A Select English Bibliography of Norse & Northern Medieval Literature

(including the Nibelungenlied, Mabinogion & Kalevala)



                                        General Works of Criticism


Theodore M. Andersson. The Problem of Icelandic Saga Origins: An Historical Survey.

   New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1964.

Theodore M. Andersson. The Icelandic Family Saga: An Analytic Reading. Cambridge,

   MA: Harvard University Press, 1967.

Jesse L. Byock. Feud in the Icelandic Saga. Berkeley: University of California Press,


Jesse L. Byock. Medieval Iceland: Society, Sagas, and Power. Berkeley: University of

   California Press, 1988.

Carol J. Clover. The Medieval Saga. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1982.

Carol J. Clover & John Lindow (eds.) Old Norse-Icelandic Literature: A Critical Guide.

   Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1985.

Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) Old Icelandic Literature and Society. Cambridge University

   Press, 2000.

Peter Hallberg. The Icelandic Saga. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1962.

William Paton Ker. Epic and Romance: Essays on Medieval Literature. London:

   Macmillan, 1896.

Jonas Kristjansson. Eddas and Sagas: Iceland’s Medieval Literature. Reykjavik, 1992.

John Lindow, Lars Lonnroth, Gerd W. Weber (eds.) Structure and Meaning in Old Norse

   Literature. Odense University press, 1986.

Rory McTurk (ed.) A Companion to Old Norse-Icelandic Literature and Culture. Oxford:

   Blackwell, 2005.

Preben Meulengracht Sorensen. Saga and Society: An Introduction to Old Norse

   Literature. Odense University Press, 1993.

Heather O’Donoghue. Old Norse-Icelandic Literature: A Short Introduction. Oxford:

   Blackwell, 2004.

Paul Schach. Icelandic Sagas. Boston: Twayne, 1984.

Gsili Sigurdsson. The Medieval Icelandc Saga and Oral tradition: A Discourse on

   Method. Harvard University Press, 2004.

John Tucker (ed.) Sagas of the Icelanders: A Book of Essays. New York: Garland, 1989.

E. O. G. Turville-Petre. Origins of Icelandic Literature. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1953.


                                                      Norse Language


E. V. Gordon. Introduction to Old Norse. 2nd ed. A. R. Taylor. Oxford: Clarendon Press,

   1957 (original edition 1927)

Michael P. Barnes & Anthony Faulkes. A New Introduction to Old Norse. 2nd ed.

   London: University College, 2002-2004 (3 vols.)

   [1. Grammar.—2. Reader.—3. Glossary & index of names]


                                              General Reference Works


Philip Pulsiano & Kirsten Wolf (eds.) Medieval Scandinavia: An Encyclopedia. New

   York: 1993.

Joseph Strayer (ed.) Dictionary of the Middle Ages. New York: Scribner’s, 1982-1989

   (13 vols. ; Suppl. 2004)


                                                         The Eddas

Halldor Hermannsson. Bibliography of the Eddas. Ithaca, NY: Cornell, 1920.

Johann S. Hannesson. Bibliography of the Eddas: A Supplement. Ithaca, NY: Cornell,



Poetic Edda

[Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism 75:91-204]

Paul Acker & Carolyne Larrington (eds.) The Poetic Edda: Essays on Old Norse

   Mythology. New York: Garland, 2001.

Robert J. Glendinning & Haraldur Bessason (eds.) Edda: A Collection of Essays.

   Winnepeg: University of Manitoba, 1983.


The Poetic Edda / tr. Henry Adams Bellows. New York: American-Scandanavian

   Foundation, 1923.

The Poetic Edda / tr. Lee M. Hollander. 2nd ed., rev. Austin: University of Texas Press,  

   1962. (original ed. 1928)

Poems of the Vikings: The Elder Edda / tr. Patricia Terry. Indianapolis: Bobs-Merrill,


The Elder Edda: A Selection / tr. Paul B. Taylor & W. H. Auden. London: Faber &

   Faber, 1970. [dedicated to J. R. R. Tolkien]

The Poetic Edda / tr. Carolyne Larrington. Oxford University Press, 1996.

The Poetic Edda / ed. & tr. Ursula Dronke. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969-1997 (2 vols.)

   [1. Heroic Poems.—2. Mythological Poems]


Prose Edda

The Prose Edda / tr. Arthur Gilchrist Brodeur. New York: American-

   Scandanavian Foundation, 1916.

The Prose Edda of Snorri Sturluson: Tales from Norse Mythology / tr. Jean I. Young.

   Cambridge: Bowes & Bowes, 1954.

Edda / tr. Anthony Faulkes. London: Dent, 1987.

