When it comes to myths and folktales, I m something of a purist The cultural aspects are often as interesting to me as the stories themselves, so I like to feel like I m getting something relatively authentic Unfortunately, this usually means wading through painfully academic translations, skipping back and forth between sterile prose and dry footnotes, salvaging what entertainment is left in the stories.Rather than simply translate and annotate, Crossley Holland has compiled these stories from multiple sources and retold them in his own lively, but not distractingly modern, voice Far from a dumbing down, he eloquently communicates the spirit of these stories with all of their tension, humor, and remorse Meanwhile, ample academia is tucked into almost one hundred pages worth of intro and notes written in the same lively voice there are no stale footnotes here The cultural context is established in the intro, where he also goes over sources and his approach to the retelling Each story also gets a discussion at the back of the book which breaks down which elements were taken from which sources, variants and similarities to other stories, cultural details, running themes, anything that was left out, etc.This author has done much, much than haphazardly translate a bunch of stories The myths are vivid and engaging, and the academics manage to be both solid and colorful In short, this book has set a new standard for me This is what a book of myths should be. Crossley Holland turns the myths into a cultural event with an informative introduction and copious endnotes, which compose about a fourth of the book.The stories themselves, though, come across as short folk tales for children no offense intended to old Snorri Sturulson and company The one exception, the prophecy of Ragnarok, which packs an entire mythical apocalypse of universal darkness and destruction into four pages It s worth reading, re reading, and a little memorizing Start with Axe age, sword age sundered are shields Wind age, wolf age, ere the world crumbles I bought this at a tiny occult bookshop near the British Museum in June and have been stretching it out ever since The dork in me really, really enjoys Norse myths And I liked the notes at the end of each tale, where Crossley Holland explained which parts came from Snorri Sturluson and which came from Saxo Grammaticus and hi I am single. Embarrassing to admit this since I dated for 4 years a wonderful man who eventually went on to get a PhD focusing on Viking burials but I ve never really been able to get excited about the grim dude fest that is Norse Mythology Until this book Told by Kevin Crossley Holland, the stories actually feel exciting now I read one every night, and when I m done I m even motivated to go to the notes section to read its background A great first book on Norse mythology P.S I still roll my eyes at the way every object made by the dang dwarves has its own proper name Asgard is starting to feel like bloody IKEA But, whatever, I can dig it I m a fan now. I knew a bit about the Norse Myths before reading this book, but then I read several novels that make extensive use of them Gaiman, American Gods Chabon, Summerland and realized I wanted to learn I liked this retelling because Crossley Holland takes and integrates the six primary literary sources who knew and creates story cycle When I was reading, I had strong contradictory feelings of familiarity and strangeness Some of the character motivations are ones we re all familiar with, but the stories cover unexpected nad interesting ground I particularly like the stories that center on Loki, and began to see how a lot of our current literary and poplular culture traditions might owe a nod to the Norse myths than you might think In one story, Loki turns himself into a fly to sneak into Freyja s bedchamber, and then turns himself into a flea and amuses himself by crawling over her breasts I remember an old Arty Feldman movie in which his character, making a deal with the devil, wants to be where he can always see the woman he is in love with So the devil turns him into a fly I wonder now if this later story doesn t owe something to Loki s predicaments when he shape shifts. A fantastic collection of stories, great selections made My favorite was probably the telling of how Thor received Mjolnir in the first place, and why it s such a short hammer A great read for any fan of the history of that region of the world. Here Are Thirty Two Classic Myths That Bring The Viking World Vividly To Life The Mythic Legacy Of The Scandinavians Includes A Cycle Of Stories Filled With Magnificent Images From Pre Christian Europe Gods, Humans, And Monstrous Beasts Engage In Prodigious Drinking Bouts, Contests Of Strength, Greedy Schemes For Gold, And Lusty Encounters The Norse Pantheon Includes Odin, The Wisest And Most Fearsome Of The Gods Thor, The Thundering Powerhouse And The Exquisite, Magic Wielding Freyja Their Loves, Wars, And Adventures Take Us Through Worlds Both Mortal And Divine, Culminating In A Blazing Doomsday For Gods And Humans Alike These Stories Bear Witness To The Courage, Passion, And Boundless Spirit That Were Hallmarks Of The Norse World Kevin Crossley Holland Retells The Norse Myths In Clear, Attractive Prose An Excellent Introduction, Notes, And A Glossary Provide Mythological And Historical Backgrounds And Suggest Parallels With Myths In Other Parts Of The World The Denver Post I love reading the Norse myths, and this one doesn t disappoint, with plenty of detailed stories The very long introduction provides a welcome list of the pantheon, along with a map of the Norse world, which makes it easier to keep track of these things I revisit this book now and again for a good story my favorites are probably the stories of Creation and Ragnarok apocalypse.Read with a flagon of ale and a roaring fire preferably seated a reindeer pelt to truly get into the mood. Very nice introduction to the major Norse gods myths Crossley Holland combines serious scholarship with a strong prose style to make the myths accessible to a cross section of readers, the curious and serious alike I found the extensive Notes section just as enjoyable as the myths themselves. I had always meant to read the Norse myths but had never got around to it until recently I m so glad that I chose Kevin Crossley Holland s retelling of these fascinating myths He has skilfully drawn on multiple sources from pre Christian and Christian Iceland and other Nordic countries however most of all he draws from Snorri Sturluson s Prose Edda written in approx 1220 If you re not familiar with the myths, I would advise reading the introduction beforehand it contains a map of the nine worlds that the Norsemen believed in At least then you can understand the various references to each realm in the myths The myths themselves are far thrilling and entertaining than I thought they would be many of them portray the ongoing tensions and fights between the Gods and the giants I kept thinking how much the works of 20th and 21st C fantasy writers from Tolkien to C S Lewis to Neil Gaiman are influenced by them The Gods and Goddesses are intriguing characters and some are multi faceted in that they are worshipped for than one reason e.g Freya is not just Goddess of love but also of war she rides to battle in a chariot drawn by two cats Loki the trickster has to be one of my favourites It was interesting to read about the traditions and beliefs of pre Christian Scandinavia like the boat burials too I m going to miss reading about the Gods various exploits and I can actually see why the old Norse worshipped them far exciting than the monotheistic religions They also seem relevant to our own British culture than Greek myths, due both to the fact that we were invaded by Vikings and in the wider sense of reflecting a similar northern European outlook Yet unlike the Greek myths, Norse myths are strangely and sadly overlooked here they should be on the national curriculum All in all, I wholeheartedly recommend this version of the beautiful Norse myths it will go straight onto my favourites bookshelf.
Kevin Crossley Holland is a well known poet and prize winning author for children His books include Waterslain Angels, a detective story set in north Norfolk in 1955, and Moored Man A Cycle of North Norfolk Poems Gatty s Tale, a medieval pilgrimage novel and the Arthur trilogy The Seeing Stone, At the Crossing Places and King of the Middle March , which combines historical fiction with the
- 320 pages
- The Norse Myths
- Kevin Crossley-Holland
- 06 July 2018 Kevin Crossley-Holland