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Old 01-06-2009, 06:52 AM   #1
davem
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Oh My Goodness Me!!!

http://www.thebookseller.com/news/73781-page.html

HarperCollins is to publish a new book by the late Lord of the Rings author J R R Tolkien. The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún, edited and introduced by Tolkien’s son Christopher, will be published in hardback in May 2009.

The previously unpublished work was written while Tolkien was professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford University during the 1920s and '30s, before he wrote The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The publication will make available for the first time Tolkien’s extensive retelling in English narrative verse of the epic Norse tales of Sigurd the Völsung and the Fall of the Niflungs.

Christopher Tolkien edited Tolkien's most recent title The Children of Húrin in 2007.

Further details about the contents of the book will be revealed closer to publication.
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Old 01-06-2009, 08:47 AM   #2
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Oh my goodness me indeed!
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Old 01-06-2009, 09:11 AM   #3
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Assuming it's true (forgive the skepticism, but there are a lot of false rumours), you beat TheOneRing.net to the story!
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Old 01-06-2009, 09:45 AM   #4
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Thumbs up

Given some of the similarities in the stories, it doesn't surprise me that this is coming out now, with Children of Hurin still fresh in our minds. Wasn't this one of Tolkien's favourite stories as a child? I seem to recall reading that, but it's been a while since I read a proper biography...
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Old 01-06-2009, 11:01 AM   #5
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But - but it's not even close to April 1st yet!
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Old 01-06-2009, 11:04 AM   #6
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Don't know if anyone recalls William Cloud Hicklin mentioning on another thread that CT was working on a volume of his father's verse - looks like this is it. I've been wanting to read Tolkien's 'New Volsungasaga' since it was mentioned in Carpenter's biography.
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Old 01-06-2009, 01:00 PM   #7
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Definitely happening:

http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/press/...urd_Gudrun.php

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David Brawn, the publishing director of HarperCollins UK, said: "It is an entirely unpublished work, dates from around the early 1930s, and will be published - all being well - in May this year. Otherwise the clue as to what the book will contain is in the title - THE LEGEND OF SIGURD AND GUDRUN. You will surmise from this that it is not a Middle-earth book, but we are confident that Tolkien fans will be fascinated by it."
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Old 01-06-2009, 02:10 PM   #8
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This won't be a translation, will it? A Tolkien retelling in his own narrative style?
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Old 01-06-2009, 02:17 PM   #9
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Cheers for the heads-up davem!

Looking forward to this one, especially as I've been remiss in reading any Norse legends!
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Old 01-06-2009, 02:17 PM   #10
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Found this, which speculates on the new book http://lingwe.blogspot.com/2009/01/n...is-summer.html
Quote:
I suspect this work must be the “long unpublished poem entitled ‘Volsungakviða En Nyja’, probably written in the late 1920s or early 1930s. Tolkien described it, in a letter to [W.H.] Auden dated 29 January 1968, as ‘written in fornyrðislag 8-line stanzas in English: an attempt to organize the Edda material dealing with Sigurd and Gunnar’”
Maybe we can look forward to 'The Fall of Arthur' next?
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Old 01-06-2009, 02:23 PM   #11
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Wait... so even more quotes to search for in "Minor Works"?

I don't know if I'll read it only because it is by Tolkien... I'll look up the reviews first and read other opinions and then decide if it's worth buying.
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Old 01-06-2009, 05:02 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by The Might View Post

I don't know if I'll read it only because it is by Tolkien... I'll look up the reviews first and read other opinions and then decide if it's worth buying.
Its not another Children of Hurin, certainly. It belongs with Tolkien's translations of Gawain, Pearl & Orfeo. That said, its the tale of Sigurd & Fafnir the Dragon, & as Tolkien wrote:

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"Best of all [was] the nameless North of Sigurd of the Völsungs, and the prince of all dragons. Such lands were pre-eminently desirable. I never imagined that the dragon was of the same order as the horse. And that was not solely because I saw horses daily, but never even the footprint of a worm. The dragon had the trade-mark Of Faerie written plain upon him. In whatever world he had his being it was an Other-world. Fantasy, the making or glimpsing of Other-worlds, was the heart of the desire of Faërie. I desired dragons with a profound desire. Of course, I in my timid body did not wish to have them in the neighborhood, intruding into my relatively safe world, in which it was, for instance, possible to read stories in peace of mind, free from fear. But the world that contained even the imagination of Fáfnir was richer and more beautiful, at whatever cost of peril."On Fairy Stories
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Old 01-06-2009, 06:25 PM   #13
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Wait... so even more quotes to search for in "Minor Works"?
Some day, you might even have to add Tolkien's translation of Beowulf, just to mix up the lines from sagas, to the quote games, although of course after first deciding what is a minor work and what is a major work.
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Old 01-07-2009, 01:55 AM   #14
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Some day, you might even have to add Tolkien's translation of Beowulf,
i want to read his two versions of Beowulf so bad i'm actually pretty ticked off at his estate for not publishing it yet. But it's good to here that some more tolkien is coming out and i'll be sure to snatch this up right away. Also good to hear that Christopher is behind it, but i still think the two beowulfs should have been published long ago.
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Old 01-07-2009, 06:58 AM   #15
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Guardian feature http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009...n-norse-legend
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Old 01-07-2009, 03:34 PM   #16
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This is great news!

