Beren and Lúthien

Beren and Lúthien

Book - 2017 | First U.S. edition
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The tale of Beren and Lúthien was part of The Silmarillion, the myths and legends of the First Age of Middle Earth. Essential to the story is the fate that shadowed the love of Beren and Lúthien: for Beren was a mortal man, but Lúthien was an immortal elf. Her father, a great elvish lord in deep opposition to Beren, imposed on him an impossible task that he must perform before he might wed Lúthien. This leads to the heroic attempt of Beren and Lúthien together to rob the greatest of all evil beings, Melkor, called Morgoth, the Black Enemy, of a Silmaril. In this book, J.R.R.'s son Christopher Tolkien has attempted to extract the story of Beren and Lúthien from the comprehensive work in which it was embedded; but that story was itself changing as it developed new associations within the larger history. To show something of the process whereby this legend of Middle Earth evolved over the years, he has told the story in his father's own words by giving, first, its original form, and then passages in prose and verse from later texts that illustrate the narrative as it changed. Presented together for the first time, they reveal aspects of the story, both in event and in narrative immediacy, that were afterwards lost.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017
Edition: First U.S. edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9781328791825
1328791823
Characteristics: 288 pages, 9 unnumbered leaves of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 22 cm

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claralex800
Aug 21, 2017

This book reminded me of how every myth has multiple versions. It retells the story several times but every retelling is different (the one with the giant cats is my personal favourite). It keeps things interesting, and calls back to how (it is said that) Tolkien was creating a mythology for England. Reading this book outside probably helped me to enjoy it. Once I was inside I just couldn't be bothered reading the last section. I've had enough poetry this summer, thanks.
The illustrations were beautiful though. The last one is my favourite.

I was initially skeptical of this release as the tale of Beren and Luthien is told quite fully in The Silmarillion. But, thankfully, all my fears were proved wrong. This volume refrains from copying and pasting from The Silmarillion by featuring a prose version of the tale in the draft process. This excerpt is delightful, as it is told in a folklore-like style with a wry sense of humor that differs from the epic style of the Silmarillion (hint: some giant cats get in Huan's way!).
But the real gem of this volume is the verse form of the tale of Beren and Luthien. Told in cantos, this poetry is unspeakably beautiful. Reading it aloud, I found myself moved to tears by the sheer beauty of many passages.
As an added joy, the pictures by Tolkien icon Alan Lee do not disappoint.

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