Re: Names/Norse Mythology
- I just discovered something strange. I was going to tell people where to
find the passage in the Eddas where the names of the dwarves and of Gandalf
comes from. Two books about Tolkien that I just checked say that it's in the
Voluspa (sometimes spelled "Volospa") section of the Elder Eddas. But then I
looked in my copy of the Elder Eddas and I can't find any mention of the
dwarves in the Voluspa. On the other hand, I looked in my copy of the
Younger Eddas and found the passage in the Gylfaginning section there (about
ten pages from the beginning in my paperback copy).
(Note for those unacquainted with Norse mythology: There are two version of
the Eddas, the Elder or Poetic Edda, written in the 9th to 12th centuries,
and the Younger or Prose Edda, written in the 13th century. The Eddas are
Icelandic texts that are our main source of information about Norse
Are there any experts on the Eddas that can explain this discrepancy to me?
I believe the names for the Hobbit dwarves also occur in the Havamal,
sometimes subtitled "Sayings of the Wise One." The Prose Edda, which has
the section "Gylfaginning"--which means the deluding of Gylfi--that you
refer to, was written in the late (I believe) 13th century by Snorri
Sturluson; that Edda is a piece of literary criticism and "how to"
manual. The Eldar Edda, also called the Poetic Edda, though written
generally in the late 12th century, are texts/poems that probably were
first composed (orally, of course) much earlier, somewhere in the late
9th to early 13th centuries. I don't have the Prose Edda here at home,
so I can't really answer your specific question as to why the
Gylfaginning has the names and not the Poetic Edda. If I remember
correctly, however, the Gylfaginning is thought to be a rather old work,
probably late 10th to early 12th centuries.
PS: Would all people who submitted papers to Mythlore please contact me
via email? I had a harddisk failure and lost all my email addresses, so
I need you to contact me so I can contact you. Thanks. No, I did not
lose the papers; I had those backed up and hard copies. Also, anyone who
has submitted papers to Mythlore within the past two to three years is
encouraged to resubmit those papers directly to me. I am especially
interested in hearing from those of you who presented papers at the 97
and 98 Mythcons.
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- Wendell --
Oh, the dwarf names are in the Elder Edda all right, in the Voluspa
or "Song of the Sibyl". The problem is that some scholars consider
the passage to be an interpolation, and leave it out. What you need
is a better translation. I recommend the one by Paul B. Taylor and
some guy called W.H. Auden (Random House, 1969), if you can find a copy.
The appearance of the same passage in the Younger Edda is a _quote from_
the Elder Edda, and it says so right there. In my translation (Jean
Young, 1954), the quotes are prefaced "As it says in _The Sibyl's
Vision_ ..." and "And the sibyl gives these as their names ..."
- not responsible for the following advertisement -
- The Eldar Edda translation by Taylor and Auden is available online at:
> From: d.bratman@...
> Wendell --
> Oh, the dwarf names are in the Elder Edda all right, in the Voluspa
> or "Song of the Sibyl". The problem is that some scholars consider
> the passage to be an interpolation, and leave it out. What you need
> is a better translation. I recommend the one by Paul B. Taylor and
> some guy called W.H. Auden (Random House, 1969), if you can find a copy.
> The appearance of the same passage in the Younger Edda is a _quote from_
> the Elder Edda, and it says so right there. In my translation (Jean
> Young, 1954), the quotes are prefaced "As it says in _The Sibyl's
> Vision_ ..." and "And the sibyl gives these as their names ..."
> David Bratman
> - not responsible for the following advertisement -
> > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
- At 10:58 AM 10/27/1999 -0500, you wrote:
>From: Ted Sherman <tedsherman@...>Actually, this website contains a link to another website, this one here:
>The Eldar Edda translation by Taylor and Auden is available online at:
This is where the translation resides. The author of the website also has
it set up so you download the entire site and view it off-line.
The site mentioned by Ted also has a link to "The Havamal." For those
interested in rune-lore, this text is a good one.
Daffyd ap Morgen
> the Eldar EddaThis was the earliest version, the one compiled by the Elves. <g>
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- At 09:40 AM 10/25/99 +0200, Nagy Gergely wrote:
>From: Nagy Gergely <lamorak@....u-szeged.hu>EYE recently read Myths of the Norseman - Form the Eddas and Sagas by H. A.
>> I found (I believe it was in Humphrey Carpenter's
>> JRRT Bio.) that the names of Gandalf and Thorin and
>> Co. were originally names of Dwarves (Dwarfs?) in
>> Norse myth. Also interestingly enough, Elves
>> in Norse myth were (according to my trusty BULLFINCH'S
>> MYTHOLOGY) lesser dieties than gods.
>Yes indeed they were. An article in the journal Edda, sometime in the late
>80s, pointed out that all the Hobbit company of dwarves had names that
>actually appear in Norse myth. The article, by the way, is dedicated to
>explore the Northern influence on Tolkien, but does it in quite a
>defective way, finding that the appearance of horses in both corpora is
>surely a 'major parallelism'... not very professional, but interesting in
>places. I would rather advise to read its sources, though.
Guerber (originally in 1909) ISBN 0-486-27348-2. The reason EYE read this
work is that EYE have heard on various boards and lists that JRRT derived a
lot of his names and ideas from Norse Mythology.
Excerpts about Odin:
"... was generally represented as tall, vigorous man, about fifty years of
age, ... a long grey beard ..."
"He was clad in a suit of grey, with a blue hood ..."
"... generally carried the infallible spear Gungnir, ..."
" ... but when he wandered peacefully about the earth in human guise, ...
he generally donned a broad-brimmed hat, drawn low over his forehead ... "
EYE am amazed at the similarity in the feel of Norse Mythology and JRRT's
works. The above lines and phrases (a good parts version) kind of jumped
off the page as descriptions of Gandalf. EYE think JRRT admired the depth
of Norse Mythology and that it did impact his writing.
Well, there you go,