I cannot wait. I love Norse Mythology.
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Old 01-20-2009, 09:03 AM   #17
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Yep, this is the 'verse' I was talking about. But I couldn't at the time be other than vague and let the cat out of the bag.


Beowulf- well, there are issues surrounding that text, and I don't know if CT has the energy left to address them. There may be a certain hope for The Fall of Arthur, and I've been on him to republish Aotrou and Itroun, since it's not like many of us have ever seen that back number of the extinct Welsh Review.
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Old 01-20-2009, 09:23 AM   #18
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I will probably buy and read it, but I am slightly annoyd because it will take up some of the time I wanted to use on reading Saxo, Sven Aggesøn, Arild Huitfeldt and the Sagas
(And Grundtvig's tranlation of Beowulf)
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Old 02-04-2009, 11:59 AM   #19
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Ok, this is the deluxe ed, but I'm assuming publication date for the standard ed is going to be the same - 5/5/9

http://www.harpercollins.co.uk/Conte...px?objId=48715

Quote:
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 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 Völsunga 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. This ancient poetry remained a deep force in Tolkien's life's work. Here, at last, is presented the source of the wellspring that would lead to The Hobbit and The Children of Húrin. It is the first full flourishing of a rich narrative style and powerful, dramatic storytelling that was destined to become famous throughout the world.
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Old 02-04-2009, 02:41 PM   #20
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I’ll definitely have to get this book then. I love his translations - the ones I’ve got to read at least, which are Sir Ofero, Gawain and the Green Night, and Pearl. The fact that this appears to be his own version of it and not a straight translation can only make it better.

Like many others I would love to see his translation of Beowulf, just to see if it is better (more approachable I guess) than the other translations I’ve seen so far, in the relatively secluded area I live in - in which my only hope of getting a translation of Beowulf may be if it gets published as a book by the Tolkien Estates. But at the same time I can understand that it might be impossible to publish. And hey maybe if they don’t I can do my own translation in a few decades - seriously obsessed language student here.
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Old 03-13-2009, 12:04 PM   #21
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Here's an update on the FOUR alternative editions of Sigurd & Gudrun http://tolkien.co.uk/pages/interestcaptureform.aspx
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Old 03-16-2009, 08:04 AM   #22
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Its not another Children of Hurin, certainly. It belongs with Tolkien's translations of Gawain, Pearl & Orfeo
Not exactly. Those were translations of existing Middle English poems. Sigurd and Gudrun are Tolkien's original retellings (in verse) of a pre-existing story, not simply translations of the very confused pieces found in the Poetic Edda and the (prose) Volsungasaga. This would be more like Morris' 'retelling,' except making use of the Old Norse verse-form.
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Old 03-18-2009, 08:51 PM   #23
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Originally posted by:
William Cloud Hicklin:

Quote:
Sigurd and Gudrun are Tolkien's original retellings (in verse) of a pre-existing story, not simply translations of the very confused pieces found in the Poetic Edda and the (prose) Volsungasaga.
So much the better. Essentially (sort of . . .) an original Tolkien work, new to publication. What more could we ask for?

Can't wait!
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Old 03-18-2009, 11:35 PM   #24
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And Amazon now has the cover picture. Amazingly it is not illustrated by Alan Lee..........
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Old 03-19-2009, 12:19 AM   #25
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FWIW, the cover photo is a detail of the 'Sigurd Portal' from the 13th-c. stave church at Hylestad, Norway. The image is Sigurd's horse, Grani, laden with the late Fafnir's treasure.
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Old 05-03-2009, 01:58 AM   #26
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Three reviews

Positive , from John Garth http://entertainment.timesonline.co....cle6193162.ece in the Times

& negative (overall - more damning with faint praise because he likes bits of it), from Mark Sanderson http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/b...en-review.html in the Telegraph

& one somewhere in the middle http://www.deseretnews.com/article/1...300839,00.html (likes the poems but not the 'scholarly stuff'
Quote:
It's great fun to read new work from such a beloved author. Unfortunately commentary makes up the majority of "The Legend," becoming a slog as the reader fights through a textbook of sorts to get to the meat. Additional information and clarification is appreciated, but many will find a light skim of the "extra" material sufficient.