                                                           The Sagas


The Complete Sagas of Icelanders, including 49 Tales / ed. Vidar Hreinsson. Reykjavik,

   Iceland: Leifur Eiriksson Publishing, 1997 (5 vols.)

The Sagas of Icelanders: A Selection. New York: Penguin, 2000.

   [reprinted from The Complete Sagas of Icelanders (1997)]


Donald F. Fry. Norse Sagas Translated into English: A Bibliography. New York: AMS,


                                                                         Some Individual Translations & Studies
                                                                                                                         Egil's Saga

Egil's Saga / tr. E. R. Eddison. Cambridge University Press, 1930.

Egil's Saga / tr. Gwyn Jones. Syracuse University Press, 1960.

Egil's Saga / tr. Christine Fell & John Lucas. London: Dent, 1975.

Egil's Saga / tr. Hermann Palsson & Paul Edwards. London: Penguin, 1976.

Egil's Saga / tr. Svanhildur Oskarsdottir & Bernard Scudder. New York: Penguin, 2005.

                                                                                                                 Hrafnkel's Saga

[Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism 2:74-129]

Sigurdur Nordal. Hrafnkels Saga Freysgoda. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1958.

Hermann Palsson. Art and Ethics in Hrafnkel’s Saga. Copenhagen, 1971.



Hrafnkel's Saga, and Other Icelandic Stories / tr. Hermann Palsson. New York: Penguin,


                                                                                                                    Laxdaela Saga

[Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism 67:191-253]

Keneva Kunz. Retellers of Tales: An Evaluation of English Translations of Laxdaela

   Saga. Reykjavik, 1994.

Margaret A. Madelburg. The Laxdaela Saga: Its Structural Patterns. Chapel Hill, 1972.


Laxdoela Saga / tr. Muriel A. C. Press. London: Dent, 1899.

The Laxdoela Saga / tr. A. Margaret Arent. Seattle: University of Washington Press,


Laxdaela Saga / tr. Magnus Magnusson & Hermann Palsson. New York: Penguin, 1969.

                                                                                                                          Njal's Saga

[Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism 13:322-327]

Richard Allen. Fire and Iron: Critical Approaches to Njal's Saga. University of Pittsburgh

   Press, 1971.

Lars Lonnroth. Njal's Saga: A Critical Introduction. Berkeley: University of California

   Press, 1976.

Einer Sveinsson. Njal's Saga: A Literary Masterpiece. Lincoln: University of Nebraska

   Press, 1971.


The Story of Burnt Njal / tr. George Webbe Dasent. London: Dent, 1911.

Njal's Saga / tr. Carl F. Bayerschmidt & Lee Hollander. London: Allen Unwin, 1956.

Njal's Saga / tr. Magnus Magnusson & Hermann Palsson. New York: Penguin, 1960.

Njal's Saga / tr. Robert Cook. London: Penguin, 2001.



Sverre Bagge. Society and Politics in Snorri Sturluson's Heimskringla. University of

   California Press, 1991.

Diana Whaley. Heimskringla: An Introduction. London: Viking Society for Northern

   Research, 1991.


Heimskringla; or, Chronicle of the Kings of Norway / tr. Samuel Laing. London:

   Longman, Brown, Green & Longmans, 1844. (3 vols.)

   [rev. 1930, 1961 Peter Foote / rev. 1964 Jacqueline Simpson]

Heimskringla / tr. Lee M. Hollander. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1964.

King Harald's Saga / tr. Magnus Magnusson & Hermann Palsson. New York: Penguin,


                                     Volsunga Saga & The Nibelungenlied


Volsunga Saga

[Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism 55:156-228]


Volsunga Saga: The Story of the Volsungs and Niblungs, with Certain Songs from the

   Elder Edda / tr. William Morris & Eirikr Magnusson. London: Ellis, 1870.

The Saga of the Volsungs / tr. Margaret Schlauch. New York: Norton, 1930.

The Saga of the Volsungs / tr. Ronald G. Finch. London: Nelson, 1965.

The Saga of the Volsungs / tr. George K. Anderson. Newark: University of Delaware

   Press, 1982.

The Saga of the Volsungs: The Norse Epic of Sigurd the Dragon Slayer / tr. Jesse L.

   Bock. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990.



[Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism 12:136-255, 41:137-272]

Theodore M. Andersson. A Preface to the Nibelungenlied. Stanford University Press,


Hugo Bekker. The Nibelungenlied: A Literary Analysis. University of Toronto Press,


Edward Haymes. The Nibelungenlied: History and Interpretation. University of Illinois

   Press, 1986.

Winder McConnell (ed.) Companion to the Nibelungenlied. Camden House, 1998.

Winder McConnell. The Nibelungenlied. Boston: Twayne, 1984.

