The Prose Edda: Norse Mythology: Norse Mythology

Front Cover, Jan 1, 2004 - Fiction
1 Review
"The Prose Edda", or "Younger Edda", is a classic collection of Norse myths of the Icelandic people. Widely considered as compiled by Icelandic scholar and historian Snorri Sturluson around the year 1220, "The Prose Edda" contains a euhemerized Prologue followed by three tales: the 'Gylfaginning', the story of the creation and destruction of the world of the Norse gods; the 'Skáldskaparmál', consists of a dialogue between Ćgir, a god associated with the sea, and Bragi, a skaldic god; and the 'Háttatal', a collection of Old Norse poetry including original compositions by Snorri Sturluson. This classic collection of Old Norse myths is one of the most important of the Icelandic eddas and a must read for fans and scholars of Norse mythology.

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About the author (2004)

Snorri Sturluson's fame as a historian---his main work is the 16 sagas included in Heimskringla (c.1230), a monumental history of Norway from its beginning until 1177---lies both in his critical approach to sources and in his fine, realistic exposition of event and motivation. A similar combination of scholarly and imaginative talent is seen in The Prose Edda (c.1220). Intended to be a handbook in skaldic poetry, it preserves invaluable mythological tales that were on the verge of being forgotten even in Sturluson's time. A large part of what we know about Nordic mythology stems from his Edda. The bibliography that follows also lists the anonymous Egil's Saga (1200--30), which many expert Scandinavian medievalists (e.g., Sigurdur Nordal and Bjorn M. Olsen) attribute to Sturluson. It is a fascinating account of life in Norway, England, and Iceland and of the poet-warrior Egil, whose skaldic verse is renowned for its unusual emotional and personal qualities. Snorri Sturluson's own life was as eventful as those about whom he wrote. Returning to Iceland from exile in 1239, he again became deeply involved in serious power struggles and was murdered in 1241.

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