Article number: 2340
The Saga of the Volsungs: The Norse Epic of Sigurd the Dragon Slayer
By Jesse L. Byock
Based on Viking Age poems, The Saga of the Volsungs combines mythology, legend and sheer human drama. At its heart are the heroic deeds of Sigurd the dragon slayer who acquires magical knowledge from one of Odin's Valkyries. Yet it is also set in a very human world, incorporating strands from the oral narratives of the fourth and fifth centuries, when Attila the Hun and other warriors fought on the northern frontiers of the Roman Empire. One of the great books of world literature, the saga is an unforgettable tale of princely jealousy, unrequited love, greed and vengeance. With its cursed treasure of the Rhine, sword reforged and magic ring of power, it was a major influence for writers including William Morris and J. R. R. Tolkein and for Wagner's Ring cycle.
Jesse Byock is Professor of Old Norse and Medieval Scandinavian Studies at the University of California(UCLA) and Prof. at UCLA's Cotsen Institute of Archaeology. He directs the Mosfell Archaeological Project in Iceland.
● Title: The Saga of the Volsungs
● Sub-title: The Norse Epic of Sigurd the Dragon Slayer
● By (author and translator): Jesse L. Byock
● ISBN: 9780520272996
● Pages: 160
● Language: English
● Format: Paperback
● Published: University of California Press, 2012
"This is a book of the highest importance. No one should attempt to teach about Viking society or claim to understand it without being familiar with this chilling and enduring myth." -- Eleanor Searle, author of Predatory Kinship & the Creation of Norman Power
"Byock's translation is excellent, but his thorough introduction is of equal scholarly importance. . . . His section on Richard Wagner's use of the Volsung material in writing his Ring will expand the topic toward modern Wagnerians." --Michael Bell, University of Colorado
"The Saga of the Volsungs is one of the most important texts of Old Icelandic literature, with its treatment of Old Scandinavian heroic traditions. . . . The most difficult part of the text to translate is, of course, the poetry, but also here the translator has been successful" --Vésteinn Olason, University of Oslo