As soon as I found this hardbound edition in the bookstore, I snapped it up. This 350-page book contains J.R.R. Tolkien's interpretation of the two an...moreAs soon as I found this hardbound edition in the bookstore, I snapped it up. This 350-page book contains J.R.R. Tolkien's interpretation of the two ancient epic poems from the Poetic Edda of the Icelandic peoples. Tolkien's son, Christopher has compiled and edited his father's work on the "Lay of the Volsungs" and the "Lay of Gudrun." This is earthy and spare poetry; rich in story and tradition; and provides a tangible connection to our ancestors and their mythology more than a thousand years ago. This is a book to read, re-read, and study; and, I have to say, it somehow feels canonical, as "Beowulf" is considered to be. Christopher Tolkien's notes and comments on his father's work help place these poems in their proper context. Finally, I see that some of the ideas and concepts developed in Tolkien's fiction are the direct result of his life-long fascination and study of the Poetic Edda. I highly recommend this book; it is real a treasure!(less)
This review is associated with the original Middle English text of the poem that was edited by J.R.R. Tolkien and E.V. Gordon in 1925, and reedited an...moreThis review is associated with the original Middle English text of the poem that was edited by J.R.R. Tolkien and E.V. Gordon in 1925, and reedited and reissued by Norman Davis in 1967--
If you're at all interested in studying the original Middle English text of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight this is the edition for you. The Introduction, glossary, and index are superb. I used this edition over several weeks in an ongoing effort to study and learn Middle English. This is a hard book to find too, so snap it up if you come across a copy.(less)
This review is associated with J.R.R. Tolkien's translation--
In my opinion, this is one of the best translations of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight ou...moreThis review is associated with J.R.R. Tolkien's translation--
In my opinion, this is one of the best translations of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight out there. Tolkien was a master of writing alliterative poetry (e.g., see his long epic poems published in The Lays of Beleriand), and also spent time in the 1920s editing the original Middle English text of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight with E.V. Gordon (Sir Gawain and the Green Knight). This was a very well-crafted translation and fun to read.(less)
I originally read The Silmarillion shortly after it was first published in 1977, and while I remember enjoying it, I don't remember being terribly imp...moreI originally read The Silmarillion shortly after it was first published in 1977, and while I remember enjoying it, I don't remember being terribly impressed. Clearly, I am a different reader now than I was then. This is an amazing book on so many levels, and I actually believe that I have read it at just the perfect time in my life. First, I have always enjoyed Tolkien-the-poet, and this extensive mythology that he has created with The Silmarillion just sheds ever so much light on his poetic influences, style, and his poetic voice. Second, I have come to very much appreciate and admire Tolkien-the-linguist, and The Silmarillion is a linguist's dream-come-true, as he brings the cultures of his world alive through his writing and careful attention to language(s). Finally, if you truly want to fully experience his monumental saga, The Lord of the Rings (LotR), then a close and careful reading of The Silmarillion is a prerequisite. Even after reading the LotR some half-a-dozen times over the course of my adult life, I was stunned at how many "ah, so that's what happened", or "oh, that's the back-story of so-and-so" moments I had as I read The Silmarillion. For the first time in my life, I think I can finally put the LotR in its proper context, as I am sure that J.R.R. Tolkien desired for his readers.
I have to say too, that I think my time spent reading much of the classic ancient Greek, Norse, and Celtic mythology and literature also lent itself to a more enjoyable experience for me as I read The Silmarillion. While certainly not required by any means, it made me very comfortable in allowing myself to effortlessly become completely immersed in the mythology and characters of Tolkien's world. Just as understanding the cosmogony and mythology of the ancient Greek world has illuminated my reading of the poetry of Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, so has The Silmarillion illuminated and informed my reading of The Children of Hurin and the LotR. In fact, I realize that I now need to reread both of these works again in the near future. Finally, because of my reading of The Silmarillion, I became aware of and have just ordered a hard-bound copy of Tolkien's "History of Middle Earth--Volume 3", The Lays of Beleriand, as this volume contains his two long epic poems, the Lay of the Children of Hurin and the Lay of Leithian. These are both supposed to be simply brilliant poems.(less)