The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún
|The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún|
Houghton Mifflin (US)
|Released||5 May 2009|
|Format||Hardcover; paperback; deluxe edition|
|Preceded by||The Children of Húrin (2007)|
|Followed by||The Fall of Arthur (2013)|
The two poems that make up most of the book were probably written during the 1930s, and were inspired by the legend of Sigurd and the fall of the Niflungs in Norse mythology. Both poems are in a form of alliterative verse. Christopher Tolkien has added copious notes and commentary to the work.
The book contains two long poems: The New Lay of the Völsungs and The New Lay of Gudrún, with commentaries by Christopher Tolkien.
The book 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.
- The "Elder Edda" by J.R.R. Tolkien
- Introductory notes
- Völsungskviða en nýja ("The New Lay of the Völsungs")
- Upphaf (Beginning)
- I. Andvari's Gold
- II. Signý
- III. The Death of Sinfjötli
- IV. Sigurd Born
- V. Reign
- VI. Brynhild
- VII. Gudrún
- VIII. Brynhild Betrayed
- IX. Strife
- Commentary on Völsungskviða en nýja
- Guðrúnarkviða en nýja ("The New Lay of Gudrún")
- Commentary on Guðrúnarkviða en nýja
- 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
From the publisher
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 Völsungs and The New Lay of Gudrún.
In the Lay of the Völsungs is told the ancestry of the great hero Sigurd, the slayer of Fáfnir 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 their betrothal; 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, of Gunnar the Niflung 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 the Niflung lords, 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 where no old poetry exists, from the later prose work the Völsunga Saga), J.R.R. Tolkien employed a verse-form of short stanzas whose lines embody in English the exacting alliterative rhythms and the concentrated energy of the poems of the Edda.”
Relation to the legendarium
- Wargs (p. 373, note 37)
- Ents (p. 376, note 17)
- Túrin slaying Morgoth or Ancalagon the Black in the Dagor Dagorath resembles Sigurd killing Miðgarðsormr (p. ??, "Commentary on Völsungskviða en nýja", "Upphaf")
- Manwë is compared to Odin, father of the gods. (p. ??, "Commentary on Völsungskviða en nýja", "Upphaf")
A few other concepts also found in this work, from which Tolkien likely derived material for his legendarium, are worthy of note:
Publication history and gallery
- HarperCollins hardcover (May 2009), pp. 384. ISBN 0007317239
- HarperCollins hardcover with slipcase (May 2009), ISBN 0007317255
- HarperCollins paperback (April 2010), ISBN 0547394578
- 2010 edition ?th impression (?) paperback
- Tom Shippey, Review of the book, Tolkien Studies. 7
- The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún: A prose account of the story by Christopher Tolkien at tolkienestate.com
- Christopher Tolkien answers questions about Sigurd and Gudrún