The Elder Edda

The Elder Edda

Introduction by: Andrew Orchard
Editor: Andrew Orchard
Translator: Andrew Orchard

Additional Formats
  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780141393728
  • 432 Pages
  • Penguin Classics
  • Adult


Legends from the Ancient North: Five classics of Norse literature that inspired J. R. R. Tolkien’s epic vision in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings

Legendary fantasy writer J. R. R. Tolkien spent much of his life studying, translating, and teaching the ancient tales of northern Europe at Oxford and drew on them for his own writing. These epic stories, with their wizards and knights, dragons and trolls, cursed rings and magic swords, are as fascinating today as they were thousands of year ago. Reading them brings us as close as we will ever get to the magical worlds of the Vikings and the origins of their twentieth-century counterpart: Tolkien’s Middle Earth.

Compiled by an unknown scribe in Iceland around 1270, and based on sources dating centuries earlier, the heroic poems of The Elder Edda tell of gods and mortals from an ancient era: the giant-slaying Thor, the doomed Völsung family, the Hell-ride of Brynhild, and the cruelty of Atli the Hun. Eclectic and fragmented, these verses nevertheless retain their stark beauty and power to enthrall, opening a window on to the thoughts, beliefs and hopes of the Vikings and their world.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.


Legends from the Ancient North
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