Friday 3 May 2019

Book Review: Seven Viking Romances (Classics/Mythology)

Title: Seven Viking Romances
Author: Various/Unknown
Penguin Classics

Publication Date: 1985
Bought Copy

Combining traditional myth, oral history and re-worked European legend to depict an ancient realm of heroism and wonder, the seven tales collected here are among the most fantastical of all the Norse romances. Powerfully inspired works of Icelandic imagination, they relate intriguing, often comical tales of famous kings, difficult gods and women of great beauty, goodness or cunning.

The tales plunder a wide range of earlier literature from Homer to the French romances - as in the tale of the wandering hero Arrow-Odd, which combines several older legends, or Egil and Asmund, where the story of Odysseus and the Cyclops is skilfully adapted into a traditional Norse legend.

Seven Viking Romances was a fun read. I enjoyed seeing how the storytellers put an Icelandic slant on some well-known tales from elsewhere in the world. A few bits had me laughing out loud. If you already enjoying reading Icelandic medieval tales and sagas, you'll find something to enjoy in this book. If you are new to them, this is possibly a good place to start as the tales are short and simple, lacking the complex familial relationships of the longer, heavier family sagas.

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