Read The Poetic Edda: The Mythological Poems by Anonymous Henry Adams Bellows Online


The vibrant Old Norse poems in this 13th-century collection recapture the ancient oral traditions of the Norsemen. These mythological poems include the Voluspo, one of the broadest literary conceptions of the world's creation and ultimate destruction; the Lokasenna, a comedy bursting with vivid characterizations; and more....

Title : The Poetic Edda: The Mythological Poems
Author :
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ISBN : 9780486437101
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 288 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Poetic Edda: The Mythological Poems Reviews

  • Liz
    2019-03-24 13:58

    It feels undoubtedly strange to review this book. In a manner of speaking, like e.g. rating the Bible; the book had (and still has) such an enormous impact on the Western history and culture that rating it feels utterly wrong. It is somewhat similar with the Edda. Its influence in literature cannot be put into proper words. However, the Edda is not a smooth read. In the translation of Bellows one can more often than not encounter archaic words or sentence structures that are unusual not only in English but generally since epic poetry has a unique style one finds nowhere else. Firstly, one has to get used to it. Secondly, it is necessary to pay attention to the footnotes and process what is said due to the complicated language. Thirdly, it takes time. A lot of it actually, despite the fact that this book is comparatively short. I still loved it though. From the very first page and until the very last. And after my class where we compared several translations I also feel obliged to note that Bellows translation is among the best in its precision and beauty of language. Several recent translations lack the same charm and attention when it comes to minor details of the poems, so a recommendation - if you want a beautiful and more precise translation of the Poetic Edda read Bellows. It starts off with the prophecy of the Vǫluspá who talks about the creation of the world, the world-ash Yggdrasil, the fate of the Gods, Ragnarök and the creation of a new, better world. The Vǫluspá was also one of my personal favourites. Plenty of myths, names, descriptions of the nine worlds that the ash Yggdrasil harbours and in the end a rather epic battle with all kinds of gods and monsters. Right after it comes another favourite of mine - Hávamál. A collection of proverbs and wise counsels from Odin. Advices how to live properly, how to aquire wisdom and how e.g. not to act around those who are superior. Actually, this one genuinely provides a lot of useful advices, even for present day people, perhaps because fundamental truths about codes of behaviour never change regardless whether you live in the 12th century or the 21st. It is simultaneously one of the most puzzling poems of the Poetic Edda and exists in no other manuscript but the infamous Codex Regius. Okay, sorry, this is a lot of random trivia. Fact is - it is beautiful, useful, and interesting both from the cultural, mythological and literary points of view. I will not dive into detail about every poem this translation contains but instead mention one more. The Lokasenna. Basically an exchange of insults between Loki and the other gods and goddesses whose attemps to talk back are rather ineffective. It's hilarious, simply hilarious, okay? Loki has something to say about everyone and what he says is far from flattering, a lot of funny and embarrassing stories of the gods come up and they, of course, get royally pissed off about it. Of course the Poetic Edda is also interesting to look at from the POV of - how much did Christianity actually influence the poems and myths of the Norse people? What motifs are reoccurring and why? Where can parallels be found and so on and so forth. The Edda is in every sense a piece of literature worth reading, especially for those who adore Tolkien's works and Epic Fantasy since there are plenty of motifs and occurances taken from the old Norse myths. Highly recommended.

  • Tozette
    2019-03-20 09:40

    Let me disclaim: I have not read this cover-to-cover, because frankly the long poems which are basically lists of names are pretty boring. But there are some seriously choice stories in here, if you're willing to flip through all of it to find the awesomest ones. Aweseomest is now a word, don't argue with me. The Lokasenna is definitely my favourite -- basically it's a story about Loki, who attends a feast with the gods and gets thrown out for killing a servant. He comes back to tell them all that he thinks very lowly of them, in much graphic detail. He's in the middle of telling Sif that she's a hussy 'cause she slept with him, when her husband arrives and he finally decides he shouldn't be badmouthing Thor's girl.And while it's supposed to be a result of (and punishment for) his arranging the death of Baldr, I like the idea that when the gods chain him up in a cave with his son's intestines, it's actually because of his smack talking. Them's fightin' words and all that.So, yes! I have given this four stars not because it is four stars over all, but because if you trawl through and find the really entertaining stories, they're awesome. Go forth and read!

