Production of the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda

The picture shows a page of the manuscript of the prose Edda

The Prose Edda, written by Snorri Sturluson (1179-1241), is one of the main sources of Norse mythology in Icelandic literature. Then there is the Poetic (or Elder) Edda, a source used by Snorri in the creation of his Edda, compiled around the 1270s by an anonymous writer. It contains mythological information of the period before the conversion to Christianity. Both sources were relevant to Tolkien: here can be found the earliest accounts of elves and dwarves.

In the Poetic Edda we found sixteen dwarves names that are also present in The Hobbit and from the Prose Edda we receive two additional names. Moreover, the typical dwarf characteristics such as short stature with long beards, love for treasure, skill as smiths, and bad temper comes from the Eddas. In one of his letter to his son Christopher, Tolkien called Gandalf “Odinic wanderer”, one of the deities of the Norse mythology. Furthermore, all the wizards seem to have some characteristics who link them to Norse gods: Gandalf from Odin, Saruman from Loki, Radagast from the God Frey.

Associated Place(s)

Event date:

circa. 1200