The Poetic Edda is one of the main sources for Norse mythology, a book of poems culled primarily from the Codex Regius. It was a good thing that I’d read Snorri’s Edda first, as well as other, more expansive works – for me, The Poetic Edda was more about supplementing and contextualizing existing knowledge – or it would have been pretty hard to get a grip on. Like Snorri’s work, The Poetic Edda is important to anyone who wants to go a few steps beyond storytelling and interpretation to original source material. Though I was satisfied with the translation, as I’m sure is clear I found it to be a bit of a slog; I’m less interested in heroes and sagas (which fill much of The Poetic Edda) than I am in the histories and stories of the Norse gods – their meanings, and symbolic value. Given that, and the fact that my goal is to reach a level of expertise that allows me to think about and comment on what I’m reading, rather than indulge in true scholarship, parts of The Poetic Edda were only of marginal interest to me. All that said, I’m glad I read it – no survey of Norse mythology would be complete if The Poetic Edda was left on the table.
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Man, this book was long (for me) but ultimately very good, though it took me about a hundred pages to get into it. I appreciated the way all of the little bits came together, with the promise of more interesting stuff in the future books...