  • Mimesis
    2019-04-05 09:41

    Before reading Bellows' translation of The Poetic Edda: The Mythological Poems, most of my (poor) knowlegde of Norse mythology originated, more or less, from sources like Wikipedia.Prose Edda or maybe even a moderen day retelling of Norse myths might had been a better choice as an introduction to the topic (recomented by both people and common sense), but screw it, I wanted to read the original poems before I changed my mind. Totally worth it. Sure, it was hard to get into and I often had to put it down, but while reading it I found myself, despite the fact that some poems have been preserved only in very poor shape and that the others are not missing on their share of interpolations and gaps, honestly enjoying it. Everything - Odin (Othin in this translation) pretending to be someone else most of the time, Thor calling other gods "unmanly" (Loki) and "womanish" (his father Odin in disguise), somehow self-contradicting world view of the Vikings, everpresent vision of the end, ..., and hey, even lists of names and events were not that horrible.Although Norse mythology is not as easily accessible as Greek and the myths are not always preserved enough to be comprehensive, it definitely deserves a chance from any mythology-lover.

  • Kate Krake
    2019-03-29 08:59

    It's weird to give a star rating to this. In mythological and cultural terms it's like rating The Bible. But hey, despite whatever my personal experiences and thoughts with Christianity, I'd give that 5 stars too.So yes, 5 stars for cultural relevance, posterity and overall influence. A must read for any fan of JRR Tolkien, and indeed any high fantasy.Don't expect to sit back and relax your way through these poems though - most of them don't make a lick of sense to our modern reading practices without some careful picking through. Worth it though.

  • Kathy
    2019-04-18 12:04

    How do you rate a collection of stories that were sung or told by word of mouth in the 7th-12th century? This text is has influenced cultures, tradition, musicians, writers and Pagans. The text also displays a clash between Paganism and Christianity which is also very interesting to note. As a Pagan and a person who loves medieval literature I enjoyed reading this text. You can also see the influence it had on Snorri Sturluson. If you know your Celtic mythology or texts or Arthurian Literature you can also see how it was influenced by the Poetic Edda. Word of caution: If you're just reading this because you don't know anything about Norse mythology than perhaps you should find a different text because this is not an easy read. Half of every page is a footnote if you can even call it. It's more like a block or chunk of a note. READ THE INTRODUCTION!! I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH. If you don't, you're going to be in a world of pain and you'll question your sanity and why you're torturing yourself. The introduction discusses spelling, pronunciation, spacing, what the edda is and what locations these stories come from as well as the time period. Below is a summary of each story for those of you who either don't like to read or aren't sure if you would like to read this: Voluspo Odin is disguised as a traveler and meets a Volva or a witch/wise woman/oracle who is a giant and tells him that the end is near. Typical apocalypse story. Basically it's Ragnarok with a creation story in the beginning and then destruction and chaos. Hovamol Part Odin's failure to romance a giant's daughter which makes him turn bitter and claim that all women are evil and the same. Part adventure on how he was able to steal mead and how he sacrificed his eye in order to gain knowledge of the runes. Vafthruthnismol Where Odin decides that no one other than himself is allowed to be wiser so he challenges a giant and destroys him all because Frigga told Odin about him. He also pretends to be a human so that the giant thinks he can easy destroy his opponent. This is also another creation story with a battle of wits. Grimnismol Odin and Frigga have decided they have nothing better to do than look into Midgard and decide to challenge each other on who has more influence. SkirnismolFreyr is infatuated with a fire giant's daughter and gets depressed so his servant decides to capture her for him. Skirnir asks for Freyr's sword and his stealth so he can pretend to be a giant. This ends up killing Freyr later when Ragnarok comes. Skirnir threatens to decapitate her with Freyr's special sword if she doesn't come with him and so she has no choice but to do so. Hmmm... This seems vaguely familiar. Where have I seen this before? A stubborn, young man willing to please his elder on a mission? Oh, I know. It's Gawain. Yep. This has Gawain all over it. Or to be more precise,this story influenced Gawain and the Green Knight. Harbarthsljoth Thor is on a journey and gets pissed off by the ferryman and decides to kick his ass. The only thing Thor doesn't know is that the ferryman is his father disguised as a human. Odin is a troll and they say Loki is the trickster. Hymiskvitha Thor goes fishing. I'm not kidding. This is basically it. Lokasenna Where Loki calls out everyone on their shit and they all get mad at him for saying the truth and may I add it's absolutely hilarious. Thryskvitha Thor's hammer is stolen by a dwarf who won't return it until he is given the sun, the moon and Freya. Loki helps Thor get his hammer back by making him dress like a woman to make the dwarf think it's Freya. Alvissmol Another horny dwarf who wants a goddess this time it's Sif and Thor's daughter and Thor is having nothing of it. Like his father he challenges him to battle of wits and the dwarf agrees. They talk until daylight and the dwarf dies.Baldrs Draumar Baldr has dreams of his death. Poor baby! Odin probably pestered by Frigga decides to go to Hel in a disguise to talk to the dead giant lady who was an oracle. Once again Ragnarok is discussed. Rigsthula Establishment of classes. HyndluljothFreya argues with a giantess about how fantastic her lover is at being a warrior and being descendant from the right people. SvipdagsmolSearch for the maiden in the circle of fire. Find the girl. Marry said girl and she will say yes. Some love story. Hmmph.

