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The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun (2009)

by J. R. R. Tolkien

Other authors: Christopher Tolkien (Editor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,236265,977 (3.93)1 / 39
Tolkien's version of the great legend of Northern antiquity. In the first part, we follow the adventures of Sigurd, the slayer of Fafnir, and his betrothal to the Valkyrie Brynhild. In the second, the tragedy 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.… (more)
  1. 40
    The Poetic Edda by Anonymous (guurtjesboekenkast)
    guurtjesboekenkast: De legende van Sigurd en Gudrún bevat twee epische gedichten die zijn gebaseerd op Oudnoorse mythen die bekendstaan als de Edda. Tolkien herschreef deze legende in twee modern Engelse gedichten. Samen vormen deze het verhaal van de drakendoder Sigurd, de wraak van Gudrún en de val van de Nibelungen.… (more)
  2. 30
    The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (guurtjesboekenkast)
  3. 30
    Nibelungenlied by Anonymous (ed.pendragon)
    ed.pendragon: The German High Medieval version of the tale that Tolkien renders into English.
  4. 10
    The Saga of the Volsungs by Anonymous (ed.pendragon)
    ed.pendragon: Worth comparing the original saga (in translation) with Tolkien's modern English version of the tale in verse.
  5. 00
    The Fall of Arthur by J. R. R. Tolkien (MissBrangwen)

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» See also 39 mentions

English (23)  Swedish (1)  French (1)  Italian (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (27)
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
  laplantelibrary | Mar 31, 2022 |
Another December, another Tolkien finished off my TBR! I had a lot more fun with last year’s Sir Gawain than I had with attempts to read more of the expanded Middle Earth stories, so this year I picked this collection which focuses on Tolkien’s adaptation of two Norse poems: the legends of Sigurd and Gudrun. Both of these poems are at least vaguely familiar to anyone who has dealt with Norse legends previously, but I found it fun reading Tolkien’s versions as his language is accessible, readable, and imbues the stories with a sense of gravity and adventure that is necessary in any retelling of these sorts of epic stories. As explained in the introductory material, the plot of the poems is less important than the feeling that they inspire, and it is that which Tolkien does so well. He explores themes of character, politics, and Norse society, all wrapped up in a mythological frame that is impossible not to be drawn into - even if we can’t remember all the small details of each poem. Much of the book was taken up with explanatory material, which was useful in getting a broader sense of the epic poems as a whole and making sense of the publication. Tolkien’s son Christopher, the editor, makes it clear that the poems are not finished (though relatively polished) pieces ready for publication, but they show Tolkien’s deep interest in the Nordic cultures and mythology that went to so much inspire his own writing which gives readers a deeper understanding of where his stories came from. Even if one can’t be bothered with all of Tolkien’s writing (and I admittedly am not a fan of the Hobbit nor of the expanded Middle Earth stories), the book still serves as an interesting version of some of the Norse myths and legends. ( )
  JaimieRiella | Feb 25, 2021 |
Mostly Christopher Tolkien's background and context to his father's versions of these two lays. Fine, but fairly forgettable. ( )
  JBD1 | Feb 13, 2021 |
A good read, but only because I knew the story already having read [b:The Saga of the Volsungs|593109|The Saga of the Volsungs|Anonymous|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1327881867s/593109.jpg|180373] immediately before it. I fear it may be a bit obtuse for anyone who comes at it freshly.

I especially enjoyed Tolkien's careful attention to the meter and alliteration. Christopher Tolkien provides a brief introduction about the meter (and other considerations); however, a bit longer introduction can be found in Tolkien's essay "On Translating Beowulf" in [b:The Monsters and the Critics and other Essays|7339|The Monsters And The Critics And Other Essays|J.R.R. Tolkien|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1327944948s/7339.jpg|2964050]. ( )
  octoberdad | Dec 16, 2020 |
Eski İskandinav destanlarını çok fazla şey öğrendim.Kitapta destanlar kısmı çok güzel ve akıcıydı ama destanların açıklama kısımlarında çok sıkıldım artık bitsin istememe rağmen açıklamalar okunmadan da destan çok iyi anlaşılmıyor.Destanları J.R.R Tolkien derlerken açıklamaları babasının ölümünden sonra Christopher Tolkien yazmış.Allah herkese Christopher Tolkien gibi evlat nasip etse kimse bu dünyadan gözü açık gitmez. ( )
  Tobizume | Jun 9, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
Nearly every parent, at one time or another, has had the experience of seeing a son or daughter eagerly unwrap a new toy, only to find that the child greatly prefers the box to the gift itself. This new poetry collection by John Ronald Reuel Tolkien . . . is a lot like the disappointing toy in the great box. To put it simply: The poetry is pretty bad, but the explanatory material that surrounds it--written by Ronald himself and his son Christopher--is good.

Unlike the low-rent fiction published under the names of such long-dead authors as Ian Fleming and V.C. Andrews, there's no doubt about the provenance of the poems in the collection. But by Christopher Tolkien's own account, there's no evidence that the elder Tolkien ever intended to have this work published, either. . . .

I've read substantially all of Tolkien's source material--some of it in the original languages--and still had to reread several times just to follow the plot. At more than one point, Christopher Tolkien's notes have to clarify who is taking a particular action and what is going on. Without them, the poems are almost impossible to decode. And sometimes it's pretty clear that the elder Tolkien simply left certain parts to finish later. . . .

Tolkien scholars and ardent Lord of the Rings fans may gain some insights into his fiction from reading these poems. The notes provide a very good introduction to the tradition that the elder Tolkien wrote in and, in any case, they're long enough to probably justify a look at the book. But the poems, while somewhat promising, are still in rough draft.
added by TomVeal | editThe Weekly Standard, Eli Lehrer (pay site) (Sep 21, 2009)
although Tolkien's meditations on Eddaic and heroic poetry are interesting, and although reading this book will certainly bring you closer to a number of interesting topics (the Volsung saga and the transmission of Old English and Old Norse poetry in particular)—it isn't in its own right a very effective piece of writing.

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
J. R. R. Tolkienprimary authorall editionscalculated
Tolkien, ChristopherEditorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
De Turris, GianfrancoForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sanderson, BillIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Valla, RiccardoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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1  Of old was an age
  when was emptiness,
  there was sand nor sea
  nor surging waves;
  unwrought was Earth,
  unroofed was Heaven -
  an abyss yawning,
  and no blade of grass.
In his essay On Fairy-Stories (1947) my father wrote of books that he read in his childhood, and in the course of this he said:
I had very little desire to look for buried treasure or fight pirates, and Treasure Island left me cool.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Tolkien's version of the great legend of Northern antiquity. In the first part, we follow the adventures of Sigurd, the slayer of Fafnir, and his betrothal to the Valkyrie Brynhild. In the second, the tragedy 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.

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Middle Earth author
resets ancient Norse sagas
in Modern English.

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