I am a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien and all of his works that come from Norse legend. The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun is the setting of two original poems written in the style of the Elder Edda. I wanted to read something of Tolkien's that came from his love for Norse poetry and art form.
This is a work that stands very well on its own. Tolkien had many great works that are not very well known when compared to the stories of Middle Earth in his books The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings. Tolkein had a passion for language and for how cultures told stories, and that passion is revealed in the two poems in this book.
It is a bit difficult to say what I think of the book, as I am still reading it. The poems are written in modern English and are very entertaining, but the lectures included in the introduction are a bit thick. They were given by Tolkien on the history of this form of poetry and how his poems are adapted from older poems of the same topic, the legend of the hero Sigurd. Taken together, however, the lectures and poems are teaching me that an understanding of language is just the start of learning, and that with an inquisitive mind, you can learn and appreciate the customs and traditions of cultures other than your own.
I would recommend the book to anyone who loves Tolkien and his thirst for a good story. If you like taking time to understand and research what you are reading, this is a great book for you.
I try to read every day before bed, and when I have extra time in the evenings. For fun or inspiration, I love to read anything with a good plot that is written well. I like fiction a lot! I would also like to re-read the Silmarillion, because there is an inclusion of this poem in one of the chapters.
Chris Brown is a student in the Masters of Education program here at HIU. You can also find him working right here in the library as a library assistant!
The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Christopher Tolkien, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009.
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