Suggested Reading: Norse Mythology

Two of the richest textual sources for Norse myth come from the Poetic and Prose Eddas.

The Poetic Edda represents a compendium of older, oral poems, anonymous in authorship, dating back to pre-Christian times, though they were only collected in the 13th Century (by which time most of Europe was post-Pagan).

Also composed in the 13th century was the Prose Edda (also called the Younger Edda, or Snorri’s Edda). Written by the Icelandic scholar and historian Snorri Sturluson around 1220, it contains many of the stories alluded to in the Poetic Edda, while framing them in a prose format.

There are many public domain versions available, however, there are also newer, more current translations as well.

One translator who writes, teaches and frequently posts on YouTube is Dr. Jackson Crawford, instructor of Nordic Studies and Coordinator of the Nordic Program, University of Colorado, Boulder. His stress is on linguistics as well as mythology: here’s his reading recommended (mythology).

Dr. Jackson Crawford’s Norse Mythology Reading List:

  • (Larrington) The Norse Myths – Basic readings on Norse myth
  • (Turville-Petre) Myth and Religion of the North – Rarer alternative to the above
  • (Crawford) The Poetic Edda – Primary source
  • (Larrington) The Poetic Edda – Same as above, more footnotes, less readability
  • (Falk) The Prose Edda – Primary source
  • (Crawford) The Wanderer’s Hávamál 

Dr. Jackson Crawford’s Mythologized Histories:

  • (Crawford) The Saga of the Volsungs – Non-Historical sagas
  • (Penguin) Seven Viking Romances – Non-Historical sagas
  • (Penguin) The Sagas of Icelanders – Additional important sagas
  • (Penguin) Sagas of Warrior Poets – More sagas
  • (Cook) Njal’s Saga – Even more sagas
  • (Crawford) Two Sagas of Mythical Heroes: Hervor and Heidrek and Hrólf Kraki and His Champions (upcoming, October 2021)

Pop Culture Norse Reading:

I’m going to keep this one brief: two entries, given the proliferation of all things Viking in recent years.

  • Neil Gaiman: Norse Mythology

It’s a fairly loving overview of Norse mythos, told in Gaiman’s typical prose style.

  • Norse Mythology For Smart People:

a vast site, written for non-academics (and the passion project of one individual, Daniel McCoy (given there are only two of us here at mythcrafts, we can appreciate his labor of love!))

External Links:

10 thoughts on “Suggested Reading: Norse Mythology

  1. Cool! I loved Gaiman’s Norse Mythology and I check Norse Mythology For Smart People whenever I’m working on a Norse topic. I hadn’t heard of Dr. Jackson Crawford, though. I’ll have to check out his YouTube content as well as his recommended reading. Thanks!

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