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Edda * Marcel Otten (Ambo 1994 * isbn 9026316259)

This is the second pressing of Otten’s successfull translation of the Edda into Dutch. It was the first translation into my language in almost 60 years at the time. The book is enormous, 454 pages, making it much thicker than any other translation of the Edda that I know.
The Edda is of course a compilation of old-Icelandic texts. The word “Edda” usually refers to the “Codex Regius” that was given to the king of Denmark in 1662, but because there are more texts in the Codex than the Edda, Otten didn’t entirely limit himself to the Edda. The texts were written down in the 11/12th century, but are much older than that.
Otten comes with a 15-page introduction telling about the history of Iceland (how it became inhabited by Vikings) and how the texts came into being. After this comes a very well-readable translation of 37 texts, some a bit longer, most of them pretty short. The titles are translated, but also given in the original language. A strange thing is that Otten translates half of the names while others he keeps in the original language. The texts themselves are translated very well, both the more continuing stories as the more poetic ones.
In the back you get a very handy genealogy and maps, notes per text, a large bibliography and a gigantic index. Unfortunately the index refers to texts and not to pages.
After this succesfull book, Otten continued to translate more old-Icelandic texts. There are plenty of them, so he had enough to do for the rest of his life. Also see my reviews of “De Sage van de Völsungen” (“Völsungenssaga”) and “De Saga van Njal” (“Brennu Njálsaga”).

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