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The violence and drama of the Norse sagas, recounted by an Icelandic poet

The Prose Edda

by Snorri Sturlson, 1200

The Prose Edda is a text on Old Norse Poetics, written about 1200 by the Icelandic poet and politican Snorri Sturlson, who also wrote the Heimskringla. The Prose Edda contains a wide variety of lore which a Skald (poet) of the time would need to know. The text is of interest to modern readers because it contains consistent narratives of many of the plot lines of Norse mythology. Snorri was a Christian, but he treated this ancient mythology with great respect. To this end, Snorri created a quasi-historical backstory for the Norse Gods. Hence the Prose Edda is of interest because it contains one of the first attempts to devise a rational explanation for mythological and legendary events. It is also notable because it contains fragments of a number of manuscripts which Snorri had access to, but which are now lost.

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Chapters

Prologue

Then Odin began his way northward, and in that land he took possession of all that pleased him.

Gylfaginning

Here begins the beguiling of Gylfi

Skáldskaparmal

Ægir, the Norse god of the sea, and Bragi, the god of poetry, debate history

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