Norse Stories Retold from the Eddas (1901, 1902, 1908 & 2006)
a.k.a. Norse Mythology Great Stories from the Eddas (2002)
By Hamilton Wright Mabie
This review will be covering several editions of this work, while the text is the same in all the editions their presentations vary greatly.
A well written book covering seventeen of the more popular Norse Myths from the Eddas. Mr. Mabie had a very engaging style that is palatable for adults and will still hold the interest of children.
Now, having said this, it must be remembered that this work was originally written in 1882. This was a time when children were not as sheltered from the realities of life and death as they are today. A time when being politically correct meant that you voted for the winner. A time when cholera, small pox and numerous other diseases ran rampant through the population. Children were quite a bit tougher back when this work was written. So if you have a wimpy, sheltered child you may want to find another book for story time. Or try something mindless and milk toast like the Disney Channel.
All the stories are faithfully translated into a readable and entertaining format. While this work can not be considered scholarly, it does convey the spirit of the Norse Era quite well. As a testament to the books quality, few works of any type continue to be published for over a century.
This edition of, "Norse Mythology, Great Stories from the Eddas", 2002, was, (to me anyway), a bit of a disappointment. While the text remained the same as the older editions, the illustrations or lack of them has not. The early 1900's editions are lavishly illustrated with Nordic style gilt work on every page and simple, but powerful water color's throughout the book. The cover was graced with a depiction of a powerful Viking God, (probably Odin), looking proud and imposing. The 2002 paperback editions cover depicts a beardless, nude, neo-Greek Thor battling Jormungand, from the Chapter 9 story, "Thor Goes Fishing". While the cover art is well done, (the 1788 Henry Fuseli painting), this style would be better served on a book of Greek or Roman Myths. The interior illustrations and gilt work of the 2002 edition are nonexistent. This lack of interior illustration transforms a very good book with eye catching pages that add life to the myths into just another paperback.
All and all a nice retelling of the tales but if you can get a copy of the older editions or the 2006 paperback it's well worth it.
"Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc"
For clarification, I have rated this version at 3 stars vs. the 4 stars I've rated the older hardback editions. This has nothing to do with the written content. This drop in my recommendation is based on the presentation and lack of interior illustrations and poor choice of cover art.