• The Poetic Edda

  • Stories of the Norse Gods and Heroes
  • By: Jackson Crawford
  • Narrated by: Jackson Crawford
  • Length: 6 hrs and 24 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (2,327 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"The poems of the Poetic Edda have waited a long time for a Modern English translation that would do them justice. Here it is at last (Odin be praised!) and well worth the wait. These amazing texts from a thirteenth-century Icelandic manuscript are of huge historical, mythological, and literary importance, containing the lion's share of information that survives today about the gods and heroes of pre-Christian Scandinavians, their unique vision of the beginning and end of the world, etc. 

"Jackson Crawford's modern versions of these poems are authoritative and fluent and often very gripping. With their individual headnotes and complementary general introduction, they supply today's readers with most of what they need to know in order to understand and appreciate the beliefs, motivations, and values of the Vikings." (Dick Ringler, professor emeritus of English and Scandinavian studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison)

©2015 Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

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What listeners say about The Poetic Edda

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Butchery of the language

As a native Icelandic and a lover of the Old Norse stories and the Snorra-Edda (Poetic Edda), I was very interested in hearing a english translation of it. I have not finished the book as I write the review. One thing struck me after the first few minutes of the audiobook that I feel needs to be put out there. People have been praising the narrator pronunciation and knowlege of the language in the reviews. He tries his best and some credit is due for that, but to a native speaker this is almost inaudible, the only name that comes close to sounding correct is Óðinn, and perhaps a few shorter ones like Sif and Týr, everything else I can only partly understand due to years of reading and studying the stories in the past, I am able to put them in context.
An admirable effort on a hard language but does by no means pass the test. Jackson should have considered hiring a native Icelander or a Norwegian with good english speaking skills to narrate the book in his place. Other than that it is a great story and a respectable translation in many ways.

176 people found this helpful

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Great translation--the pronunciation is correct!

First thing's first: Mr. Crawford isn't pronouncing anything incorrectly. He uses reconstructed (medieval) Old Norse pronunciation, which does not sound like modern Icelandic (or any other modern language) because Old Norse and modern Icelandic are different languages.

So, not only is the pronunciation here correct, it's exemplary, and as close as we're likely to get to how it would have sounded if we could travel back in time.

For those not familiar with the concept of reconstructed pronunciation, look up a Shakespeare performance done in reconstructed Elizabethan. Reconstructing pronunciation is important for those seeking to understand and study the sound, meter, and rhyme of a piece (among other things). E.g., it was once proper for "musician" to have four syllables, and "dignity" to rhyme perfectly with "day." If you didn't know about this, a line in a poem written by an author who used those pronunciations might appear to break a rhythm or rhyme scheme. But, when you read the piece as the writer pronounced it, everything falls into place.

Confusion about his pronuciation aside, the translation is great. It's very accessible to modern audiences, particularly those used to reading the epic & high fantasy genres (magic, mayhem, a new world map, and zillions of characters with complicated names).

If you're looking for one translation, this is the one to get!

126 people found this helpful

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Norse Mythology spoken as it should be

I've been waiting for this since Jackson released his translation of the Poetic Edda, and I am not disappointed. His old Norse pronunciations and deep vocal tones help add a depth to a reading that delivers the poems in a way that encourages you to listen and envelops you in the atmosphere that surrounds the Norse gods. His added notes for each poem help add context and put the poems in perspective. There are one or two minor imperfections in his recording of the narrative, but I could be considered being too picky highlighting them, so you can forgive those, as this is really a well read and superb translation of the book and I consider this now to be the de facto audio version of the book.

50 people found this helpful

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This is the version you want

Equal parts authoritatively academic and entertainingly captivating. The narrator is one of the few in the world who speaks fluent Old Norse and also has a pleasant voice and speaking style.

39 people found this helpful

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Great listen I've been waiting for this

Hail Odin! I've been waiting for this audio book to come out and I have to say I'm glad I purchased it Jackson Crawford is a very knowledgeable professor which makes this book even more creditable and worth the buy I'm only half way through it and will probably relisten to it again since something's escape me over all good quality and good tone I've already shared this book with two others, skal!

25 people found this helpful

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well, now I can say that I've listened to it

I know that this is just a translation of the original text but I really wish we had more context of each story. it was hard to keep track of the characters in each story also.

16 people found this helpful

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I love Jackson Crawford's work.

I love Jackson Crawford's work. His voice is awesome in this. his pronunciation of old Norse is dead on. I will be attending Colorado State University just for his classes... one day!

9 people found this helpful

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Sometimes the professor just doesn’t sound good on a recording.

Wonderful information that I have not been able to find elsewhere, along with the classic better known stories. Professor Crawford is knowledgeable and the translation is modern and well done. His voice is just noticeably lacking something that another reviewer called distracting and I agree .otherwise it’s a great update to important text regarding our ancestors and the little we know that was saved from the Christian conquest of Europe .
If you are new to Asatru or however you identify with our Norse gods and goddesses this might not be the best choice to start with but is still in the required reading list in my opinion. Hail the Aesir and Vanir! , Hail our holy folk !

