- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reissue edition (7 Nov. 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0141393726
- ISBN-13: 978-0141393728
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.5 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 40,686 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Elder Edda (Legends from the Ancient North) Paperback – 7 Nov 2013
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About the Author
Andrew Orchard (translator) is Professor of English and Medieval Studies in the University of Toronto, and since 2007 Provost and Vice-Chancellor of Trinity College. He is the author of The Poetic Art of Aldhelm (1994), Pride and Prodigies: Studies in the Monsters of the Beowulf -Manuscript (2nd edition 2003), The Cassell Dictionary of Norse Myth and Legend (3rd edition 2002), and A Critical Companion to Beowulf (2nd edition 2005), as well as editor and co-editor of several collections, scholarly journals and academic series."
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Top Customer Reviews
The Edda is divided roughly into two sections; the first deals largely with the gods, the Aesir, and their adventures, while the second is primarily concerned with human heroes, largely the long and tragic sequence surrounding Sigurd and Fafnir's gold.
This translation is a really good one, seeming to retain the rythyms and language of the original verses while rendering them into easily comprehensible English. The translator has made notes on any meaning that may still remain obscure, as well as background material that informs the tales. The good thing about the Kindle edition is that that all these notes are hyperlinked, allowing the reader to zip back and forth at will, or simply skim past them if simply reading the poetry.
The poetry itself is anything but flowery, bearing obvious relation to other heroic epics such as Beowulf. The wording is earthy and often violent, as befitting the culture it came from, and the various verses contain some of the finest stories in mythology, as well as interesting lists intended to teach about names and customs. Their origins as spoken tales told to an audience is evident, too, with distinct pacing and often repeated 'choruses' to emphasize certain passages.
All in all, an essential purchase for those of us who love the tales of Thor, Odin and Loki, as well as a fascinating look at a lost world so different from our own. I heartily recommend the younger, or prose, edda as a companion, as well.
Andy’s translation seeks to be fluid but faithful, seeking also to preserve the stylistic differences between the various sections. This does mean that some of the poems read more fluently than others, depending on the style and form chosen by the original author. He also discusses the probable route by which the collection has reached us, via a Christian cleric who preserved it out of respect for his people’s lore. The myth and religion of the Norse world is carefully presented to us, but with the clear message that its day has long gone, and that even at its most noble it was heading unerringly towards its own destruction.
Norse poets, like their Anglo-Saxon contemporaries, took great delight in punning or riddling descriptions and names: Andy has recognised that no single tactic will solve this. Instead he has chosen several routes ranging from leaving names untranslated in some cases, using marginal notes of explanation in others, and converting into an English pun in others. He has also been flexible with issues of form, keeping remnants of the original alliterative style in many places without feeling constrained to maintain it everywhere.Read more ›
My recommendation is to read the background text that explains the narrative first, then read the translation - the reader will get a better appreciation of the lyrical rhythm of the translation.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A good translation although sometimes the modernised wording fits uneasily with the flow of the poetry. Overall a worthwhile experience. The notes were very usefulPublished 4 months ago by Malvolio O
Husband is very pleased with this book which I bought for his birthday.Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
To learn of the Norsemen and they Gods, this is an excellent book, I highly recommend itPublished 19 months ago by The Ravenheart
This is a wonderful book about the mythology of the pre-Christian gods of Europe and Scandinavia.Published on 28 Oct. 2014 by Mr A.F. RobinsonD
Bought, together with three other titles as a gift for my son, but, as with all books, I have to did in for myself, and what riveting tales they tell.Published on 13 Sept. 2014 by Yr Ddraig Goch
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