Prose Edda


Prose Edda

Infobox Book
name = Prose Edda
translator =


image_caption = This colourful front page of the "Prose Edda" in an 18th century Icelandic manuscript shows Odin, Heimdallr, Sleipnir and other figures from Norse mythology.
author = Snorri Sturluson
country = Iceland
language = Old Norse
genre = Poetry
publisher = Various
release_date = Around 1220
isbn = n/a
The "Prose Edda", also known as the "Younger Edda", "Snorri's Edda" ( _is. Snorra Edda) or simply "Edda", is an Old Norse language Icelandic collection of four sections interspersed with excerpts from earlier skaldic and Eddic poetry containing tales from Norse mythology. The work is often assumed to be written by the Icelandic scholar and historian Snorri Sturluson around the year 1220.

The "Prose Edda" begins with a euhemerized Prologue followed by three distinct books: "Gylfaginning" (consisting of around 20,000 words), "Skáldskaparmál" (around 50,000 words) and "Háttatal" (around 20,000 words). Seven manuscripts, dating from around 1300 to around 1600, have independent textual value. The purpose of the collection was to enable Icelandic poets and readers to understand the subtleties of alliterative verse, and to grasp the meaning behind the many kennings that were used in skaldic poetry.

The "Prose Edda" was originally referred to as simply the "Edda", but was later called the "Prose Edda" to distinguish it from the "Poetic Edda", a collection of anonymous poetry from earlier traditional sources compiled around the same time as the "Prose Edda" in 13th century Iceland.Faulkes (1995:XI).] The "Prose Edda" is related to the "Poetic Edda" in that the "Prose Edda" cites various poems collected in the "Poetic Edda" as sources.Byock (2006:IX).]

Authorship

The assumption that Snorri Sturluson is responsible for writing the Prose Edda is largely based on the following paragraph from a portion of "Codex Upsaliensis", an early 14th century manuscript containing the "Prose Edda":

This book is called "Edda". Snorri Sturluson compiled it in the way that it is arranged here. First it tells about the Æsir and Ymir, then comes the poetic diction section with the poetic names of many things and lastly a poem called the "List of Meters" which Snorri composed about King Hakon and Duke Skuli.Grape, Kallstenius, Thorell (1977:I).]
It has been noted that this attribution, along with other primary manuscripts, are not clear whether or not Snorri is more than the compiler of the work and the author of "Háttatal" or if he is the author of the entire "Prose Edda".Byock (2006:XII).] Whatever the case, the mention of Snorri in the manuscripts has been influential in the acceptance of Snorri as the author of the "Prose Edda".

Contents

"Gylfaginning"

"Gylfaginning" (Old Norse "the tricking of Gylfi"Faulkes (1995:7).] ) follows the Prologue in the Prose Edda. "Gylfaginning" deals with the creation and destruction of the world of the Norse gods, and many other aspects of Norse mythology. The section is written in prose interspersed with quotes from skaldic poetry, including material collected in the Poetic Edda.

"Skáldskaparmál"

"Skáldskaparmál" (Old Norse "the language of poetry"Faulkes (1995:59).] ) is the third section of the "Prose Edda", and consists of a dialogue between Ægir, a god associated with the sea, and Bragi, a skaldic god, in which both Norse mythology and discourse on the nature of poetry are intertwined. The origin of a number of kennings are given and Bragi then delivers a systematic list of kennings for various people, places and things. Bragi then goes on to discuss poetic language in some detail, in particular "heiti", the concept of poetical words which are non-periphrastic, for example "steed" for "horse", and again systematises these.

"Háttatal"

"Háttatal" (Old Norse "list of verse-forms"Faulkes (1995:165).] ) is the last section of the Prose Edda. The section is composed by the Icelandic poet, politician, and historian Snorri Sturluson. Using, for the most part, his own compositions it exemplifies the types of verse forms used in Old Norse poetry. Snorri took a prescriptive as well as descriptive approach; he has systematized the material, and often notes that "the older poets didn't always" follow his rules.

Notes

References

*Byock, Jesse (Trans.) (2006). "The Prose Edda". Penguin Classics. ISBN 0140447555
*Faulkes, Anthony (Trans.) (1995). "Edda". Everyman. ISBN 0-4608-7616-3
*Grape, Anders. Kallstenius, Gotfried. Thorell, Olof (Trans.) (1977). "Snorre Sturlusons Edda: Uppsala-Handskriften DH II, vol. II". Uppsala.

External links

* [http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/pre/index.htm The Prose Edda, translated by Arthur Gilchrist Brodeur, at sacred-texts.com]
* [http://www.septentrionalia.net/etexts/index.php#on Critical editions of all major redactions of the Prose Edda in pdf format at septentrionalia.net]
* [http://www.heimskringla.no/original/snorre/index.php Edda Snorra Sturlusonar] Old Norse text, Guðni Jónsson's edition.
*gutenberg|no=18947|name=The Younger Edda, Rasmus B. Anderson's translation (1897)
*gutenberg|no=14726|name=The Elder Eddas of Saemund Sigfusson; and the Younger Eddas of Snorre Sturleson, translated by Benjamin Thorpe (Elder Eddas) and I. A. Blackwell (Younger Eddas). (1906)
* [http://www.cybersamurai.net/Mythology/nordic_gods/LegendsSagas/Edda/ProseEdda/ContentsEnglish.htm Prose Edda] Arthur G. Brodeur's translation (1916)

ee also

*"Edda"


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  • Edda — Ed da, n.; pl. {Eddas}. [Icel., lit. great grandmother (i. e., of Scandinavian poetry), so called by Bishop Brynj[ u]lf Sveinsson, who brought it again to light in 1643.] The religious or mythological book of the old Scandinavian tribes of German …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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