Sources for Völundarkviða: when, where and why

Update, April 22, 2016:  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention:  the blog-post has been completed and published:


I know.  I know.  Some of you out there think I’ve been funnin’ you all with talk of writing a blog-post on the medieval Old Norse Poem Völundarkviða.  But the truth of the matter is, I opened up Pandora’s box with that one, and it’s turned out to be hugely more demanding than I was thinking when I first ran my mouth about having a post out by the end of February.  Below you will find a list of critical sources that will be cited in my forthcoming post.  One of those very important sources, Clive Tolley’s ‘Shamanism in Norse Myth and Magic,’ is still on its way to me from Finland as I write this here update.

If you’re not familiar with this Eddic poem, Wikipedia can give you a quick rundown:

and the excellent online site   has a good translation into English by Benjamin Thorpe:    (That site also has Eddic translations into other languages, German, Norse and Swedish:   )

I also do like Saul Bellows’ translation, offered in full by the excellent Eddic site:  and even prefer it with respect to one very critical verse, as I will discuss in the blog-post.

Two other translations I can recommend are Ursula Dronke’s, in her book ‘The Poetic Edda, Volume II, ‘Mythological Poems;’ and Lee F. Hollander’s, in his book ‘The Poetic Edda.’  Dronke’s translations are peerless, I think, and Volumes I and II of her ‘Poetic Edda’ contain painstaking, detailed notes.  Lee Hollander’s edition is much cheaper in price than Dronke’s, and he tries to replicate the metric patterns (which he also discusses in his introduction.)


Bradley, James L.  Legendary Metal Smiths and Early English Literature.  Phd thesis, Philosophy, Leeds, 1987:

Bek-Pedersen, Karen.  The Norns in Old Norse Mythology.  Dunedin Academic Press Ltd, 2011

Boethius, King Alfred’s Version of the Consolations of Boethius. Done into Modern English, with an Introduction by Walter John Sedgefield Litt.D.  Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1900     Free online edition of Walter John Sedgefield’s translation rendering into modern English of King Alfred’s 9th century ersion of the Consolations of Boethius:

Carlisle, Timothy.  The role and status of the smith in the Viking age. MPhil (Research) thesis, University of Glasgow  Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Arts, 2013    :

Cleasby, Richard.  Icelandic-English Dictionary enlarged and completed by Gudbrand Vigfusson.  Oxford, at the Clarendon Press, 1869

Dronke, Ursula (1)  ‘Völundarkviða,’ in The Poetic Edda Volume II Mythological Poems I.  Edited, translated and commentary by Ursula Dronke, pages 241 – 328.  Clarendon Press, Oxford,  1997

Dronke, Ursula (2)  ‘Hávamál,’ in The Poetic Edda. Volume III Mythological Poems I, edited, translated and commentary by Usula Dronke.  p. 3 – 63.  Oxford University Press, 2011

Dronke, Ursula  (3)  ‘Atlakaviða, in   The Poetic Edda Volume 1 Heroic Poems, Edited with Translation, Introduction and Commentary by Ursula Dronke.  p. 3 – 74.   Oxford University Press, 1969

Egil’s Saga, translated by Bernard Scudder, in The Sagas of Icelanders:  A Selection.  p. 3 – 184.  Penguin Books, 2001

Ellis Davidson, H.R. ‘Weland the Smith.’ Article in Folklore, Vol. 69, No. 3. (Sep., 1958), pp. 145-159.  :

Flowers, Stephen E. and Chisholm, James A.  A Source-Book of Seið.  Lodestar, 2014

Gardeła, L. (2008) Into Viking Minds: Reinterpreting the Staffs of Sorcery and Unraveling Seiðr, Viking and Medieval Scandinavia 4, 45-84.

Grimm, Jacob.  Teutonic Mythology Vol. III 2nd Edition.  George Bell and Sons, London, 1844

Grimstad, Kaaren.  ‘The Revenge of Völundr,’ in Edda:  A Collection of Essays.  Edited by R.J. Glendinning and Haraldur Bessason, pages 187 – 209.  University of Manitoba Press 1983

Hall, Alaric.  Elves in Anglo-Saxon England:  Matters of Belief, Health, Gender and Identity.  Anglo-Saxon Studies 8.  Boydell & Brewer, Suffolk, 2007

Hall, John R. Clark.  A Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary 2nd Ed.  Cambridge University Press at MacMillan, 1916

Heide, Eldar.  ‘Spinning seiðr,’ in Old Norse religion in long-term perspectives.  Anders Andrén, Kristina Jennbert & Catharina Raudvere (eds).  Pages 164 – 170.  Nordic Academic Press, 2006.  Eldar’s article is available online:,%20Lund%20conf%20Heide.pdf

Helmbrecht, Michaela.  ‘A winged figure from Uppåkra,’ 2012.

