Nikki 's Reviews > Finn and Hengest: The Fragment and the Episode

Finn and Hengest by J.R.R. Tolkien
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's review
Oct 11, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: for-class, medieval-literature, non-fiction
Read on October 25, 2011

Don't pick up Finn and Hengest expecting a story -- not even in the same sense as Tolkien's The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun. It's mostly a collection of notes and lectures, edited for coherence, in which Tolkien pulled out the threads of what we know of Finn and Hengest from the fragments we have of poems referencing them, and tried to reconstruct the historical events being referred to.

It's very interesting work, and really fills me with awe at Tolkien's scholarship -- even more so than his work on Beowulf as a whole. And it's readable, too.

The volume includes both the Old English poetry, and at the back, a facing translation; in terms of Tolkien's notes, it includes a glossary of names, including analysis, an almost line-by-line commentary, and a reconstruction. If only Tolkien had prepared it for publication himself!
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