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The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún

The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún
The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún.jpg
AuthorJ.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.)
ReleasedMay 5th, 2009
FormatHardcover, Softcover, Audiobook

The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún is a collection of texts by J.R.R. Tolkien related to the Old Norse Völsungasaga, edited by Christopher Tolkien.


[edit] Overview

The main part of the book consists of two long poems: The New Lay of the Völsungs and The New Lay of Gudrún, with commentaries by Christopher Tolkien. The work also includes two shorter, related poems in Old English and an "Introduction to the 'Elder Edda'" (based on lecture manuscripts) by J.R.R. Tolkien.

[edit] Contents

  • Foreword (CT)
  • Introduction
    • Introduction (CT)
    • "Introduction to the Elder Edda" (JRRT)
    • Introductory notes (CT/JRRT)
  • Völsungskviða en nýja ('The New Lay of the Völsungs')
  • Commentary on Völsungskviða en nýja
  • Guðrúnarkviða en nýja ('The New Lay of Gudrún')
  • Commentary on Guðrúnarkviða en nýja
  • Appendices
    • (A) A Short Account of the Origins of the Legend
    • (B) The Prophecy of the Sibyl
    • (C) Fragments of a Heroic Poem of Attila in Old English

[edit] From the publisher

Excerpt from the original manuscript

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, Gudrún, 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 Volsungs and The New Lay of Gudrún.

In the Lay of the Volsungs is told the ancestry of the great hero Sigurd, the slayer of Fafnir most celebrated of dragons, whose treasure he took for his own; of his awakening of the Valkyrie Brynhild who slept surrounded by a wall of fire; and of his coming to the court of the great princes who were named the Niflungs (or Nibelungs), with whom he entered into blood-brotherhood. In that court there sprang great love but also great hate, brought about by the power of the enchantress, mother of the Niflungs, skilled in the arts of magic, of shape-changing and potions of forgetfulness. In scenes of dramatic intensity, of confusion of identity, thwarted passion, jealousy and bitter strife, the tragedy of Sigurd and Brynhild, and Gudrún his sister, mounts to its end in the murder of Sigurd at the hands of his blood-brothers, the suicide of Brynhild, and the despair of Gudrún.
In the Lay of Gudrún her fate after the death of Sigurd is told, her marriage against her will to the mighty Atli, ruler of the Huns (the Attila of history), his murder of her brothers, and her hideous revenge.

Deriving his version primarily from his close study of the ancient poetry of Norway and Iceland known as the Poetic Edda (and from the later prose work the Volsunga Saga), Tolkien employed a verse-form whose lines embody in English the exacting alliterative rhythms and the concentrated energy of the poems of the Edda.

[edit] Relation to the legendarium

While The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún is naturally not directly connected to the stories of Arda and Middle-earth, Christopher Tolkien notes a few related concepts which occur in the work:

A few other concepts also found in this work, from which Tolkien likely derived material for his legendarium, are worthy of note:

[edit] Editions

[edit] External links