The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún
by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún is a previously unpublished work by J.R.R. Tolkien, written while Tolkien was Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford during the 1920s and ‘30s, before he wrote The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. It makes available for the first time Tolkien’s extensive retelling in English narrative verse of the epic Norse tales of the legendary hero Sigurd the Völsung (Old Norse: Sigurðr) and The Fall of the Niflungs. It includes an introduction by J.R.R. Tolkien, drawn from one of his own lectures on Norse literature, with commentary and notes on the poems by Christopher Tolkien. Softcover; 384 pages size: 5 1/2" x 8 1/4"
About the Author
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (January 3, 1892 – September 2, 1973) was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. After serving in World War I, he embarked upon a distinguished academic career and was recognized as one of the finest philologists in the world. He was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford from 1925 to 1945, and Merton Professor of English Language and Literature from 1945 to 1959. He was a close friend of C. S. Lewis, the author of the Chronicles of Narnia. Tolkien was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II on March 28,1972. After his death in 1973 at the age of 81, Tolkien's son, Christopher, published a series of works based on his father's extensive notes and unpublished manuscripts, including The Silmarillion. These, together with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, form a connected body of tales, poems, fictional histories, invented languages, and literary essays about an imagined world called Arda, and Middle-earth. As a result of the great success of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, which were the most popular books of the 20th Century, Tolkien is considered to be the "father" of modern high fantasy fantasy literature. His books have been translated into more than forty languages and have sold several million of copies worldwide.
More about the book
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 New 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 princesses who were named the Niflungs (or Nibelungs), with whom he entered into blood-brotherhood. In that court there sprang a great love but also a great hate, brought about by the power of the enchantress, mother of the Niflungs, skilled in the arts of magic, shape-changing, and potions of forgetfulness.
In scenes of dramatic intensity, 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 dispare of Gudrún her fate after the death of Sigurd is told, her marriage against her will to the mighty Atli, ruler of the Huns (aka the historical Attila the Hunn) 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 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 of the poems of the Edda."
Introduction - the "Elder Edda" by J.R.R. Tolkien and an Introductory note
Völsungakviða en nyja (The New Lay of the Völsungs)
• Upphaf (Beginning)
• Andvari's Gold
• The Death of Sinfjötli
• Sigurd Born
• Brynhild Betrayed
Commentary on Völsungakviða en nyja
Guðrúnarkviða en nyja (The New Lay of Gudrún)
Commentary on Guðrúnarkviða en nyja
A. A Short Account of the Origins of the Legend
B. The Prophecy of the Sibyl
C. Fragments of a Heroic Poem of Attila in Old English