Lee M. Hollander
1962 (Revised Second Edition)*
The Poetic Edda
University of Texas Press

343 pages

*Please note that this entry refers exclusively to Hollander's second revised edition.

Translated poems (36):

Codex Regius (31)

Vǫluspá, Hávamál, Vafþrúðnismál, Grímnismál, Skírnismál, Hárbarðsljóð, Hymiskviða, Lokasenna, Þrymskviða, Vǫlundarkviða, Alvíssmál, Frá dauða Sinfjǫtla, Grípisspá, Reginsmál, Fáfnismál, Sigrdrífumál, Brot af Sigurðarkviðu, Sigurðarkviða hin skamma, Helreið Brynhildar, Dráp Niflunga, Oddrúnargrátr, Atlakviða, Atlamál, Guðrúnarhvǫt, Hamðismál, Helgakviða Hundingsbana (I, II), Helgakviða Hjörvarðssonar, Guðrúnarkviða (I, II, III)

Non-Codex Regius (5)

Baldrs draumar, Rígsþula, Hyndluljóð, Grottasǫngr, Svipdagsmal (GrógaldrFjǫlsvinnsmál)

Other notable contents: Like some other translators, Hollander removes the so-called "Catalogue of Dwarfs" (sometimes translated into Old Norse as Dvergatal) from Vǫluspá and provides it a section of its own (pp. 322-323). Hollander also includes a section dedicated to the eight missing manuscript pages of the Codex Regius manuscript (the "Great Lacuna", pp. 241-242). These pages no doubt refer to the Vǫlsung cycle in some manner and may be to some extent paraphrased in Vǫlsunga saga.
Introduction page length: 29
Notes? Footnotes
Dual Edition? No
Rendering: jǫtunn = "etin" (cf. p. 67), þurs = "thurs" (cf. p. 71)
Bowlderization/censorship: Mixed (cf. "staling of stinking goats", p. 72; "thou didst fart", p. 97)
Original illustrations? None


a.) Vǫluspá (p. 2):

3. In earliest times did Ymir live:
was not sea nor land nor salty waves,
neither earth was there nor upper heaven,
but a gaping nothing, and green things nowhere.

b.) Helgakviða Hundingsbana II (p. 200):

Sigrún went into the mound to Helgi and said:

43. "As fain am I to find thee, Helgi,
as Óthin's hawks, hungry for meat,
when war they scent and warm corpses,
and dew besprent the daylight see."

c.) Rígsþula (p. 127):

46. In runes he rivaled Ríg the Earl;
with wiles he warred, outwitting him;
thus got for himself, and gained to have,
the name of Ríg and runic lore.


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A former faculty head of the Department of Germanic Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, Lee M. Hollander's translation of the Poetic Edda is stylistically unique. In an attempt to convey the alliterative verse of the original text, Hollander often relies upon archaisms. For example, Hollander employs fossilized pronouns such as "thee" and "thou" throughout his translation, and employs obscure terms such as "thole" (cf. p. 73). Realizing how alien the archaisms are to even the most educated audience, Hollander even includes a glossary for these obscure terms (pp. 325-326). Whether the reader embraces or rejects this approach is ultimately a matter of taste, but readers new to the Poetic Edda will no doubt find the translator's approach to be particularly challenging. This greatly restricts the utility of Hollander's translation.

Before completing his translation of the Poetic Edda and while still among the faculty of the University of Wisconsin, Hollander authored a brief piece describing why he felt the time was ripe to produce a translation of his own. Published in 1919 in Scandinavian Studies and Notes, "Concerning a Proposed Translation of the Edda" describes aspects of Hollander's approach and provides insight into how Hollander felt about the works of his predecessors (for example, Hollander refers to Benjamin Thorpe's 1866 translation as "a rather poor performance at the time" and dismisses Olive Bray's 1908 translation as "pedestrian").

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