19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
My favourite part of 'The History of Middle-Earth',
This review is from: The Lays of Beleriand (The History of Middle-earth, Book 3) (Paperback)
It is just two poems - unfinished - plus fragments of several more abandoned after a couple of pages, and loads of editorial info on top of that.
Yes, but - this is gorgeous writing. The pain of Túrin is as real and gripping as the 'Silmarillion' account was factual and distant, and the love of Beren and Lúthien shines with the power unrivalled in the rest of Tolkien's writing. And that's saying a lot! The unfinished aspect of the works just serves as a reminder of the difficulty with which work of this magnitude is achieved - as well as the fragility of creative impulse that sustains it.
Rather than despair over what is left unsaid, I find myself turning to this book more often than to 'The Lord of the Rings' - the power and the relative brevity (so that much can be ingested in one sitting - the verse is extremely readable) of the works make me fall instantly in love with them every time!
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Initial post: 15 Apr 2009 15:12:51 BDT
For the most part I agree with your review, however I can see that the common criticisms of Tolkien's verse are valid - he has a tendency to use every trick in the book in order to keep the meter and rhyme scheme going (repetition, irrelevant asides, unnecessary `do/doth/did's). Particularly in the case of the Turin poem - perhaps it was inevitable that his desire to emulate the Anglo-Saxon alliterative epics (i.e Beowulf) would impel him to bite off more than he could chew, technically speaking.
Having said all that, these poems are arguably the best way to experience certain parts of those particular stories.
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