The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun


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The world first publication of a previously unknown work by J.R.R. Tolkien, which tells the epic story of the Norse hero, Sigurd, the dragon-slayer, the revenge of his wife, Gudrun, and the Fall of the Nibelungs. "Many years ago, J.R.R. Tolkien composed his own version, now published for the first time, of the great legend of Northern antiquity, in two closely related poems to which he gave the titles The New Lay of the Voelsungs and The New Lay of Gudrun. In the Lay of the Voelsungs is told the ancestry ...

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Marie B

Feb 10, 2011


5 STAR SUPER FAST SVC -- Fast ship, 5 star, good condition, great price...


Jan 17, 2010

Successful retelling of Old Norse story

Tolkein?s The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun is a retelling of an Old Norse story that also forms the basis for Wagner?s Ring cycle (in this Sigurd and Gudrun are Siegfreid and Gutrune). Tolkein took the story from two sources: various poems in a manuscript called The Poetic Edda and the Volsunga Saga. The poems directly inspired the form of this poem, which is made up of stanzas of alliterative verse in an episodic and lyrical, rather than continuous, narrative.

The poems of the The Poetic Edda have various differing versions of the story and Tolkein chose from them one version to follow through. The Poetic Edda is also missing the central part of the story which Tolken then takes from the Volsunga Saga. Others will correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that of this poem about 30% is direct translation from the Old Norse and 70% is Tolkein, either paraphrasing or inventing.

The volume also contains copious background notes by Tolkein?s son Christopher, which quote various writing of Tolkein, including his useful description of Old English alliterative verse and metre.

I thought that Tolkein?s poem was very effective, and it is difficult to say where the Old Norse ends and Tolkein begins without consulting the notes, which is a mark of its quality. Only in a few places did the poem sound more C20 than C11 to me. I think that no-one will come away disappointed from this volume and it will be appreciated by poetry readers, Tolkein enthusiasts and Old Norse aficionados in equal measure.

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