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Warrior Lore: Scandinavian Ballads by [Cumpstey, Ian]
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Warrior Lore: Scandinavian Ballads Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Length: 78 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews


"A charming introduction to Scandinavian Lore." -- Sam Smith, in The Journal (once 'of Contemporary Anglo-Scandinavian Poetry')

"Plenty of axe-swinging violence. The narratives value the human virtues of cleverness and competition." -- Matthew Rettino, The Vinciolo Journal

"Resplendent with sweeping tales and shield-beating rhythm and meter." -- Liz Ratajczak Ratel

From the Author

The choice of ballads to include in Warrior Lore was inspired by the remnants of Norse myth and Germanic legend. Some of the oldest surviving ballads are included here. These ballads are structured basically around rhyme and metre, similarly to modern verse and songs, and with this translation I have aimed to make versions of the ballads that can work in English. I have avoided archaisms in the translation, and have tried to reflect the simple and timeless language of the original ballads.

Product Details

  • File Size: 515 KB
  • Print Length: 78 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Skadi Press (May 2, 2014)
  • Publication Date: May 2, 2014
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00K3W7E36
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #813,763 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
'Warrior Lore' is a compilation of Scandinavian ballads translated by Ian Cumpstey. He has used various sources in order to render a modern and beautiful English translation of the ballads.

This compilation has been created for the general public, and Cumpstey has certainly achieved his goal. In preparation for this review I researched other English translations of each ballad in order to determine its level of readability. After searching, I found there were not many English translations of these ballads, at least not easily found. The only one which I was able to find in a public place was the ballad of Hilla-Lill, as the ballad inspired a famous watercolour. I found two translations, one by William Morris and the other by Whitley Stokes. Both have similar features to Cumpstey’s translation, but it is clear – and Mr. Cumpstey made mention of this in his notes – that there are different manuscripts used. This happens quite often with translations of all literature. Multiple manuscripts are used in order to produce a more fluid English translation. As it happens, sometimes using more manuscripts gives a more accurate translation, as well, and gives a bit more insight to the original intent of the ballad. I have seen this before with Chaucer’s “Truth” where only one known manuscript had an extra verse addressed to Vache and it has been argued that this has given us insight into Chaucer’s life and social circle.

Overall, the ballads are extremely readable and quite enjoyable. It is quite clear these are ballads rather than epic poems. I can imagine these being sung quite easily. Each flows well with the others and it shows a distinct style of Scandinavian ballads that I had not known before. This is the most recent translation of any of these ballads and for anyone slightly interested in medieval ballads, or specifically Scandinavian ones, I would highly suggest Cumpstey’s translation and compilation in ‘Warrior Lore.’
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Format: Paperback
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

(Spoilers within)

This is a short book with translations of Scandinavian folk ballads and some explanations of what they're about and what is happening in them.

On one hand, it's not the type of book for me because I've never been fond of things like poetry and such. On the other hand, it's probably the perfect type of book for me to review because I translate and I can appreciate how difficult it is to try and keep a rhythm and rhyming scheme while keeping the same meaning. It's hard. I can imagine the amount of effort it took to try and put it together in English and I'd say it came together pretty well.

Before each ballad, there are short explanations discussing what happens in the ballad, whether they're based off real historical figures and who they were, and what happened to them in reality or in other ballads. I would say this is akin to studying Shakespeare, because it's not necessarily obvious what's going on in the ballad's themselves without an explanation.

I think the one that amused me the most was when Thor crossdressed as the troll's bride. I also liked that a guy ran home with an oak tree tied to his back. Old tales really didn't make a lot of logical sense.

Others are pretty sad and telling of the times, like when a woman is kidnapped and forced into a brutal marriage and dies, only for one of he daughters to be kidnapped the same way later.

Like I said, it's fairly short, and there's not too much of note to say. The sources that he translated from are documented. If you're interested in this subject it would be a good book to look into - I didn't really see any problems with it. It was neatly put together and had a clean Table of Contents and all. It did everything it set out to do.
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Format: Kindle Edition
‘Warrior Lore’, by Ian Cumpstey, is a collection of translated Scandinavian folk songs first written in the 1600s. This particular review concerns the ebook version, and as such I can’t comment on how the paperback version is (though I plan on purchasing it soon to see how it is).

The folk songs detail various stories of Scadinavian lore and folklore; numbering ten in total, and are presented in the form of ballads in lyrical format of varying lengths. The enjoyment one can derive from this title relates directly to one’s enjoyment of this particular genre, mainly that involving folklore and mythology. As a fan of it, when being asked to review ‘Warrior Lore’, I couldn’t help but say yes.

The stories themselves are entertaining, and include a wide range of plots. From a quest to improve one’s fighting ability to the famous Norse mythology story involving Thor cross-dressing to retrieve Mjolnir. Some are funny and others much sadder, but overall they are wonderful and really enjoyable. As they are presented in lyrical format I took the time to first read them for myself and then aloud, and they didn’t disappoint at all. It is always a pleasure to get to know more about the folklore of various countries.

Though I’m not that familiar with Scandinavian mythos aside from those involving Norse mythology, this book wasn’t hard to read at all. Instead it being informative and easy to get into. Additionally they also flowed well, something very welcome to see in a translation of a lyrical nature. It isn’t easy to translate a work and remain loyal to the source in its entirey, and much more if the translation doesn’t involve prose.
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