Monday, 4 July 2011

Becky Bookworm Book Review: The Penguin Book of Norse Myths

The Penguin Book of Norse MythsThe Penguin Book of Norse Myths by Kevin Crossley-Holland

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


When I first recieved this book I thought it would be like one similarly titled that I'd read before but I was greatly suprised to learn I was wrong. The other book had the more classic and popular myths whereas this book contained prose translations of all the norse myths/legends/sagas taken from Snorri Sturllsons Poetic Edda series. Which of course does contain some of the classics but there were many out of the 35 that I haven't heard let alone read before. And each new myth not only helped me imagine the norse pantheon and norse view of the world to an even better extent than before but it also revealed a few insights into the Gods themselves, their lives and history, their relationships with each other and most notably with their enemies, Giants.
The lengthly introduction at the start of the book does cover a lot of areas albeit in paragraph sized chunks but it does help to read it first, particularly if this is your first delve into norse mythology.
The myths are all entertaining to read although some of the Lay's (where it doesn't feature a God as the main character but somehow involves them such as the Lay of Grimnir) are also interesting as they are examples of how the Norse gods interact with particular mortals, most notably Kings and Princes.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in this area as it shows what great imaginations and strong, vivid, powerful beliefs the Vikings as a race had to explain how their world works.
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1 comment:

  1. I have to say this book is invaluable - excellent narrative and good academic text too!

    ReplyDelete

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