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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
It has to be said that this is one of the most excellent and important of Tolkien's publications. The Verse (or Elder) Edda is, of course, one of the most significant pieces of home-grown Northern literature. The legend of Siegfried (i.e. Sigurd), and that of the Nibelungs have been immortalised in the Nibelungenlied as well as Wagner's operatic cycle of the Ring...
Published on 7 May 2009 by Mark Twain

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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Christopher Tolkien scratches the bottom of the barrel with this one
The original legend behind this is one of the all-time greats of literature, maybe even the Germanic world's greatest literary triumph. This book presents J.R.R. Tolkien's unpublished interpretation of the story, complete with scholarly commentary by his literary "curator" and son, Christopher Tolkien.

In writing 'The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun', Tolkien drew...
Published on 18 Nov 2010 by Alan the Kaz


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5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating read., 7 Mar 2013
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very pleased with the book, a brilliant addition to any Tolkien fans collection. also good for people with an interest in history.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Daunting, perhaps, but enticing, 7 Jun 2012
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J. R. P. Wigman "Hans Wigman" (Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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At the time of release I immediately purchased this book, lured by the promise of its content and the fact that I'm a great Tolkien fan (well, there are a few). Others books were first in line so I only recently began to read this eminently readable mythological tale set in a disciplined verse-form. At first these epic poems appeared to be hard to get into (especially when considering the amount of commentary) but I found the poems remarkably easy to read and their content mostly pretty clear - even without reference.

Apart from enjoying the ancient stories told herein it gave me some insight in the origins of Tolkien's own mythology - getting a sense of recognition as rings, dragons, isolated lands of the gods, magic swords and the like turn up. Even 'Mirkwood' is featured here!

Still, don't expect anything like The Lord of the Rings. This book is suitable only for those who like mythology and don't mind poems on an epic scale.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer beauty, 27 Dec 2010
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I started reading these two "Lays" by JRR Tolkien thinking they would help me understand ancient germanic poetry, which I'm interested in, and indeed, the book proved proved useful, especially the notes give you plenty of information on the technical aspects of this kind of poetry, on the myths it was based on, etc. What I had not foreseen was the poems could be so beautiful - let's face it, poems are not the best feature in The Lord of the Rings or the Hobbit, and most of the time we just skip them, don't we? But this is different - especially the New Lay of Sigurd, which tells the story of the hero Sigurd/Sigfried and of the curse brought by the Ring, shines with its images of ships, forests and valkyries, with vocabulary that comes straight down from Beowulf and the rest of the Germanic tradition, it is so beautiful it is breath-taking. It is difficult to read, it requires time as you have to work your way through the verse, but each lines deserves all the attention you give it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Easy to read considering..., 9 Sep 2009
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A departure from Tolkien's well known work "The Lord of The Rings" this is his re-writing of an original Norse legend that has been lost over time. Split into two sagas the legend is recounted in poetry. Throughout the book Tolkien (and Christopher Tolkien where it was unfinished) explains the meaning behind the poetry, the legend and the way it is structured. Very easy reading considering.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Legend of Siguard and Gudrun, 5 Mar 2012
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Mr. Mg Croman - See all my reviews
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Was bought as a gift.A very nice and well introduced book, looking forward to reading the two poems, from what I have read so far it is Tolkien at his best.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Germanic tale written in the Anglo-Saxon meter, 23 Nov 2011
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Edward A. Thomson (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This book is a difficult read but the effort is rewarded if you stick with it. It isn't really for fans of Tolkien's most famous works but rather it is for those that enjoy the old Germanic / Norse sagas. It is well known that Tolkien was a master of Germanic languages and drew upon this knowledge to create his most famous works. The evidence is clear from the character names in Lord of the Rings.

This book is written in the Anglo-Saxon meter which many will simply call poetry. While it is written in stanzas, I would say that the rules of this style are stricter than most forms of poetry. Consequently, not everything is spelled out exactly as it is so clearly in prose. While LOTR is easy to read, this is far more challenging. Having read a version of Beowulf in the Anglo-Saxon, I believe that Tolkien has mastered this style well. Sigurd and Gudrun has seemingly been adapted from lectures he gave and much of the editing has been done by the author, not his son. Tolkien's son, Christopher, provides fairly extensive notes on the work.

