Synopses & Reviews
"This is a book of the highest importance. No one should attempt to teach about Viking society or claim to understand it without being familiar with this chilling and enduring myth."Eleanor Searle, author of Predatory Kinship and the Creation of Norman Power
"Byock's translation is excellent, but his thorough introduction is of equal scholarly importance. . . . His section on Richard Wagner's use of the Volsung material in writing his Ring will expand the topic toward modern Wagnerians."Michael Bell, University of Colorado
"The Saga of the Volsungs is one of the most important texts of Old Icelandic literature, with its treatment of Old Scandinavian heroic traditions. . . . The most difficult part of the text to translate is, of course, the poetry, but also here the translator has been successful."Vésteinn Olason, University of Oslo
The Saga of the Volsungs
is an Icelandic prose epic whose anonymous thirteenth-century author based his story on the legends of Old Scandinavian folk culture. A trove of traditional lore, it tells of love, jealousy, vengeance, war, and the mythic deeds of the dragonslayer, Sigurd the Volsung.
The Saga is of special interest to admirers of Richard Wagner, who drew heavily upon this Norse source in writing his Ring Cycle. With its magical ring acquired by the hero, and the sword to be reforged, the saga has also been a primary source for writers of fantasy such as J. R. R. Tolkien and romantics such as William Morris.
Byock's comprehensive introduction explores the history, legends, and myths contained in the saga and traces the development of a narrative that reaches back to the period of the great folk migrations in Europe when the Roman Empire collapsed.
"This is a book of the highest importance. No one should attempt to teach about Viking society or claim to understand it without being familiar with this chilling and enduring myth."--Eleanor Searle, Past President of the Medieval Academy of America
About the Author
Jesse L. Byock teaches Old Norse and medieval Scandinavian subjects at the University of California, Los Angeles and is the author of Feud in the Icelandic Saga (1982).