D. G. Mowatt & Hugh Sacker. The Nibelungenlied: An Interpretive Commentary.

   University of Toronto Press, 1967.

Werner Mueller. The Nibelungenlied Today: Its Structure, Essence and Significance.

   Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1962.

Mary Thorp. The Study of the Nibelungenlied: Being the History of the Study of the Epic

   and Legend from 1755 to 1937. 1940.


The Nibelungenlied / tr. Daniel Bussier Shumway. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1909.

The Nibelungenlied / tr. Margaret Armour. New York: Dutton, 1939.

The Nibelungenlied / tr. D. G. Mowatt. New York: Dutton, 1962.

Song of the Nibelungs / tr. Frank Glessner Ryder. Detroit: Wayne State University Press,


The Nibelungenlied / tr. A. T. Hatto. New York: Penguin, 1965.

Das Nibelungenlied; The Song of the Nibelungs / tr. Burton Raffel. Yale University

   Press, 2006.



[Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism 9:142- 200]

C. W. Sullivan (ed.) The Mabinogi: A Book of Essays. New York: Garland, 1996.


The Mabinogion / tr. Charlotte Guest. London: Bernard Quaritch, 1877.

The Mabinogion: A New Translation / tr. T. P. Ellis & John Lloyd. 1929.

The Mabinogion / tr. Jeffrey Gantz. New York: Penguin, 1976.

The Mabinogi, and Other Medieval Welsh Tales / tr. Patrick K. Ford. Berkeley:

   University of California Press, 1977.

The Mabinogi / tr. P. MacCana. 2nd ed. Cardiff, 1992.

The Mabinogion / tr. Gwyn & Thomas Jones. Rev. ed. New York: Knopf, 2000.

   [originally published 1949]


                                                       The Kalevala


[Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism 6:206-288]

Lauri Hono. The Kalevala and the World's Traditional Epics. Finnish Literary Society,


Lauri Honko (ed.) Religion Myth and Folklore in the World's Epics: The Kalevala and its

   Predecessors. Mouton de Gruyter, 1990.

Juha Pentikainen. Kalevala Mythology. Expanded ed. Bloomington: University of

   Indiana Press, 1999.

Anna-Leena Siikala. Mythic Images and Shamanism: A Perspective on Kalevala Poetry.

   Finnish Academy of Sciences & Letters, 2002.


The Kalevala: The Epic Poem of Finland / tr. John M. Crawford. New York: Putnam's,


Kalevala: Land of the Heroes / tr. W. F. Kirby. London: Dent, 1907 (2 vols.)

The Kalevala; or, Poems of the Kaleva District / tr. Francis Peabody Magoun.

   Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1963.

The Kalevala: Epic of the Finnish People / tr. Eino Friberg. Finnish North American

   Literary Society, 1988.

The Kalevala: An Epic Poem after Oral Tradition / tr. Keith Bosley. Oxford University

   Press, 1989.

                                                                                        PJS [rev. 5/06]


An Inklings Postscript


Before J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis met together regularly in the informal group known as the Inklings, they had met from 1926 to 1933 as part of a reading group known as the Kolbitar. The name comes from an Old Norse word meaning "coalbiters" and refers to those who would sit close by the fire, so close that it seemed as if they were biting the coals, telling and being told tales of the gods and the deeds of men. The group's purpose was to read through the medieval Icelandic saga literature and the Eddas. When this task was done the group as such disbanded, but Tolkien and Lewis carried on meeting concerning their mutual interests in the somewhat different context of the Inklings.  [see: Andrew Lazoa "Gathered Around Northern Fires: The Imaginative Impact of the Kolbitar" in Tolkien and the Invention of Myth: A Reader / ed. Jane Chance. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2004. (191-226)] 


Both Lewis and Tolkien found themselves drawn to Norse mythology more than to that of Greece and Rome. It is within reason to say that the single greatest literary influence on Tolkien's creation of Middle-earth was his familiarity with, and love for the Old Norse saga literature and the northern mythology presented in the Eddas. Further, Tolkien's fictional elvish languages which are the creative origin point of Middle-earth are based on his love for Welsh, whose medieval tales appear in the Mabinogion, and Finnish, whose medieval tales were collected as the Kalevala.   


One of the episodes from Lewis' life that he uses to try to define the meaning of  "joy" is that of reading the lines, "I heard a voice that cried, Balder the beautiful is dead, is dead …” Of these lines he says, "I knew nothing about Balder; but instantly I was uplifted into huge regions of northern sky, I desired with almost sickening intensity something never to be described (except that it is cold, spacious, severe, pale, and remote) …”[Surprised By Joy. New York, 1955. (17)]                                                                                       


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