Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Lullaby By Tolkien

I forgot to mention a book I finished about a month ago: another of the posthumously published Tolkien works, The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun. Written entirely in verse and based on Norse mythology versus the medieval nature of The Lord of the Rings, it was something I was slow to buy. Also slow because of the high price tag it had when it first came out, but eventually I was able to get it for $3 (new) on Amazon. Can't beat that.

Even Christopher Tolkien (in the introduction) admitted that certain parts of this book are next to impossible to understand, which is why he added in pages of commentary for each section. I didn't feel like reading those, though certainly not because I felt like I didn't need to: he was very correct in his statement. But rather than thinking about all of the plot details, I focused more on the poetic structure, the rhythm of the words. The lines are all very short, making for a format that looks simple yet is complicated. I read the book in the evening, letting the cadence of the words fall like a lullaby in my head.

It's definitely an experience I would recommend for fans of Tolkien (or of poetry). It's a chance to look at more from the man who placed songs of Luthien and Nimrodel and Gil-Galad inside of the text of The Lord of the Rings. It's, to me, a work from Tolkien the linguist.

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