Last edited by davem; 05-03-2009 at 02:05 AM.
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Old 05-03-2009, 09:47 AM   #27
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I suspect that Mark Sanderson of The Telegraph was simply doing his darnedest to work up to a line he couldn't resist.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sanderson review
there is no disguising the fact that everyone involved is simply flogging a dead Norse.
That's a line that would make some Downers proud. However, his premise is rather wrong. Christopher Tolkien was editing and publishing his father's works long before Jackson's film came out, so I doubt that the popularity of the film is what solely motivated this publication. Chances are it would have come out anyway, just likely in a different form, published in a scholarly journal perhaps or a festschrift to the arcane things medieval scholars do (did) rather than in a HarperCollins book.

John Garth's review in The Times is the one for those who know the most about Tolkien the writer and the one which most persuades me that the reviewer knows a bit about what he writes--there's actually a point of view in there that one could have a decent discussion over. But then, I'm not movie-inspired, and Sanderson and Harrison are writing to that crowd.
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Old 05-03-2009, 10:46 AM   #28
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Sanderson's scurrilous point is rather undermined by the fact that Sigurd and Gudrun were originally prepared for publication in the mid-1980's- years and years before the Jackson movies.

Truth be told, CT is bringing them out now because some of us asked him to.

(Sanderson also betrays his ignorance by calling Gudrun Sigurd's "sister"- she is of course Gunnar's sister and Sigurd's widow.)
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Old 05-03-2009, 10:58 AM   #29
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Here's another, from a source predisposed to be favorable:

http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/press/...and_Gudrun.php
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Old 05-05-2009, 05:37 AM   #30
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Christopher Tolkien Q&A

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009...rd-gudrun-poem
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Old 05-05-2009, 08:39 AM   #31
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More reviews-

Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...050403462.html


CanWest News: http://www.canada.com/Beyond+Middle+...346/story.html

Library Journal: http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6655942.html
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Old 05-05-2009, 10:33 AM   #32
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New Sigurd & Gudrun section at the official Estate website!

http://www.tolkienestate.com/sigurd-and-gudrun/
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Old 05-05-2009, 04:28 PM   #33
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Just bought it! Though I won't have a chance to start on it in earnest until tomorrow, I have read Christopher Tolkien's Foreword. First impressions: The lays themselves are shorter than I expected; each 'half-line' is actually printed as a separate line, and there are only 24 per page. I for one am very glad that the book is filled out with Christopher's commentary and with material from Tolkien's lectures on Old Norse. The book has a very nice look and feel, and the wood-carving-style drawings preceding each section are a nice touch.
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Old 05-05-2009, 11:41 PM   #34
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The book has a very nice look and feel, and the wood-carving-style drawings preceding each section are a nice touch.
I'm assuming the Houghton Mifflin edition is superior to the Harper Collins 'hardback' (ie'paperback with thick card covers') production then - the HC glued binding is so bad (which I'd feared would be the case, sadly, after their 70th anniversary Hobbit 'hardback') that I'm afraid to open it to more than forty-five degrees in case it breaks in half
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Old 05-06-2009, 06:24 AM   #35
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William Cloud Hicklin is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.William Cloud Hicklin is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
It certainly seems to be the case over the last several years that H-M's North American editions are superior, physically, to the very cheap binding used by HC UK.
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Old 05-06-2009, 07:48 AM   #36
davem
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davem is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.davem is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Tom Shippey in the Times Literary Suppliment http://entertainment.timesonline.co....cle6232731.ece
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Old 05-07-2009, 07:51 PM   #37
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The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún: Pre- and Reviews

Below find the complete review by Shippey of Tolkien's 'THE LEGEND OF SIGURD AND GUDRÚN' in the Times Literary Supplement Online. It carries the heavy-handed (almost Wagnerian) title "Tolkien out-Wagners Wagner":

http://entertainment.timesonline.co....MC-Bltn=PMUFMA

Very intriguing and deep. Not for the faint of heart, but quite interesting to this English Major. I'm sure not everyone will find the implications of the use of parataxis and asyndeton fascinating, I do.
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Old 05-09-2009, 04:39 PM   #38
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Went to buy it today but it's not available here yet. It will probably get here at the end of May or start of June. I realise I could order online but I like the old-fasioned way. I think this is the first time I've been eagerly awaiting a book's release.
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Old 05-12-2009, 11:42 AM   #39
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Lalaith is a guest at the Prancing Pony.Lalaith is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Just bought it today. One thing I'm wondering about...why is Gudrun spelt with the Icelandic ú but not also ð?

It should either be Gudrun (German) or Guðrún (Icelandic/Norse).
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Old 05-12-2009, 11:45 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davem View Post
I'm assuming the Houghton Mifflin edition is superior to the Harper Collins 'hardback' (ie'paperback with thick card covers') production then - the HC glued binding is so bad (which I'd feared would be the case, sadly, after their 70th anniversary Hobbit 'hardback') that I'm afraid to open it to more than forty-five degrees in case it breaks in half
I havent ordered this yet - I wonder if there is a way of getting an US edition shipped? Or would it have funky spelling...?
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