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New Medieval Books: The Poetic Edda: A Dual-Language Edition (Open Access)

The Poetic Edda: A Dual-Language Edition

Edited and translated by Edward Pettit

Open Book Publishers
ISBN: 978-1-80064-772-5

Available for free as an Open-Access book, offering a new edition and translation of The Poetic Edda, the set of stories that are one of the main sources of Norse Mythology and their gods Óðinn, Þórr and Loki. There are thirty-six texts included here, giving us one of the fullest translations of the work.


My translations endeavour to reflect both the meaning and at least something of the poetic spirit of the Old Norse originals in simple, unarchaistic English verse. To try to convey meaning without spirit—even if these attributes could be dissociated—in verse form would be to do a disservice both to the Old Norse poets and to modern readers unable to read the texts in the original language. Accordingly, I have tried to reflect something of the original’s character by giving the translation a lightly alliterative flavour, although the overriding importance (in my view) of fidelity to the meaning of the Old Norse has often thwarted this ambition; in such cases, a degree of euphony was aspired to, but again not always attained. My attempt to reflect the meaning of the original words is itself often undermined by the inherent ambiguity of poetry and by cases in which modern English simply has no equivalent for an Old Norse term.60 I have not attempted to recast the Old Norse verse forms into English equivalents. Nor have I adhered especially closely to the order of the Old Norse words, as to do so would often prevent fluent translation.


Who is this book for?

Having this work published, especially in Open Access, is a great service to readers and students of Norse mythology. The work is entertaining enough that anyone interested in the Middle Ages, especially the Viking world, should check it out. The printed version of this text goes nearly 900 pages, making it quite a tome.

The author:

Edward Pettit has a Ph.D. in Old English from the University of London. He has been working on this edition since the 1990s.


You can read or download this book for free by going to the Open Book Publishers website. You can also buy a paperback or hardcover version from them.

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