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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 2:13 am 
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Acording to the Tolkien Library:

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HarperCollins is to publish a new book by the late Lord of the Rings author J R R Tolkien. The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún, edited and introduced by Tolkien’s son Christopher, will be published in hardback in May 2009.

The previously unpublished work was written while Tolkien was professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford University during the 1920s and '30s, before he wrote The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The publication will make available for the first time Tolkien’s extensive retelling in English narrative verse of the epic Norse tales of Sigurd the Völsung and the Fall of the Niflungs.

David Brawn, the publishing director of HarperCollins UK, said: "It is an entirely unpublished work, dates from around the early 1930s, and will be published - all being well - in May this year. Otherwise the clue as to what the book will contain is in the title - THE LEGEND OF SIGURD AND GUDRUN. You will surmise from this that it is not a Middle-earth book, but we are confident that Tolkien fans will be fascinated by it."

For those who are wondering about it, I can already tell that this new edition will not be illustrated by Alan Lee; but have not been confirmed who will be the illustrator.


http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/press/857-New_Tolkien_book_Sigurd_Gudrun.php

No word yet as to whether it will also be published in the U.S by Houghton Mifflin.

Carl Hostetter (Aelfwine), who has read the whole work in draft, posted some additional information over at TORN:

Quote:
The book comprises two poems (each in several parts), the first concerning the life and death of Sigurd, the second the subsequent life of Gudrún and the fall of the Niflungs. Both are substantial: the first has 339 stanzas, the second 166 stanzas.


link

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 3:53 am 
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YES!!!!!

I'm happy to be able to report now that I had a scintilla to do with this, having encouraged CT about a year ago to pick up this project again, which had lain neglected for many years- and he agreed with me.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 5:55 am 
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Well done, Soli!

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2009 10:56 am 
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Tolkien's version of Norse legend to be published for first time


Alison Flood

guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 7 January 2009 09.40 GMT


Despondent Tolkien fans forced to wait until at least 2010 for the release of the film version of The Hobbit will be cheered by the news that the author's previously unpublished retelling of a Norse legend also adapted by Wagner to create the Ring cycle is to be published for the first time this May.



Tolkien put the tales of Sigurd the Völsung and the fall of the Niflungs into narrative verse while he was professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford during the 1920s and 1930s - before he wrote his most famous works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, which have sold 150m copies worldwide.



Little is currently known about his retelling of the legend, although it has been suggested that Sigurd's slaying of the dragon Fafnir was in Tolkien's mind when he wrote the encounter between Bilbo and Smaug in The Hobbit. He also re-uses the story of Sigurd's dragon-slaying in his story of Túrin Turambar, the protagonist of The Children of Húrin, according to the JRR Tolkien Encyclopaedia, while elements of the story - a golden ring, and a broken sword which is remade - can also be seen in The Lord of the Rings.



In the legend which Tolkien relates, according to the Tolkien Encyclopaedia, after Sigurd, the legendary "prince of the heroes of the North", kills Fafnir, he takes his gold, and then rescues the woman Brynhild from a rock surrounded by flames. She pledges herself to him, but he marries another woman, Gudrún, returning to Brynhild's rock later disguised as Gudrún's brother Gunnar, to win her for Gunnar as his bride. Rivalry then develops between Gudrún and Brynhild, culminating in the murder of Sigurd.



HarperCollins, which is publishing the text as The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún, will be hoping the fact the tale is in narrative verse won't put off Tolkien's legions of fans. Tolkien's unfinished Middle Earth tale The Children of Húrin, which HarperCollins brought out in 2007 after it was completed by his son Christopher, has sold more than 1m copies to date in English. Christopher Tolkien is also editing and introducing the new book.



Ian Collier of the Tolkien Society welcomed the news. "The Society looks forward to seeing this work in print which will help show that JRR Tolkien was a gifted academic as well as a very talented writer of fiction," he said.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2009 7:15 pm 
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Anyone got 250 pounds (about $361) to spare? That's how much Harper Collins is asking for the limited, signed edition of The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún. We do at least have an official release date: 5/5/09. No word about an American edition, though.

http://www.harpercollins.co.uk/Contents/Title/Pages/default.aspx?objId=48715

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2009 8:34 pm 
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I will have that much. Very wonderful news.

:D :cheerleader: :banana:

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2009 11:36 pm 
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Voronwë_the_Faithful wrote:
We do at least have an official release date: 5/5/09. No word about an American edition, though.
http://www.harpercollins.co.uk/Contents/Title/Pages/default.aspx?objId=48715

That page also gives a fuller description of the poems.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2009 12:15 am 
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Thanks, N.E.B.! I don't think that description was there when I first went to the page. Or maybe I just didn't see it!

