Norse Mythology Books and Music

This is a brief discussion of Norse literature, and Norse inspired music , To gain more insight into Norse eddas and sagas, I have read the following books so far and there are many more to read. I have also referenced a classical CD on this topic.


Nordic Gods and Heroes 
Padraic Colum  Willy Pogany
This is a very elementary book, and easy to read. It contains some of the essence of more known sagas and eddas in simple to ready story form. A good introduction to some myths to a young reader (teen). It doesn't offer any analysis or interpretations.

 

 

Myths of the Norsemen: From the Eddas and Sagas
Helene A. Guerber
This is  a fairly good beginner book, with more insight into norse mythology than the prior (Colum) book.  Instead of just retelling a saga or edda, it actually offers some interpretation and analysis.  There is also some artwork in the book.
The Norse Myths 
Kevin Crossley-Holland (Introduction)
This book also has translations of selected sagas and myths, but more vivid and colorful translations than the first book again.  There is also a good introduction discussing norse sagas, and Snori Sturluson.


The Poetic Edda 
Lee Milton Hollander  Edda Saemundar
This book contains actual English translations of eddas in poetic form.  There is also a good introduction to the poetic form of eddas in the book.  I would recommend reading this book after becoming familiar with some of the eddas from another book.  Then it becomes highly enjoyable to read the eddas in  their true poetic form.


Norse Mythology: The Myths and Legends of the Nordic Gods
Arthur Cotterell  Lorenz
This is a very basic book, its primary value is in the photos and illustrations it contains (large and colorful).

Wagner Without Words

George Szell Cleveland orchestra

 

Although I highly enjoy classical music, I am not a big fan of opera.  But Wagner has truly captured the ambiance and feel of Norse mythology.  Was it not for Wagner, some may not be familiar with their own European heritage that stems from  Norse mythology. Although some people have stereotypical images of Norse characters, such as Wagner's opera singing version of Brunhilda, the Valkyrie, one should concentrate on the music of Wagner,  not the visual images of the opera house. Visuals are better left to the painters who did not depict the Valkyries in the exaggerated form of an opera singer. Some fine Norse inspired art developed during the 1800's in Europe (Gruber's Myths of Norsemen book has some black/white versions of it).

  Therefore, this CD is excellent for listening to norse inspired music.  Some of the music includes:  Das Rheingold, Die Walkure (the Ride of the Valkyries), Siegfried's Funeral March (also featured in the movie Excalibur).

 

 





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