Edited by Christopher Tolkien.
First Edition 1985.
George Allen & Unwin.
Hardback in dust jacket.
Jacket design by Marilyn Carvell.
vi, 394 pages.
The Lays of Beleriand, a collection of writings by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited with preface, commentary, appendix, glossary and index by Christopher Tolkien.
Volume 3 of the The History of Middle-earth series.
Published on 22 August 1985.
Two manuscript pages by J.R.R. Tolkien appear as a frontispiece and on page 299.
Details of all British editions of The Lays of Beleriand can be found at TolkienBooks.net.
Blurb – Dust Jacket Flap
’I write alliterative verse with pleasure,’ wrote J.R.R. Tolkien in 1955, ‘though I have published little beyond the fragments in The Lord of the Rings, except The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth.’ The first of the poems in this book is the unpublished Lay of the Children of Húrin, his early but most sustained work in the ancient English metre, intended to narrate on a grand scale the tragedy of Túrin Turambar. It was left incomplete when only the earlier part of the story had been told, but not before the killing by Túrin of Beleg his friend had been powerfully recounted and a unique description of the great redoubt of Nargothrond had been given.
The Lay of the Children of Húrin was supplanted by the Lay of Leithian ‘Release from Bondage’, in which another major legend of the Elder Days received poetic form, in this case in rhyme. The chief source of the short prose tale of Beren and Lúthien is The Silmarillion. This too was left incomplete, but the whole Quest of the Silmaril is told, and the poem only breaks off after the encounter with Morgoth in his subterranean fortress. Many years later, when The Lord of the Rings was finished, J.R.R. Tolkien returned to the Lay of Leithian and started on a new version from the beginning; this is also given in the book.
Accompanying the poems are commentaries on the evolution of the history of the Elder Days, which was much developed during the years of the composition of the two Lays. Also included is the notable criticism in detail of the Lay of Leithian by C.S. Lewis, who read the poem in 1929.
This is the third volume of The History of Middle-earth, edited by Christopher Tolkien, the first two comprising The Book of Lost Tales, Parts I and II.
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