Jesch, Judith.  ‘Skaldic verse in Scandinavian England,’ in  Vikings and the Danelaw.  Edited by James Graham-Campbell, Richard Hall, Judith Jesch and David N. Parsons.  pages  313 – 325.  Oxbow Books, 2001

Larson, Laurence Marcellus.  The Earliest Norwegian Laws.  Columbia University Press, 1935

McKinnell, John (1).  ‘Völundarkviða:  Origins and Interpretation,’ in  Essays on Eddic Poetry by John McKinnell.  Edited by Donata Kick and John D. Shafer.  University of Toronto Press, 2014

McKinnell, John (2).  ‘The Context of Völundarkviða,’ in Vol. XXIII of the ‘Saga-Book of the Viking Society,’ 1990 – 93, pages 1 – 27, (available for free online here:  or the searchable version:

McKinnell, John (3).  ‘Eddic poetry in Anglo-Scandinavian northern England,’ in  Vikings and the Danelaw.  Edited by James Graham-Campbell, Richard Hall, Judith Jesch and David N. Parsons.  Pages  327 – 344.  Oxbow Books, 2001

McKinnell, John (4).  Meeting the Other in Norse Myth and Legend.  D.S. Brewer Cambridge, 2005

McKinnell, John (5), ‘The Context of Völundarkviða,’ in The Poetic Edda:  Essays on Old Norse Mythology.  Edited by Paul Acker and Carolyne Larrington.  Pages 195 – 212.  Routledge, 2013 (paperback edition)

North, Richard (1).  ‘Deor,’ and ‘The Lay of Wayland,’ in The Longman Anthology of Old English, Old Icelandic and Anglo-Norman Literatures.  Pages 101 – 117.  Pearson Education Limited, 2011

North, Richard (2).  Heathen Gods in Old English Literature.  Cambridge Studies in Anglo-Saxon England 22.  Cambridge University Press, 2006 paperback version of 1997 publication

Peters, Edward.  ‘The Medieval church and state on superstition, magic and witchcraft:  from Augustine to the sixteenth century,’ in Witchcraft and Magic in Europe:  the Middle Ages.  Bengt Ankarloo and Stuart Clark, editors.  University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002.  Pages 173 – 245

Raudevere, Catharina.  ‘Trolldómr in Early Medieval Scandinavia,’ in Witchcraft and Magic in Europe:  the Middle Ages.  Bengt Ankarloo and Stuart Clark, editors.  University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002.  Pages 73 – 171

Richards, Julian D.  ‘Finding the Vikings:  the search for Anglo-Scandinavian rural settlement in the northern Danelaw,’ in Vikings and the Danelaw.  Edited by James Graham-Campbell, Richard Hall, Judith Jesch and David N. Parsons.  pages  269 – 277  Oxbow Books, 2001

Spinage, Clive.  Myths and Mysteries of Wayland Smith.  The Wychwood Press, 2003

Sturluson, Snorri.  Heimskringla:  History of the Kings of Norway.  Translated by Lee M. Hollander.   University of Texas Press at Austin, 2013

Toller, C. Northcote.  An Anglo-Saxon Dictionary, based on the manuscript collections of the late Joseph Bosworth, edited and enlarged by C. Northcote Toller.   Oxford at Clarendon, 1819

Wagner, Leopold.  Manners, Customs and Observances, Their Origin and Signification.  MacMillan and Co, 1895

Tolley, Clive.  Shamanism in Norse Myth and Magic, Volumes I and II  (FF Communications, vol. cxliv2, no 297)  Academia Scientiarum Fennica (2009)

Vigfússon, Gudbrand and Powell, F. York, editors and translators.  Corpus Poeticum Boreale, The Poetry of the Old Northern Tongue, from the Earliest Times to the Thirteenth Century, Vol. II, Court Poetry.   Oxford at Clarendon, 1883

Front of the Franks casket, from a picture By Michel wal (travail personnel (own work)), CC BY-SA 3.0, $3, creative attribution, share-alike license, via ; plume from ‘Pandora’s Box’ by


About Marnie Tunay

I'm not here much at the moment. You can visit my web-sites to learn more about me.
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1 Response to Sources for Völundarkviða: when, where and why

  1. Pingback: Völundarkviða: when, where and why | Fakirs Canada

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