August 24th, 2020

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For Completists Only

Beren and LúthienBeren and Lúthien by J.R.R. Tolkien

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When I saw this book on the library shelves, I thought it would be more like The Children of Hurin: an attempt to create a completed prose rendition of the story in its final form. Instead, I get into it and discover that it is in fact a scholarly study of the development of the story from the Book of Lost Tales through the verse rendition of the Lay of Leithian (Release from Bondage) to the various condensed retellings: the Sketch of the Mythology, the Quenta Noldorinwa, and the Quenta Silmarillion. Except for some interpretive matter scattered here and there, it was almost entirely a reprint of material that was found in various volumes of the History of Middle Earth. While it is of interest to those who enjoy delving into how an author develops a story from its original conception to its final form, and to completists who wish to have everything written by or about JRR Tolkien, I do not see it as being of great interest to the average fan of Middle Earth.

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