Monday, September 18, 2006

New Tolkien rolling out

The AP has this to say:
An unfinished tale by J.R.R. Tolkien has been edited by his son into a completed work and will be released next spring, the U.S. and British publishers announced Monday.

Christopher Tolkien has spent the past 30 years working on "The Children of Hurin," an epic tale his father began in 1918 and later abandoned. Excerpts of "The Children of Hurin," which includes the elves and dwarves of Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" and other works, have been published before.

"It has seemed to me for a long time that there was a good case for presenting my father's long version of the legend of the 'Children of Hurin' as an independent work, between its own covers," Christopher Tolkien said in a statement.

The new book will be published by Houghton Mifflin in the United States and HarperCollins in England.

I've never heard of the thing, much less read any excerpts. Anyone know anything about it?

1 comment:

Petellius said...

Like much of the history of Middle Earth, it exists in several versions - J.R.R. Tolkien continued to re-work much of the mythology throughout his life, and died before he settled on a final, published version.

The versions of which I am aware are (in chronological order on the basis of when Tolkien wrote them):

- In "The Book of Lost Tales", vol. 2, the story of "Turambar among the Foakale", an early prose version of the story.

- In "The Lays of Beleriand", one can find "The Lay of The Children of Hurin", in two versions, both in something approximating Old English Rhyming Verse.

- In "Unfinished Tales", there is a story called the "Narn i Hin Hurin". The beginning & end are incomplete, and much of the material had been marked for revision. It was to be the full, long version of the story from which Tolkien was going to edit a compressed version for the Silmarillion.

- In the Silmarillion, a portion of the tale concerns Turin Turambar and Nienor. Since Tolkien himself didn't finish a Silmarillion version of the story, his son derived this from the complete portions of the "Narn" and from the earlier versions.

I don't know about this forthcoming book, though. The cynic in me suspects that it might just be a re-printing of the "Narn" as a separate book in order to make some cash. I hope this is not the case though, since anyone who wants to read the "Narn" can simply get a copy of Unfinished Tales. We'll have to see.