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Heimskringla: or, The Lives of the Norse Kings Paperback – May 1, 1990
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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...
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.
There are phenomenal illustrations in this version of Heimskringla. I am buying a copy here, off of Amazon, as soon as I have the money.