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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Beren and Luthien

thorinoakenshield
Rivendell


Sep 29 2013, 1:52pm

Post #1 of 12 (337 views)
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Beren and Luthien Can't Post

What is the largest, and fullest version of the the tale of Beren and Luthien? I believe there are a few versions of this, right? Correct me if I am wrong. I love this story!Smile


squire
Valinor


Sep 29 2013, 4:08pm

Post #2 of 12 (229 views)
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'The Lay of Leithian' in HoME III [In reply to] Can't Post

Fullest?

I think the long epic poem 'The Lay of Leithian' is the fullest version of the Beren and Luthien story. The shorter version in the published Silmarillion, for instance, is JRRT's retelling of the long poem for inclusion in the Quenta Silmarillion, with emendations by editor Christopher Tolkien. (Like the poem, it was never finished in the detail with which it was begun: a common failing in all of JRRT's later work on his Silmarillion cycle.)

But remember that the poem itself is a re-casting of the original 'Tale of Tinuviel' in the Book of Lost Tales (HoME II). That one is in prose. It is also complete, while the poem was never completed and just ends after Canto XIV. So perhaps that early version might meet your idea of 'fullest' instead. But many of the elements in the Tale are quite antiquated and clearly superceded by the later rewritings, starting with the Lay.

Largest?

The Tale of Tinuviel takes about 32 pages in my paperback of HoME II.

The Lay of Leithian takes almost 200 pages, but the two works are not clearly comparable by page count alone. The latter text is lines of poetry, not prose, so the word count per page is less; and more importantly the poem is interrupted, canto by canto, by Christopher Tolkien's commentary. I don't have time to count the pages of actual poetry in the Lay to compare to the Tale. All I can say is, my impression is that the Lay has more detail than the Tale, and so would best meet your request for the 'fullest' treatment.

Neither version takes too long to read, especially for a Beren and Luthien fan. I find the poem quite engaging and beautiful at times, once I get into epic-poetry-reading mode.

Have a good time with all this!



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


Meneldor
Tol Eressea


Sep 29 2013, 7:03pm

Post #3 of 12 (163 views)
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I love the Lay of Leithian, [In reply to] Can't Post

The last time I read it, I was looking at the partial revisions that Christopher included after the poem, and I got to wondering if anyone had pieced together a "director's cut" that included the revisions in the original. That's something I'd like to read.


They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep.


malickfan
Gondor


Sep 29 2013, 8:08pm

Post #4 of 12 (168 views)
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This is the closest I've seen: [In reply to] Can't Post

http://tolkienleithian.blogspot.co.uk/

Just typing in 'lay of leithian full text' comes up with dozens of answers. I've actually only skim read the lay thus far so I can't vouch for the quality of this version.

I don't have much to say.



Elthir
Gondor

Sep 29 2013, 8:13pm

Post #5 of 12 (157 views)
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what almost was [In reply to] Can't Post

In the early 1950s Tolkien began a long prose version [not meant as a chapter of the Quenta Silmarillion itself, which is supposed to contain the shorter, contracted versions by comparison].


Unfortunately JRRT abandoned this long prose version quite early, and as it closely followed the poetic account, Christopher Tolkien merely referred to it instead of reproducing it [what there was of it anyway].


malickfan
Gondor


Sep 29 2013, 8:36pm

Post #6 of 12 (146 views)
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Yes I remember reading about that... [In reply to] Can't Post

It would certainly be interesting to read-even it were near indentical to the poetic version, I can't see a prose retelling having the same pace or rhythm (I'm not going to lie, I fins Tolkien's poetry rather hard to get into at times)

Coupled with my discovery last week of yet another version of 'The Hunt For The Ring' partially published in The Lord of the Rings: A Readers Companion, my admiration and annoyance with Christopher Tolkien has grown in equal measure.

On the one hand I can't fail to admire his dedication in sorting throught and editing all the various manuscripts for publication...but on the other hand the throw away references and evidence of seemingly abundant slighty different versions is rather annoying, not only is it hard to keep track of what's what it's rather odd to know there are still writings about middle earth yet to be published.

I don't have much to say.



Ethel Duath
Valinor


Sep 29 2013, 9:35pm

Post #7 of 12 (130 views)
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Me too. [In reply to] Can't Post

I find it very moving.


Hamfast Gamgee
Gondor

Sep 29 2013, 11:08pm

Post #8 of 12 (141 views)
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And [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien originally wanted to write Lotr in poetry format!


squire
Valinor


Sep 30 2013, 12:56am

Post #9 of 12 (159 views)
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LotR as a poem! [In reply to] Can't Post

I never heard that. How interesting - is that in the HoME about the origins of the "Hobbit sequel", or in his letters?



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


Meneldor
Tol Eressea


Sep 30 2013, 1:18am

Post #10 of 12 (123 views)
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Thank you, Malickfan! [In reply to] Can't Post

That might be exactly what I was hoping for. I've bookmarked it and will get to it very soon, I hope.


They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep.


Faenoriel
Tol Eressea


Sep 30 2013, 6:32pm

Post #11 of 12 (115 views)
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Tolkien, I love you but... [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, perhaps sometimes it's better to be left wanting, and in wanting starting to create tales of your own...

But every word you say today
Gets twisted 'round some other way
And they'll hurt you if they think you've lied


Hamfast Gamgee
Gondor

Oct 2 2013, 12:53pm

Post #12 of 12 (104 views)
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I must admit [In reply to] Can't Post

That I can't quite remember where I heard that, but it seemed authentic. But weather a forward from a book an authentic book or simply someone commenting in a documentary I'm not sure. But it does sound right. Tolkien did seem to have written as much of the story in prose as he could get away with, such as the Beren and Luthien poem read by Strider, Bilbo's rendition of the tale of Earendil at Rivendell, the poem of the battle of the Pelennor Fields, even Treebeards poem of the Entwives, I would imagine that Tolkien would have loved to have written the tale in prose!

 
 

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