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Reading the Norse Sagas and Eddas.

Discussion in 'European Mythology' started by Saint Frankenstein, Dec 19, 2015.

  1. Saint Frankenstein

    Saint Frankenstein Deus Lux Mea Est
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    So I want to start reading the Norse Sagas and Eddas. I have a number of them already and want to become at least generally familiar with them. So...where should I start? What do you guys recommend?
     
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  2. YmirGF

    YmirGF Bodhisattva

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  3. Saint Frankenstein

    Saint Frankenstein Deus Lux Mea Est
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    Yup. Have all those. (I even read the Nibelungenlied for a class during summer school, I think it was. I remember saying how everyone was just back-stabbing each other and it was all very pathetic and depressing. Lol.)

    Just wondering where a somewhat newbie should start to get acquainted with it.
     
  4. YmirGF

    YmirGF Bodhisattva

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    Dunno, really. You could try our fellow RFer @gnostic website

    http://www.timelessmyths.com/

    He has been running it as long as I have known him, which is a pretty long time.
    He does need a far bigger section on Ymir though. Jus' sayin'...
     
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  5. gnostic

    gnostic The Lost One

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    Hi frankie & ymirgf

    I got notification that ymirgf "mentioned" me here.

    This page listed some of the books that I have collected to do my research. It is my Norse and Germanic sources or bibliography page:

    http://www.timelessmyths.com/norse/lib-norse.html

    I would recommend reading the two Edda and Nibelungenlied, which you already have.

    But I would also recommend the following:
    • The Saga of Volsungs, which is Icelandic version to the Nibelungenlid. The main theme is Sigurd and the Niflung family (German Nibelungs), but also contain story of Sigurd's father and half-brothers.
    • The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki, which you could compare it to the Anglo-Saxon epic of Beowulf. The Icelandic version to Beowulf is Bodvar.
    • Beowulf, which may be an Old English poem, but it has Norse theme, the Danish royal house the Scyldings.
    • Seven Vikings Romances, which contained 7 sagas, which the first two were the most interesting:
      • Arrow-Odd.
      • King Gautreks (this one is interesting because it include the story of Vikar and Starkad.)
    These 4 books that I had listed in my bibliography page are the ones on my bookshelf, and are more likely still in print.

    For additional readings, I would also recommend the following:
    • Gesta Danorum, written by the Danish Saxo Grammaticus. I don't have a copy of this, but did read it on-line @ OMACL (Online Medieval and Classical Library). It contained many of the legends that I have listed, from the books that I had listed above.
    • Heimskringla or The Lives of the Norse Kings, written by Snorri. I have this large book, but only the section Ynglinga Saga was of interest to me, because of mythological and legendary themes. The Ynglings are supposed to Swedish royal house, descendents of the Norse god Freyr.
    • The Saga of Thidrek of Bern is a large Norwegian epic, centre around the adventures of Thidrek (known as Dietrich in Germanic legend, and Thiodrek in the Icelandic Edda) and his companions. It also include elements of the Sigurd-Niflungs legend. But the only English translation that I could find, was by Edward Haymes, which is it out-of-print. Fortunately for me, it is available in State Library of Victoria, Melbourne; so unless you come to Australia I don't know where else it is available. I couldn't electronic copy on the Internet, and as to date, not available at Amazon. It may be available in German translation, but I can't read German.
    Just look at http://www.timelessmyths.com/norse/lib-norse.html for details of each book. Some of the books that I HAVEN'T listed, are only available in old out-of-print copies from websites, like OMACL (http://omacl.org) and Northvegr (http://www.northvegr.org). They are free because these translations are public domain.

    I hope that I've help, Saint Frankenstein.
     
    #5 gnostic, Dec 19, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2015
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  6. Saint Frankenstein

    Saint Frankenstein Deus Lux Mea Est
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    Thanks, @gnostic. That really helps. I hadn't heard of some of those. :)
     
  7. gnostic

    gnostic The Lost One

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    You're welcome.

    Because I am interested in myth, legend and folklore, most of my literature, my main focus were on Norse gods and the heroic sagas. I spend less time on the family sagas (Njal's Saga, Grettir's Saga, Eyrbyggja Saga, Saga of Eric the Red).
     
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  8. DavidMcCann

    DavidMcCann Well-Known Member

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    Kevin Crossley-Holland, the poet and author of children's books, did a very readable retelling of the myths, from creation to ragnarok, in The Norse Myths (Penguin, 1982). He'd also had a brief academic career, teaching Anglo-Saxon, so he had plenty of contacts to check the facts and translations with.
     
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  9. SkepticThinker

    SkepticThinker Well-Known Member

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    This is what I would recommend, to start with.
     
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  10. vaguelyhumanoid

    vaguelyhumanoid Active Member

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    I was reading the Jeramy Dodds translation of the Poetic Edda; I like the writing style a lot but I've heard it's not all that accurate. There's also some transphobic language in his version of the Þrymskviða. I don't own a copy tho (planning on getting maybe the Bellows translation). I haven't read the Sagas but I intend to - the prose style seems pretty daunting bu the content interests me a lot.
     
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