Snorra Edda

The Edda, known as "Snorra Edda", is generally believed to be the oldest of Snorri's writings. It is the only one of his works that can be dated with some accuracy. The oldest section of the Edda is the poem "Háttatal" (  in praise of King Hakon and Earl Skuli) composed in 1220 after Snorri's return from his first journey to Norway.  Snorri added two other parts to his Edda. In Gylfagynning he recounts the heathen mythology required in order to understand the sumbolic language of scaldic poetry, "dróttkvæði", but is carried away by his storrytelling zeal into telling various other stories  which are not strictly necessary.

In "Skáldskaparmál" Snorri discusses the metaphorical references used in poetry, to some extent drawn from the mythology explained in Gylfaginning. He also adds various other stories an dillustrates his theories liberally with quotations from old poetry.

"Gylfaginning" ( the deception of Gylfi) tells of a king in Sweden named Gylfi who journeyed to the home of the gods, Ásgarður, to learn from them , disguising himself and calling himself Gangleri ( the trevel-weary).

Snorris Edda is a complex work. Its purpose is to serve as a work of reference on Icelandic poetry, and for centuries it was used as a handbook by Icelandic poets. The modern reader, who is less interested in the complexities of verse forms, is primarily drawn to Snorri's accounts of ancient gods and heroes.  Readers of all ages will continue to enjoy the tales, which combine a childlike simplicity with sophisticated thought, humorous and witty, they are both informative and insightful.

Later I will tell you more about the writers and composers that have been inspired by Snorri's work!

( the picture shown is from "Melsteds Edda" )

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