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The Poetic Edda (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – June 10, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0192839466 ISBN-10: 0192839462 Edition: New edition

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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; New edition edition (June 10, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192839462
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192839466
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 1 x 5.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,611,094 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

All-wise's Sayings
Baldr's Dreams
Brynhild's Ride To Hell
The First Lay Of Gudrun
The First Poem Of Helgi Hundingsbani
Fragment Of A Poem About Sigurd
The Greenlandic Poem Of Atli
Grimnir's Sayings
Gripir's Prophecy
Harbard's Song
Hymir's Poem
The Lay Of Atli
The Lay Of Fafnir
The Lay Of Hamdir
The Lay Of Regin
The Lay Of Sigrdrifa
The Lay Of Volund
The List Of Rig
Loki's Quarrel
Oddrun's Lament
The Poem Of Helgi Hiorvardsson
Sayings Of The High One
The Second Lay Of Gudrun
A Second Poem Of Helgi Hundingsbani
Seeress's Prophecy
A Short Poem About Sigurd
Skirnir's Journey
The Song Of Grotti
The Song Of Hyndla
The Third Lay Of Gudrun
Thrym's Poem
Vafthrudnir's Sayings
The Whetting Of Gudrun
-- Table of Poems from Poem Finder® --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Icelandic --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

This is an excellent presentation of an ancient myth.
Bruce Burns
The power of the characters in the poems, as well as the events that take place here, go beyond the "normal-human life" out of later times.
alaskadoggie
Fantastic edition, fantastic text, fantastic translation.
GP Lanciano

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

122 of 126 people found the following review helpful By Ian M. Slater on February 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
The "Elder" or "Poetic" Edda is the modern name for a set of Old Norse mythological (mainly about gods) and heroic (mainly about humans) poems, found in a limited number of Icelandic manuscripts, the most important of which is damaged, and missing pages, and does not agree with other copies, and quotations in other medieval texts. The exact list of poems included varies slightly, with editors and translators having a little leeway. The "World's Classics" series from Oxford University Press finally included a translation of this famous collection in its list in 1997; it has since been reprinted in the slightly refurbished and renamed series of "Oxford World's Classics."

{Perhaps I should add that, like five earlier reviewers, I have taken for granted the importance and high literary quality of the Elder Edda, and concentrated on whether this particular translation is worth your time -- and money.}

Although some reviewers have complained that Carolyne Larrington's translation is inaccurate, it has been favorably received by the academic community on the grounds of its exceptional accuracy. (It is on a Cambridge University syllabus too, although this may reflect, in part, its availability.)

Part of the problem may be that Larrington is following the 1983 revision of the Neckel-Kuhn text edition, without giving specific notice of all of its decisions on how to resolve contradictions in the manuscript evidence. (A reader who consults the notes at the end will find some of them, particularly regarding the ordering of stanzas.) Most previous translators produced eclectic versions, based on a variety of older editions, and often noting their own departures from the then-standard text editions.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Freborg on May 30, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Handy book with nice format and readable translation. However there's virtually no context here as far as a meaningful introduction to the individual works or the work as a whole. The individual introductions are cursory at best, written in a dismissive "Oxford" tone which assumes the reader is familiar with the works and their context. Imagine mixing up the books of the Bible, and removing most of the study annotations now included in most versions. Reading the Prose Edda first was EXTREMELY helpful, as Snorri does what the editor of this book should have tried harder to do herself. If you know little or nothing of Norse mythology, you'll be lost if you start with this book; but after the Prose Edda, things become much more meaningful.
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74 of 90 people found the following review helpful By "vyli" on August 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
While it's popular to criticise the Hollander translation of The Poetic Edda for being more poetic than accurate, compared to Larrington's version, his is nearly ideal.
I've been studying eddic poetry for years, both in the original and in translation, and recently picked up a copy of this book because several friends insisted it is more accessible and easily read. I immediately saw why it is often suggested as an alternative to the archaic language sometimes used by Hollander, but simultaneously horrified. Of course, no translation will ever convey the full nuances of a text, but I found numerous places where Larrington either lost all subtext to a passage, or was simply inaccurate.
I would only recommend this translation for comparison to others, such as Hollander, Bellows or even Thorpe. The work simply does not stand on its own as a trustworthy edition.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By S. Plowright on April 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
Translating poetry will always be problematic. There is the decision to make whether to emulate the form, or concentrate on the meaning.

Larrington tends toward the latter. This is probably the best kind of translation for those wanting to become familiar with the narrative. Once the reader knows the tales, it is time to move on to a version like Hollander. Harder to read but more reminiscent of the poetry of the original. I like to go close to transliterating, using the English cognates when possible, although it certainly makes the meaning difficult, it does have a satisfying effect. However, to really appreciate the striking rhythm & alliteration of the verse form, one really needs to recite the Old Norse out loud.

Neither kind of translation will capture the subtleties of the words chosen for their ambiguity or being suggestive of other words. Both kinds of translation, as well as the original, have an important place in one's library.

Sweyn

The Rune Primer
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By alaskadoggie on November 24, 2004
Format: Paperback
The Edda is for the Nordic European countries, what the Iliad meant for the old Greek. It is THE TREASURY - in a poetical form - of their MYTHOLOGY and of lots of their heroic stories and the wisdom of their proverbs.
This book embodies the ethics and the cultural life during the transition period from paganism to christianity (about 8th until 13th century). A world opens of gods, supernatural beings and creatures AND of the protagonists of a heroic (pre-)history. The existence of man in his natural environment and the place of "the family" in the world they lived in, as for so gets a meaningful, coherent interpretation.
The songs of the gods make a mysterious power of attraction on the reader of today. In the "vision of the famous visionary VOLUSPA", birth and decline of the old world of gods are treated AND at the same time the author made a sketch of the new world order. This vision remains, up until these days, the peak, THE highlight of Nordic literature. The heroic poems are a true glorification of the past. The power of the characters in the poems, as well as the events that take place here, go beyond the "normal-human life" out of later times. What is more, the tragic adventures and fortunes of the family, the race of the "NIBELUNGEN" have been a tremendous source of inspiration for so many writers, thinkers, even musicians. I hereby think in special about the famous, outstanding collection of opera's by the German composer Richard WAGNER: his "RING DES NIBELUNGEN", which gives such a fantastic, colourful insight in what happened centuries ago!
This work is one of the main sources for Nordic AND German mythology which gives a splendid view on the misty (sic!!
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