Young were the years when Ymir made his settlement, there was no sand nor sea nor cool waves; earth was nowhere nor the sky above, chaos yawned, grass was there nowhere. The sun turns black, earth sinks into the sea, the bright stars vanish from the sky; steam rises up in the conflagration, a high flame plays against heaven itself. Seeress''s Prophecy 3, 57 The collection of Norse-Icelandic mythological and heroic poetry known as the Poetic Edda contains the great narratives of the creation of the world and the coming of Ragnarok, the Doom of the Gods
The mythological poems explore the wisdom of the gods and giants, narrating the adventures of the god Thor against the hostile giants and the gods'' rivalries amongst themselves. The heroic poems trace the exploits of the hero Helgi and his valkyrie bride, the tragic tale of Sigurd and Brynhild''s doomed love, and the terrible drama of Sigurd''s widow Gudrun and her children. Many of the poems predate the conversion of Scandinavia to Christianity, allowing us to glimpse the pagan beliefs of the North. Since the rediscovery of the Poetic Edda in the seventeenth century, its poetry has fascinated artists as diverse as Thomas Gray, Richard Wagner, and Jorge Luis Borges. This is the first complete translation to be published in Britain for fifty years, and it includes a scholarly introduction, notes, a genealogy of the gods and giants, and an index of names.
Handy book with nice format and readable translation. However there's virtually no context here as far as a meaningful introduction to the individual works or the work as a whole. The individual introductions are cursory at best, written in a dismissive "Oxford" tone which assumes the reader is familiar with the works and their context. Imagine mixing up the books of the Bible, and removing most of the study annotations now included in most versions. Reading the Prose Edda first was EXTREMELY helpful, as Sn..
The "Elder" or "Poetic" Edda is the modern name for a set of Old Norse mythological (mainly about gods) and heroic (mainly about humans) poems, found in a limited number of Icelandic manuscripts, the most important of which is damaged, and missing pages, and does not agree with other copies, and quotations in other medieval texts. The exact list of poems included varies slightly, with editors and translators having a little leeway. The "World's Classics" series from Oxford University Press finally included ..