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Bought for bibliophile teen following a trip to Norway this summer. She was quite excited to receive, and has indicated she has enjoyed reading it. Read morePublished 2 months ago by JB knows
Fast shipping, excellent quality, really pleased--thank you!Published 8 months ago by Rebecca Perreault
This version of Heimskringla contains the Ynglinga Saga, which is like an introductory Saga to all Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian Kings. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Timothy John Helland
A gift that brought a lot of joy. I would do business with this supplier again. Keep up the good work!Published on December 30, 2013 by Alan
This book was well worth the money. Even though a used copy, it was in excellent condition much better than I expected. Read morePublished on January 20, 2013 by Jo A. Hinkle
This is the best history book that I have ever read. It is very full of history and details without any author input of personal opinions. Read morePublished on May 26, 2010 by J. Spencer