The Poetic Edda
Translated by Lee M Hollander
Paperback (6” X 9”), 343 Pages, Mythology/Literature, Second Edition; Revised
Factory Shrink Wrapped
University of Texas Press 1986 (Originally Published in 1962)
“The Poetic Edda comprises a treasure trove of mythic and spiritual verse holding an important place in Nordic culture, literature and heritage. Its tales of strife and death form a repository, in poetic form, of Norse mythology and heroic lore, embodying both the ethical views and the cultural life of the North during the late heathen and early Christian times.
Collected by an unidentified Icelander, probably during the twelfth or thirteenth century, The Poetic Edda was rediscovered in Iceland in the Seventeenth century by Danish scholars. Even then its value as poetry, as a source of historical information, and as a collection of entertaining stories was recognized. This meticulous translation succeeds in reproducing the verse patterns, the rhythm, the mood and the dignity of the original in a revision that ‘Scandinavian Studies’ says “may well grace anyone’s bookshelf.”
Lee M Hollander was Professor Emeritus of Germanic Languages at the University of Texas at Austin and an authority in Nordic language and literature”
While Hollander’s translation may feel Bloated and Pedantic to the uninitiated, mainly due to his usage or archaic words, his goal was maintaining the original alliteration and metre. It is slow going if you are unfamiliar with the Lexicon, but pays off well in the end. Of the 4 extant English translations, this remains to be a Favourite. Each of the translator’s focused on a different aspect of the work.
As to the Edda itself – it is mainly comprised of individual Tales and Lessons. There are 34 Poems and Prose pieces in the Poetic, or Elder Edda. One of the most well known being the Hávamal, is composed of verses espousing Advice on Salubrious and Honourable living. The Elder Edda also contains the Voluspa; which is the Prophecy of a Wisewoman. This is a Central work to any Odinist or Asatruar.