Synopses & Reviews
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: Tolkiens 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.
The greatest source of knowledge of Viking lore.
The mythology surrounding ancient Norse gods and heroes has inspired countless writers and artists, including Tennyson, Wagner, William Morris, Tolkien, Borges, and Auden. Compiled by an unknown scribe in Iceland around 1270 and based on sources dating back centuries earlier, these poems tell of the heroic deeds of gods and mortals: the giant- slaying Thor, the doomed Völsung family, the Hell-ride of Brynhild, and the cruelty of Atli (Attila the Hun). Eclectic, incomplete, and fragmented, the verses nevertheless retain a stark beauty and enthralling power, opening a window onto the thoughts, beliefs, and hopes of the Vikings and their world.
About the Author
Andrew Orchard (translator) is Professor of English and Medieval Studies in the University of Toronto, and since 2007 Provost and Vice-Chancellor of Trinity College. He is the author of The Poetic Art of Aldhelm (1994), Pride and Prodigies: Studies in the Monsters of the Beowulf-Manuscript (2nd edition 2003), The Cassell Dictionary of Norse Myth and Legend (3rd edition 2002), and A Critical Companion to Beowulf (2nd edition 2005), as well as editor and co-editor of several collections, scholarly journals and academic series.