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The Poetic Edda * Carolyne Larrington (transl.) (Oxford World Classics 1999 * ISBN 0192839462)

“A new translation” says the cover of this book. Indeed, this is the newest translation of the Poetic or Elder Edda that I have (1996). I have two Dutch translations of the poetic Edda (which are reviewed above) and I wanted another translation to be able to compare them. As you can read in my review of the De Vries translation, neither of the two Dutch translations is perfect, not by far I am afraid I have to say, but of course both have their value. A point of comment on the Dutch translation of Marcel Otten is that he translates everything, including names, while De Vries leaves all the names as they are. Larrington remains somewhere in between Otten and De Vries. Larrington leaves many names untranslated, but other names are given in English. Otten at least is consistent! The Larrington translation sometimes comes to strange texts, such as:
“New Moon and Dark-of-Moon, North and South | East and West, Master-Thief, Delayer, | Bivor, Bavor, Bombur, and Nori, | An and Anar, Great-grandfather and Mead-wolf.” (Völuspa 11). Otten makes of this (his Dutch to my English):
“Waxing and Sleeping Moon, North and South, | East and West, Master-thief and Tarryer, | Shiver and Glitter, Barrel and Shrivel, | Friend and Enemy, Primal-grandpa and Mead-wolf.”

In general the Larrington translation is a nice one though. For some reason her division of the verses differs slightly from that of Otten and also the order of the poems is different (Otten added a few from other codices). In general this little (and cheap) booklet is a nice one for reference. Also the introduction is scholarly and informative and there is an index. Like I said, I use this translation to compare it with my Dutch translations and of the three English translations that I have, it is by about a 100 years the most recent and (therefor?) also the best. Larrington regards the Faulkes translation of the Snorre-Edda or Prose Edda as the best there is and this one is also available in a cheap paperback and I happen to have it as well (see review below).


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