8 people found this helpful

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great work from a great guy

I watched a few of Jackson Crawford's videos long before listening to this book (I was learning íslenska at the time and relied heavily on his modern Icelandic pronunciation video), and I never made the connection until I discovered him again through Simon's videos a few years later. I could listen to Dr. Crawford's sultry voice for hours, and so I did! It's good to see this awesome literature translated for a modern audience.

6 people found this helpful

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Best darn viking in the west

Excellent book. Historical, classic, and still surprisingly relevant for our time. The low rumble of Dr. Crawford's voice is incredibly pleasing to the ear as well.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 01-25-19

as good as it gets

I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a better translation or reading of the Poetic Edda. While Dr Crawford's translation is already a scholarly, poetic, and yet accessible rendering of this famous but often misunderstood text, to hear him read it aloud is invaluable. I would not be without this book, if you are at all interested in the Viking Age and its history and folklore. To my mind this is now the definitive translation and performance of the Poetic Edda.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Rob Burrows
  • 09-11-19

Far better than Snorris Edda

I believe Jackson did a great job at translating and presenting my only criticism was reciting the Havamal in a Texan accent and using Americanisms otherwise it would have got 5 stars.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-13-20

A Norse pagan starting point

An amazing listen, the poems are well explained and there is a lot of pretext.

4 people found this helpful

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  • drdood
  • 08-03-20

amazing until the random texas accent

it was great until the very end when he started doing a texas accent. it really spoiled the mood of the reading.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Ryan O'Shea
  • 06-18-20

Good translation & summaries. Rough pronunciations

I thought the translations, intros and summaries were very good and helpful. Very nice.

I do however struggle with the pronunciation of the chapters and names.

The other thing that I don't get is the last chapter of this as read by a western American dialect reiterating the same things from earlier in the book. It seems somewhat out of context and superfluous.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Migas
  • 03-03-19

The Poetic Edda comes alive

Great performance and excellent in-depth of explanation and contextualisation of each poem. Cowboy Havamal was a lovely addition. Allowed me to more easily relate tp the advice given.

2 people found this helpful

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  • JPA
  • 08-19-21

Very well presented and narrated.

I found the translator and editor on YT the same week I bought this audiobook - without realising it was the same person. Found both this audio and his YT (and now IG) content fascinating and very easy to follow. Highly recommended!

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  • Lisa
  • 10-04-22

Such a thrilling listen!

I loved all of it. So very interesting! A must have for Norse enthusiasts

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  • xBethyboox
  • 05-12-22

Everyone should read it at least once!

I love Jackson’s knowledge on all things Norse but I’d have much preferred this read by someone else, he reads in a very monotonous tone and it may put people off, everyone should read it at least once though, especially Norse pagans! It’s full of great advice that’s relevant even today and Jackson always translates things in a way that people nowadays can understand them and relate them to their lives now too, great book though, I would 100% recommend! I’ve already read it twice and will read it many more times again!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-19-22

True to the original

This book is exactly what I've been looking for. It tells the stories of the Poetic Edda as directly translated from the original, and where liberties are taken it is clarified and explained.

Highly recommended if you're looking for something close to the original Poetic Edda.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-22-20

I love this book. Finally! Correct Pronunciation

Finally someone with correct pronunciation. I couldn't get through Gaiman's book. It was awful.

We read this book growing up. It was good to listen to it.

The Narrator is great!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Naomi
  • 11-20-18

Excellent translation and narration

The author has done a great job of the translation by making these poems of the Poetic Edda comprehensible. He has a lovely reading voice, and since he is the translator himself, he gives real emotion to the poems. Absolutely wonderful.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-20-22

I loved it.

I really enjoyed this one so much. I loved it so much I could loose myself in myths

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  • Steph
  • 10-09-21

Fascinating!

I was sceptical just how much I would enjoy this book, however I am so glad I did download and listen. Dr. Crawford’s explanations are fantastic — I learnt a lot, and appreciated the clear knowledge shared. I even found some “wisdom” I was not expecting.
As is said at the start of the book, there are many things within that convey aspects of life long ago which do not fit in today’s world (horrifying sexism and widespread slavery, for starters), however despite moments of disgust at what had been casually written, I am very glad to now have a greater appreciation and some shred of understanding of these old Norse poems, thanks to this book.

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  • jessica
  • 04-13-19

Awesome!

Mr Crawford's translation is as wonderful as I expected it to be - so down to earth and gave me insights I hadn't caught in other translations.
I have followed him short while on YouTube for his specialization in ancient Norse and was delighted to see he had translated the Poetic Edda - Thank you :)

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