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4.0 out of 5 stars A Germanic tale written in the Anglo-Saxon meter, 23 Nov. 2011
This review is from: The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún (Hardcover)
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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Location: Glasgow, Scotland

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