  • Liss Capello
    2019-04-08 08:49

    It's a mixed bag. This volume is a collection of (primarily Icelandic, although there are arguments about this) Scandinavian poetry, dating from probably about 900 to as late as 1400. Like most works that arise in an oral tradition, there is a lot of argument about when each piece is actually dated from, and of course the date at which it was composed may not correspond well with the date at which it was written down. Additionally, many of the poems have likely been modified many times over the intervening years, and there are lots of footnotes which try to make sense of these possibilities, and also give context and meaning to the many names and mythological references herein. Constantly referring to footnotes makes reading this less pleasurable than it could be, but it's also true that for the most part, the poetry is not complex, and the particular style of the verses tends to repeat lines over and over and over again in a way that is not my favorite (but is excellent for memorizing poems). My favorite pieces were the Hovamol, a collection of proverbs which seem surprisingly applicable for being 1000+ years old, and the Lokasenna, which features a spry smack-talk argument between Loki and the rest of the Aesir. I want to translate/abbreviate it into modern English in the worst way.

  • Christie
    2019-04-14 08:58

    If you're really interested in Norse mythology, this is a must-read. However, if you want an easy-to-understand version or are not already familiar with the stories, it might be best to find another book. There are so many footnotes that it can be easy to forget what the footnotes were referring to. I had to reread the whole book before I felt like I remembered anything from it.

  • Ziemianin
    2019-04-03 14:53

    It's a tough one to get through. If you're not into the whole, "Let's compare and contrast different interpretations of the Eddas." They maybe jump into a more modern version. But if you're into it? Bellows is super informative. The footnotes are key for comprehension.enjoy!

  • Monica
    2019-04-06 14:00

    My 1968 fifth printing, American-Scandinavian Foundation hardcover edition, (original copyright 1923), is stuffed with tiny papers bookmarking several poems with esoteric notes drawn in green fountain ink. For example: "Voluspo" volva from grave hearing val father -'f of slain...Bestla Bur son's made midgard ...Ithavoll-meeting place of gods... jotunheim-giantland, ymir-blood, dwarves from Brimir & Blain's legs, urth-past, verthandi-present, gullveig-goldmight, wanes-Vamir- seafaring folk of Balthartsiyth share North sea water deities, Thur kills builder, Heimdall born under Yggdrasil-stream, Gjallarhorn summer (indeciferable) gods to battle,'choosers of slain' wishmaidens, Slith-fearful river, Nilavellir-dwarves home, Nastrond-land of dead (Hel's) Nithhogg-dragon beneath Yggdrasil, Skol and Hati wolves who steal sun and moon, Eggther giants watchmen, Surt rules fire world Muspellsheim, Naglfar-ship dead nails, Guipahellir-entrance to world of dead, Hrym-giant steering Naglfar, Brother of Byliest-Loki, Vinheun-heaven...Then for another poem:"Hymiskvitha" - shaking sacrificial blood on twigs...aegir - god of sea...Horrithi - thor...Midgard serpent things ...All intriguing stuff. That's the way things were back in the early 70's.. To think I ever followed this stuff is questionable. Even with my attempt at a glossary I could use an idiots guide to the Poetic Edda. The Learning Channel might help out, too.