This is an essential work for appreciation of Tolkien's skill as a writer, it isn't necessary to read it if your interest in Tolkien is limited only to LOTR. Therefore I believe that people will become frustrated with the style if they have no real interest in the old sagas.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good read for Tolkien lovers, 15 Feb 2010
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Kelvin Philpott (UK) - See all my reviews
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The book arrived in short time and at a very decent price. If you like this type of book it is an absolute bargain from this supplier
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3 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars No match with the 1888 translation by Morris, 27 July 2009
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A book of interest, not so much on Sigurd and Gudrun as on J.R.R Tolkien himself. This is NOT a translation of the original Icelandic sagas, far from it. In fact it is a reduction of the original sagas to more or less an outline of the story. In order to make it logical, clear, J.R.R Tolkien just cuts off some episodes and some more or less important details. It is difficult to understand why, but it is a fact. It is thus not better than the standard translation by William Morris and Eirikr Magnusson of 1888 which remains the reference edition. Why did he cut off the important phase of Sigmund's life concerning the relations between Sigmund and his twin sister Signy and particularly the killing of the two batches of sons she had from Siggeir, her official husband? Why did he cut off the last episode of the saga which concerns the killing of Swanhild, the daughter of Gudrun and Sigurd, or Gudrun's revenge for the killing of Swanhild by Jormurek and the final death of the three sons she had from her last husband Jonakr. There is no reason to simplify the saga, to shorten it or simply to modify it if it amounts to cutting off episodes. The second remark about this text is that the form itself is not good. It does not retain the strength and the flowing rhythm of the original sagas. Its attempt to write it in an original poetic form may be close to the Old Norse form, but it does not have the power of this original story essentially because English is not Icelandic or Old Norse. The other attempts at adapting an English poetic form to these sagas was to use the ballad form and that is a lot more expressive of the toughness and roughness of the stories, as well as of the poetic lyricism of some sections. But J.R.R Tolkien did not make that choice that was made by some other translators of these sagas or other sagas. What's more the form J.R.R Tolkien uses is irregular as for the iambic or non-iambic lines, and there seems to be no reason whatsoever for this or these irregularity(ies). It is just an imperfect poetic adaptation. More surprising is the cutting off of the lyrical passages, such the lamentations of Gudrun after Sigurd's death and some other poignant episodes like this one, such as Brynhild's long song when she gives the drink of love to Sigurd and that describes in full detail the eight types of runes. We could go on for a long time about these shortcomings, short-makings and plain shortenings of the original tales by J.R.R. Tolkien. The point then about the book is why Tolkien's son finally published this draft translation that his father did not publish, especially with the enormous corpus of notes he adds. These notes make the book a reference book because it gives details about the tricky and complicated blood lines and relations among the numerous characters. It also explains the original poetic form of the sagas. But that is not enough as a motivation, especially since the cut episodes and elements are not provided nor indicated in any way. The last question then is why J.R.R. Tolkien himself did not publish this translation. It is quite obvious: it is not complete and it is not poetically perfect, or even good. Yet it is interesting to have that translation as some document about J.R.R. Tolkien's creative work and mind. It shows how his own literature was born. It becomes a document about J.R.R. Tolkien himself but not about the concerned sagas. Luckily J.R.R. Tolkien decided to drop the poetic form and wrote his own fantasies in prose. He was a lot more successful in that form than in poetry.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne, University Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines, CEGID
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4 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars unreadable poetry, 23 Oct 2010
As others have started off their reviews, I too am a huge fan of Tolkien and his works concerning Middle-Earth.
A recently released book "The Children of Hurin", I enjoyed reading, even though it was a bit of a "redo" of previous works.
Sadly this book failed to impress, for someone expecting a novel to read.
It's basically endless poetry related to Norse material, which in itself would probably have been an interesting tale, if it had been in standard novel form, but this poetry was awful and after a few goes at it, reading a few verses, I simply despaired.
Leave it on the shelf if you are expecting a novel.
Luckily I was bought this as a gift and was able to return it for something else...
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8 of 120 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars ITS A POEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1, 6 May 2009
You may like me be mislead by the write up on the book along with some of the other reviews.

ITS A POEM not a Story as you are lead to believe.

Waste of MONEY!!!! leave the greats to your dad Christopher

Victor Venom
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The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún
The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún by J. R. R. Tolkien (Hardcover - 5 May 2009)
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