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The Norse Myths

A clear and easily understood collection of retellings, The Penguin Book of Norse Myths by Kevin Crossley-Holland provides good foundations for later exploration into texts exploring the translations and topics from the Norse Poetic Eddas. The Introduction discusses some of the important elements of Norse cosmology and culture before detailing the different roles gods and goddesses played in early Norse society. Essential discussion is also included on the much- debated topics including whether the Norse time was perceived as linear or cyclical and the complex fusing of two pantheons of deities, the Aesir and Vanir. The majority of Norse Myths contains the translations from the Poetic Eddas. These include myths of how the nine worlds were created, the creation of different beings, gods, dwarves, elves, monsters and mortals. The tales also detail the clashing groups of deities and the eventual fusion into a single pantheon, the warrior Aesir and the fertility Vanir. The legendary tales of Loki, a sibling to both the Vanir and Aesir but also a being of Chaos. The darker elements of Norse mythology eventually focus on Loki and the inevitable events preceding Ragnarok, the war between Odin and the heroes and Loki and the giants before the ultimate dissolving of the nine worlds by Surt.
The Penguin Book of Norse Myths is a fabulous collection for any audience, allowing a glimpse into rich tales of the ancient Norse world in a translation still mysterious but vividly portrayed.