  • J.souza
    2019-03-24 10:48

    I've been meaning to read this one for a very long time. I mean, it influenced on it's own Tolkien and all the other fantasy writers that came after him.Here you'll find a lot of great tales from the old Nordics. Tales about Thor, Loki, Othin and all the lesser-known gods. Right at the beginning I could see a lot of Tolkien in it, including the names of dwarves and even Gandalf's, they all came from here, and so it did his poetry style in some way and his choice for weird names (sometimes 5 names refereeing to the same character, which makes things even more complicated).The thing is, all the "Poetic Edda" that's left are fragments that were translated through all these years. So, on the side-notes you'll see a lot of "this two lines are pretty much guesswork", or "this poem was probably written in Christian times". So there's little credibility- if that's the right word- for most of it. But hey, it's all we have, right?And then, there's a lot of reference for Snorri's texts, with more details that the poems only circles, that made me ponder if there's another text?Well, some poems are easier to understand and more interesting to read, other's you REALLY need to read the side-notes to understand some of it. If you are a DIE HARD fantasy, mythology fan, you should check it out.

  • Matthew Dambro
    2019-04-12 11:47

    This is the collection of oral traditions written between the 9th and 12th Centuries. As such it is the Norse equivalent of the Old Testament and Homer's Iliad. Bellows translation and notes are priceless. It is old, translated in the early 20th Century, but it is encyclopedic. It is a window on a culture that was exactly opposite ours in so many basic ways. It is a must read for anyone interested in Tolkien or any other fantasy epics ie. Potter, Star Wars,etc.

  • Johanna
    2019-04-18 09:51

    Loved this collection of poetic writing. Recommended to anyone who is interested of the norse mythology and ancient poetry. Most of the poems are supposed to have been composed in their current form between 10th and 11th centuries.My favourites of this collection:- Baldrs Draumar- Rigsthula- Vafthruthnir- Hovamol- Voluspo

  • Everett Darling
    2019-03-22 10:10

    Great Footnotes, Henry Adams Bellows presents various opinions and many notes on his editations, as well as relevant history and who´s who explanations that are so necessary for any read into the Eddas.

  • Caleb Aarsand
    2019-03-23 11:10

    Being able to read the literary work of my ancestors is just a feeling I can't describe. One part adventure novel told in parts, one part psalms for your daily life- this book absolutely makes my list of books any person interested in mythology or self help should read.

  • Amber Nicole
    2019-03-27 15:08

    First read: I enjoy Norse mythology more than I thought I would. The characters are unique and the stories are entertaining. The notes in this version helped tremendously - Norse gods go by countless names, apparently. I wish there were more of these stories. Will definitely read again.

  • Matthew Dalzell
    2019-04-01 15:44

    Excellent translation, lucid, entertaining, close to the original texts as possible. Highly recommended for the student, instructor, writer, and reader.

  • Hengest
    2019-04-05 12:57

    I really like the Bellows translation of the Poetic Edda. This volume contains the mythological poems whilst a second volume contains the heroic poems.

  • Tedd
    2019-04-13 12:01

    GAVE IT 4 STARS****

  • Chad
    2019-03-25 10:06

    This good is considered the basis for Norse mythology. People of the reconstructionist religion use a variety of translations of The Poetic Edda for their guides and inspiration.

  • Dave
    2019-04-09 13:54

    For the most part, very interesting stuff (barring the long genealogies, lists of gnomes, and so forth). Very helpful annotations as well, what with all the kennings.

  • Hengest
    2019-04-03 14:51

    I really like the Bellows translation of the Poetic Edda. This volume contains the mythological poems whilst a second volume contains the heroic poems.

  • Bella
    2019-04-05 09:04

    I loved it, of course.

  • Kristina
    2019-03-23 12:54

    This isn't for anyone casually interested in Norse myths but is a serious study of the poems written down from oral traditions.

  • Matt
    2019-04-08 14:45

    An amazing translation! The notes on the stanzas sheds a lot of light, and gives them a deeper meaning. It's also extremely poetic and flows nicely, which is hard for any piece of translated poetry.

  • Joey Woolfardis
    2019-04-10 14:43

    Yes, paperback.