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Thread: The Poetic Edda in Translation

  1. #1

    The Poetic Edda in Translation

    Would anyone be able to recommend a translation of the Poetic Edda? I see a lot of people pulling for this Bellows translation, but sometimes I think tradition influences people a bit too much. Call me horrible names, but I think that for me an exact translation is not the most important thing--I want something that sparks my imagination.

  2. #2
    Lokasenna on here is your man for that.

  3. #3
    Card-carrying Medievalist Lokasenna's Avatar
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    There are quite a few translations doing the rounds, and there is no such thing as a perfect translation. I think the best of those commercially available is Andy Orchard's recent volume for Penguin Classics, which is published under the rather hideous title of The Elder Edda: A Book of Viking Lore. Though there are issues with Andy's translation, it is nevertheless the best out there, and I think he captures perfectly the feel of the poetry - which is perhaps this edition's greatest strength.

    Carolyne Larrington's translation is the standard academic text for undergrads, though it is rather dry and there are just a few too many mistakes. Lee Hollander's translation was popular in the 80s and 90s, but is written in such impenetrable archaic English that it almost needs a translator itself - though that might appeal, even if it does give the false impression that the Edda is written in that style of language. Finally, if you are fantastically rich or have access to a university library, you might like Ursula Dronke's multi-volume work - it doesn't cover all the poems, but the one's she focuses on are very well translated and she goes into great detail explaining her decisions.
    "I should only believe in a God that would know how to dance. And when I saw my devil, I found him serious, thorough, profound, solemn: he was the spirit of gravity- through him all things fall. Not by wrath, but by laughter, do we slay. Come, let us slay the spirit of gravity!" - Nietzsche

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lokasenna View Post
    Indeed I am!
    Snob!

  5. #5
    It's not snobbish if it true!

    I picked my Edda just the other day realising I've not read it yet as well. I'll have to stick it to the pile though I am reading a lot at the moment. (Drinking less (no) beer = reading more books!!)

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    Artist and Bibliophile stlukesguild's Avatar
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    But it's snobbish to admit it's true.
    Beware of the man with just one book. -Ovid
    The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.- Mark Twain
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  7. #7
    Ha, ha, not snobbish, more like quietly confident.

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    Or loudly arrogant.

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