Viking Language 1

 At Last! April 9, 2013
By P. Ian McLeod

At long last, we have a respectable modern textbook on the Old Norse Language. All previous resources were either out of print and prohibitively expensive used, or reprints of archaic grammars with outdated instruction methods. As an experienced language learner in general, I see everything here that I look for in a textbook. It reminds me a great deal of Wheelock's renowned textbook for Latin in both it's structure and teaching strategies. For those not in the know, that is a very good thing. Some will likely whine that the answer key (unreleased at time of writing) is sold separately, and I'm sure I'll find a flaw or two as I work through the book, but pickings are slim for Old Norse and such a giant leap forward in the field, by one of the world's most respected translators of Old Norse literature no less, deserves all the approbation it can get. I will likely replace this with a more thorough review once I have finished the course.

looks greatApril 24, 2013
By Christina Perez "Tora"

I just got this book for my fiancee, and I have to admit I was somewhat skeptical considering the price of it, but I thought I would give it a try. I'm pleasantly surprised so far.
Now, he hasn't gone through it yet, but just flipping through, this book is a large and thick paperback, and the pages are all black and white. The word density is pretty high, and there are tons of exercises and places to write and practice.

It looks like the book covers runes as well as language, and it looks like it has plenty of interesting illustrations, maps and little bits of history to keep everything interesting. I'll update this once we've cracked into the book a little bit, but for now I am impressed with the quality of the book.

wonderful book, highly recommend April 29, 2013
By pamela chase

it combines language, history, culture and even humor. you get a good sense of time, place, and how the language was used.
and why it is still relevant today. the writing style is very clear

Viking Language 1, April 30, 2013
By Eric Swanson

I really like this book. Jesse Byock answered all of my questions about how the vowel sounds were written. He also provides an excellent survey of Old Norse - and I thought Icelandic was complicated. This is an excellent teach yourself and how to book!


ALSO read this review by Nancy Marie Brown

Reviews of Jesse Byock's work

An Essential Read, June 8, 2008
By Mithridates VI of Pontus

This review is from: The Prose Edda: Norse Mythology (Penguin Classics)

This Penguin edition is absolutely wonderful (besides the lack of the List of Meters). The introduction covers all pertinent information including the historical background about Iceland and Norway, a brief section on Snorri Sturluson, questions of the Edda's authorship, analysis of each section, and the text's Christian influences. Also included are three illuminating Appendixes (about the Norse Cosmos, Kennings, and the sources of the Gylfaginning), a diagram of the World Tree, and a useful map. Although the Prose Edda often seems to didactic and encyclopedic for easy reading the myths are absolutely fascinating and clearly the Prose Edda is not only "Scandinavia's best known work of literature" but also "the most extensive source for Norse Mythology" (ix). A must buy for anyone interested in Norse Mythology and Medieval Icelandic Literature and history.


Ian Myles Slater on: An Attractive Alternative, February 3, 2006

By Ian M. Slater "aylchanan"

This review is from: The Prose Edda: Norse Mythology (Penguin Classics)

Jesse L. Byock, who has written some splendid works on medieval Iceland and the Sagas of the Icelanders, and translated two of the legendary sagas, as "The Saga of the Volsungs: The Norse Epic of Sigurd the Dragon Slayer" and "The Saga of Hrolf Kraki," the latter two both available as Penguin Classics, here offers a new translation of the most famous and entertaining parts of another Icelandic work, "The Prose Edda." The prose is lively and clear, and the translations of verse made with attention to the use made of the passages in the surrounding text. There are helpful notes, and a very useful index, giving proper Icelandic forms, including variants, for the usually Anglicized names.


From Library Journal

This review is from: Viking Age Iceland (Penguin History)

Byock (old Norse and medieval Scandinavian, UCLA; Medieval Iceland) here attempts to dispel some popular Viking stereotypes. The image of the Viking as a pitiless destroyer of monasteries and a pillager of towns must be amended, he argues, to include the creation of great literature, a republican form of government, and the mechanisms for conflict resolution. Byock presents the evolution of Viking Iceland from its settlement beginnings, to its flowering as a highly developed legislative body, to its dissolution at the hands of the conquering Norwegians, who imposed a monarchical government in the 1260s. Byock uses Icelandic sagas to illustrate Viking efforts toward a type of conflict resolution that would be least injurious to society as a whole. He also points out the roles that women and Christianity played in the evolution of what was, for a time, a progressive society. This work should appeal to both students and general readers with an interest in Viking-age Europe. Recommended for academic and larger public libraries. Robert James Andrews, Duluth P.L., MN

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


Essential Study Aid for Icelandic Sagas October 3, 2001
By Scott

This review is from: Viking Age Iceland (Penguin History)

Viking Age Iceland covers much of the same territory as Byock's earlier Medieval Iceland: Society, Sagas, and Power; however, it also includes some more detailed information about how the sagas reflect the society that created them.

Byock attempts to show how the (mostly) fictional sagas can still be used for historical study. Hidden within the fanciful tales are many details of Icelandic history and culture. Because of this, it is a mistake to dismiss the sagas when researching Icelandic history. That's Byock's premise anyway, and he argues it convincingly with numerous examples from the sagas that illuminate everything from the Iceland's legal system to the food the Icelanders ate to survive the long winters of isolation.

The book was worth its price for the maps of saga locations alone. There were also a number of sections that helped me to understand the social and personal motivations behind feuds and other elements in the sagas that were unclear to me without the better understanding of the way Iceland's society operated that I got from this book.

Whether you want to better understand the sagas or would like to know more about the history and culture of the Viking period, this is a must-read. The writing is clear and engaging, and the information presented by Byock is fascinating and seems to be very well researched.