- Paperback: 160 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (27 May 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140447385
- ISBN-13: 978-0140447385
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1 x 19.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 108,822 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Saga of the Volsungs: The Norse Epic of Sigurd the Dragon Slayer (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 27 May 1999
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"This is a book of the highest importance. No one should attempt to teach about Viking society or claim to understand it without being familiar with this chilling and enduring myth." - Eleanor Searle, Past President of the Medieval Academy of America "Byock extends the background to the saga beyond the interest of 'Wagnerites' to the complex relationship between history and legend in the Middle Ages and the social context of the myths and heroes of the saga.... [Byock is] very successful in his adept renderings of Eddic rhythm.... The translation of prose is equally fine." - Judy Quinn, Parergon" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
The Icelandic author of THE SAGA OF THE VOLSUNGS is unknown and based his prose epic on strories found in earlier Norse poetry.
Jesse Bycock is Professor of Icelandic and Old Norse Literature at the University of California and has published work on Medieval Iceland.
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Top Customer Reviews
This saga is the one to start with. It's a fun saga--with lots of action, and also one of the most important stories in western literature, a Viking Age epic of the hero Sigurd and his wild Volsung kinsmen. Along the way, the famous Attila the Hun and the Gothic horsemen of the steppes enter the story along with others of their ilk.
The Saga of the Volsungs is the core basis of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. Tolkien was a professor of Old English and taught Old Norse. In his creative way, he mined the Volsung story for the essential elements of his trilogy. If you want to understand Tolkien as well as Scandinavian myth and legend, then this saga is the best place to get started. The sword that was reforged, the ring of power and its connection with water, the Gandalf character, the origin of the Gollum and Aragorn, elves, dwarves, the riders of Rohan and much more all step off the pages of The Saga of the Volsungs.
I heartily recommend Jesse Byock's translation of The Saga of the Volsungs for new and old readers of the sagas, and of course for the Tolkien fans out there!
It is a neglected tradition, as evidenced by the paucity of translations in print. We commonly talk of the Classical (Greek and Roman) and Judeo-Christian roots of our culture, but greatly underestimate the Norse and Celtic influences. The Volsung saga and the Niebelungenlied are among the best known and influential of the medieval epics and if you enjoy one you will probably enjoy the other. You might start with the Volsungs because theirs is the shorter and more coherent story, even though the more mythical and fantastic.
Byock's translation is very readable, reflecting the sparse, unadorned style of the original. His introduction is excellent, especially the notes on Wagner, in which he traces the influence of this work in the Ring.
The Saga of Ragnar Lodbrok and The Lay of the Raven follow the Volsung saga in the original manuscripts and form a continuous narrative. So why, as the Volsung saga is quite short, are they not published together in one volume? I felt rather short changed. Even so, I heartily recommend this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As already mentioned, this was part of a four book gift, and I am getting hooked myself on these legends.Published 17 months ago by Yr Ddraig Goch
This may not be in every ones list of good reads but I found it splendid work for the cold winter nights and suggest it is worth a try.Published on 24 Mar. 2013 by greyman
after i've read the saga of king Kraki i decided to stumble upon this epic story and neddless to say i found too many intesections and crossovers between the two stories . Read morePublished on 28 Dec. 2010 by Omar Farid
If your not familier with 13thC Icelandic texts. This translation of the Saga of the Volsungs is easy to follow and gives the reader valuable insight into the world of the Norse... Read morePublished on 21 Feb. 2010 by Brian Ward
It's been many years since I read the Icelandic sagas, and this has reawakened my interest with a vengeance! Read morePublished on 2 Sept. 2009 by Adrian J. White
This saga has become essential in our culture thanks to Wagner who made it one of his primary sources for his Ring quadrilogy. Read morePublished on 5 April 2009 by Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
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