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Jesse L. Byock

Auteur de L'Islande des Vikings

14+ oeuvres 934 utilisateurs 8 critiques 1 Favoris

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Œuvres de Jesse L. Byock

Oeuvres associées

L'Edda: Récits de mythologie nordique (1220) — Traducteur, quelques éditions3,167 exemplaires
The Story of Sigurd the Volsung and the Fall of the Niblungs (1270) — Traducteur, quelques éditions1,620 exemplaires
Saga de Grettir (1997) — Traducteur, quelques éditions567 exemplaires
Saga de Hrolfr Kraki (1400) — Traducteur, quelques éditions392 exemplaires


Partage des connaissances



The title is a bit misleading in that the book mainly covers methods of power and wealth accumulation by the free state chieftains. Otherwise, it's a very interesting, if very slow, read analysing the political structure of a centuries past society. If you'd prefer a more general overview of the Icelandic Free State, I'd go for Viking Age Iceland by the same author.
pigeoncube | 2 autres critiques | Oct 29, 2023 |
scholarly yet clear explanation of consensus law rule in Iceland, no monarch, appeal to support at courts.
ritaer | 2 autres critiques | May 29, 2020 |
Read in advance of an upcoming trip to Iceland for some early background; it didn't disappoint. A good, scholarly overview of Iceland's early history, touching on the development of the island's economic, political, legal, social, religious, and cultural systems.
JBD1 | 3 autres critiques | Feb 17, 2018 |
Sagas and Myths of the Northmen is the 16th book in the Penguin Epics collection. It is not one of the best. Sagas is drawn roughly from three stories - the Saga of the Volsung, the Saga of King Hrolf, and Sturri Sturlson's Prose Edda including the Ragnarok Cycle. Jesse Byock's translation is perfectly fine but this is a disjointed and strange collection which really does not give all that much of a flavour of the wider sagas.

It is right that the Penguin Epics collection includes sagas. These are after all some of the finest literary contributions the world has known. They tell the tales of various Nordic peoples whose beliefs thrived in a known world otherwise in the firm grip of Christianity. One of the troubling points about the sagas though is there are so many parts to the stories that have clearly fallen through the gaps. Compiling the full tale of these great peoples is difficult. The Penguin Epics edition shows how difficult it is. The idea of brinigng three stories together in one as separate snippets makes the holes too large and takes comprehension away.

The best part of the content is the final section. The section drawn from the magnificent Prose Edda is a snippet of something truly awe-inspiring. The introduction to the beliefs surrounding Odin and an adventure including Thor as well as a description of th events at the culmination of Ragnarok are all really good reads individually even if together they do not show anywhere near the full Ragnarok Cycle picture. This edition has a useful approach in providing translations of Proper Nouns in several cases where the name has a literal meaning. This approach really helps the flow and readability.

The other two entries are not anywhere near as impressive. The section from the Volsungsaga is a bit weird to read in the Penguin Epics context. The previous book in the Penguin Epics collection is Siegfried's Murder so there is seemingly unnecessary repitition by having Sigurd's tale here. The story is also not as well told because it is in snippet form. An odd editorial choice.

The saga of King Hrolf is a much weaker rendtition of Nordic story-telling than the Prose Edda contribution. The morality of might is ever-present and there is little subtlety of character. The only really intriguing aspect is the involvement of a Sami queen which speaks to a deeper relationship with those northern nomads than is popularly imagined. The storytelling of Hrolf's saga is generally unimpressive. It reveals little about the people involved or their lives other than the power of arms and the evilness of witchcraft. Without the fuller context it is hard to become engaged in the tales of Hrolf and his people.

A better editorial selection might well have been to draw exclusively from Prose Edda as that part of this edition is excellent. Penguin Epics XVI is not of the same order as many of its predecessors but anyone it is a part of the collection and does include parts of some mighty sagas.
… (plus d'informations)
Malarchy | Aug 2, 2014 |


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