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2009 8:13 pm 
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This is rather interesting. From the Harper Collins site:

Quote:
“Many years ago, J.R.R. Tolkien composed his own version, now published for the first time, of the great legend of Northern antiquity, in two closely related poems to which he gave the titles The New Lay of the Völsungs and The New Lay of Gudrún. In the Lay of the Völsungs is told the ancestry of the great hero Sigurd, the slayer of Fáfnir most celebrated of dragons, whose treasure he took for his own; of his awakening of the Valkyrie Brynhild who slept surrounded by a wall of fire, and of their betrothal; and of his coming to the court of the great princes who were named the Niflungs (or Nibelungs), with whom he entered into blood-brotherhood. In that court there sprang great love but also great hate, brought about by the power of the enchantress, mother of the Niflungs, skilled in the arts of magic, of shape-changing and potions of forgetfulness. In scenes of dramatic intensity, of confusion of identity, thwarted passion, jealousy and bitter strife, the tragedy of Sigurd and Brynhild, of Gunnar the Niflung and Gudrún his sister, 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. In the Lay of Gudrún her fate after the death of Sigurd is told, her marriage against her will to the mighty Atli, ruler of the Huns (the Attila of history), his murder of her brothers the Niflung lords, and her hideous revenge. Deriving his version primarily from his close study of the ancient poetry of Norway and Iceland known as the Poetic Edda (and where no old poetry exists, from the later prose work the Völsunga Saga), J.R.R. Tolkien employed a verse-form of short stanzas whose lines embody in English the exacting alliterative rhythms and the concentrated energy of the poems of the Edda.” — Christopher Tolkien. (HarperCollins previously placed an inaccurate version of the above text on our website, with unauthorised omissions and additions. We apologise unreservedly to Mr Tolkien for our error.)



Sounds like HC pissed Christopher off. Does anyone have a copy of the previous description so that we can compare?

HC is selling four different versions of the book, by the way. The standard hardcover, an audiobook (no word on who reads it; I hope its Christopher himself!), a deluxe edition, and a signed collectors edition.

http://www.harpercollins.co.uk/SearchHome/Pages/default.aspx?searchkey=sigurd

Also, I see that neither I nor anyone else has mentioned that Houghton Mifflin will be selling a U.S. edition.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hvl8OzTg5e6nY7X4jbJ-TMmd6XGwD96DIQK02

It doesn't seem to be onsale at Amazon.com yet, though.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2009 8:43 pm 
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There's also a new paperback of Tree and Leaf out.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2009 8:57 pm 
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"signed"? By whom?

I am not at all in the habit of collecting Tolkeinia, but I am curious as to who might have signed this.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2009 9:47 pm 
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Christopher Tolkien.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2009 10:26 pm 
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I have a guess about the inaccurate text that infuriated CT: I'd bet someone at HC copyedited it. Some writers strongly dislike having their words changed at all—but it would be standard procedure for a publisher to do that to something that amounts to a blurb. It might just have been a few commas here and there.

I emphasize that I mean no insult to CT. He has the right to insist that his words appear as he wrote them.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2009 11:23 pm 
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Quote:
Does anyone have a copy of the previous description so that we can compare?


This is the version that was posted at Tolkien Library last month:



Quote:
Many years ago, J.R.R. Tolkien composed his own version, now published for the first time, of the great legend of Northern antiquity, in two closely related poems to which he gave the titles The New Lay of the Völsungs and The New Lay of Gudrun.

The New Lay of the Völsungs
In the Lay of the Völsungs is told the ancestry of the great hero Sigurd, the slayer of Fafnir most celebrated of dragons, whose treasure he took for his own; of his awakening of the Valkyrie Brynhild who slept surrounded by a wall of fire; and of his coming to the court of the great princes who were named the Niflungs (or Nibelungs), with whom he entered into blood-brotherhood. In that court there sprang great love but also great hate, brought about by the power of the enchantress, mother of the Niflungs, skilled in the arts of magic, of shape-changing and potions of forgetfulness. In scenes of dramatic intensity, of confusion of identity, thwarted passion, jealousy and bitter strife, the tragedy of Sigurd and Brynhild, and Gudrun his sister, mounts to its end in the murder of Sigurd at the hands of his blood-brothers, the suicide of Brynhild, and the despair of Gudrun.

The New Lay of Gudrun
In the Lay of Gudrun her fate after the death of Sigurd is told, her marriage against her will to the mighty Atli, ruler of the Huns (the Attila of history), his murder of her brothers, and her hideous revenge.

Tolkien's sources
Deriving his version primarily from his close study of the ancient poetry of Norway and Iceland known as the Poetic Edda (and from the later prose work the Völsunga Saga), Tolkien employed a verse-form whose lines embody in English the exacting alliterative rhythms and the concentrated energy of the poems of the Edda.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:47 am 
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Thanks, soli. Very interesting.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:39 am 
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Amazon has the cover image up. I really like it.

Cover of Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún

Does anyone happen to know what it actually is?

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 2:08 am 
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Hm, I thought at first glance it was typical early-Medieval Norse work, probably from one of Norway's "Stave" churches. But now I'm thinking it's fairly modern, even 19th-century work (but still from a stave church, they kept building 'em). In particular the use of foliate forms rather than abstract 'arabesques' is most non-Viking.

It might even be Arts & Crafts under the influence of William Morris...that would be ironic!


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 3:37 pm 
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Whoops! My first instinct was correct, after all. The photo is a detail of the 'Sigurd Portal' from the stave church at Hylestad, ca. 1225-1250, which depicts the Volsung legend in a series of vignettes. The book cover features Sigurd's horse Grani loaded with the treasure of the slain dragon Fafnir:

Image

The Tolkien Library email also has the fairly famous roundel from the portal depicting Regin (re)forging the sword Gram with Sigurd's assistance:

Image

In self-defense, it seems that by the thirteenth century there was a degree of Gothic influence on Norse decoration, including stylized foliate and floriate motifs.


Last edited by solicitr on Wed Mar 18, 2009 4:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 3:41 pm 
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Cool! Thanks, soli.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 4:08 pm 
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(Quick note for those who are coming at the legend via Wagner: Sigurd = Siegfried, Regin = Mime, Gram = Nothung, Andvari = Alberich, Gudrun = Gutrune.)


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