The Saga of the Volsungs

The Saga of the Volsungs

by Jesse L. Byock, Anonymous


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The Saga of the Volsungs by Jesse L. Byock, Anonymous

One of the great books of world literature—an unforgettable tale of jealousy, unrequited love, greed, and vengeance.

Based on Viking Age poems and composed in thirteenth-century Iceland, The Saga of the Volsungs combines mythology, legend, and sheer human drama in telling of the heroic deeds of Sigurd the dragon slayer, who acquires runic knowledge from one of Odin's Valkyries. Yet the saga is set in a very human world, incorporating oral memories of the fourth and fifth centuries, when Attila the Hun and other warriors fought on the northern frontiers of the Roman empire. In his illuminating Introduction Jesse L. Byock links the historical Huns, Burgundians, and Goths with the extraordinary events of this Icelandic saga. With its ill-fated Rhinegold, the sword reforged, and the magic ring of power, the saga resembles the Nibelungenlied and has been a primary source for such fantasy writers as J. R. R. Tolkien and for Richard Wagner's Ring cycle.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780140447385
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/28/2000
Series: Penguin Classics Series
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 167,403
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.37(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Jesse Byock is a professor of Icelandic and Old Norse studies at UCLA. He is the translator of The Saga of the Volsungs and The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki for Penguin Classics.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1(4)
Representations of the Volsung Story in Norse Art 5(3)
Myths, Heroes, and Social Realities 8(3)
History and Legend: Burgundians, Huns, Goths, and Sigurd the Dragon Slayer 11(15)
Richard Wagner and the Saga of the Volsungs 26(5)
Note on the Translation 31(2)
The Saga of the Volsungs 33(78)
Odin Guides Sigi from the Otherworld
The Birth of Volsung
Sigmund Draws the Sword from Barnstock
Siggeir Plots Revenge
The Fall of Volsung
Signy Plots Revenge
Signy Gives Birth to Sinfjotli
Sigmund and Sinfjotli Don the Skins
Helgi Marries Sigrun
Concerning the Volsungs
Sigmund Marries Hjordis
Hjordis Remarries
The Birth of Sigurd
The Otter's Ransom
Regin Fashions Gram
Gripir Foretells Sigurd's Future
Sigurd Kills Lyngvi and Hjorvard and All the Others
Regin and Sigurd Go Riding
Regin Drinks Fafnir's Blood
Sigurd Eats the Serpent's Heart
Concerning Sigurd
Brynhild's Wise Counsel
Concerning Sigurd's Appearance
Sigurd Comes to Heimir
The Conversation between Sigurd and Brynhild
Concerning King Gjuki and His Sons
Brynhild Interprets Gudrun's Dream
The Ale of Forgetfulness is Blended for Sigurd
Sigurd Rides through the Wavering Flames of Brynhild, the Daughter of Budli
Dispute of the Queens, Brynhild and Gudrun
Brynhild's Grief Only Increases
The Betrayal of Sigurd
Brynhild's Request
The Disappearance of Gudrun
Gudrun Carves Runes
Hogni Interprets His Wife's Dream
The Brothers' Journey from Home
The Battle in the Fortress and the Victory
Hogni is Captured
The Conversation between Atli and Gudrun
Concerning Gudrun
Svanhild is Married and Trampled to Death under the Hooves of Horses
Gudrun Urges Her Sons to Avenge Svanhild
Concerning the Sons of Gudrun. The Final Chapter
Notes 111(12)
Eddic Poems Used by The Saga Author 123(2)
Glossary 125

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Saga of the Volsungs 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
eyja on LibraryThing 2 days ago
This is one of my favorite sagas. It has interesting themes, and great characters. I am particularly drawn to Signy, though I can't quite put my finger on why. This translation, however, is not one of my favorites. It doesn't scan as well as the Kaaren Grimstad translation but as the Grimstad book is harder to find, this is not a bad substitution.
Buecherwurm161 More than 1 year ago
Very interesting Read. I found out that I had some Scandinavian ancestry after doing my DNA and I got this book as a gift to help me learn a little bit more about the mythology and some of the sagas. I found it very interesting and though sometimes I stumbled over some of the names, I had a hard time putting it down. And I also found some similarities from my german roots, especially as it relates to some family names. Lets just say they were a bloody bunch but I already have another book lined up to help me shed more light on it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Joel_M More than 1 year ago
Courage, greed, cowardice, betrayal, and vengeance abound in the Saga of the Volsungs. Its blood-soaked deeds centered around Sigurd the dragon-slayer have fired the imaginations of medieval artists as well as more recent artists and writers such as Ricard Wagner and J. R. R. Tolkien. The first half of the story has many mythical elements, featuring frequent interference from Odin and the slaying of the dragon Fafnir. The second half is a much less supernatural tale of barbaric revenge and counter-revenge. Many of the episodes in the second section may be tied to historical events. The storytelling itself is extremely stilted, which is probably just due to the Norse style (an overly formal translation may contribute as well, but since I don't read Norse I couldn't say for sure). In my opinion, poetic renderings, some of which predate this 13th century prose version, are more enjoyable to read, but can be hard to follow if you have not first read the prose version.