Customer Reviews


33 Reviews
5 star:
 (25)
4 star:
 (4)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


49 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Contains the greatest epic poem of the 20th century
Contrary to popular belief, this is not a book about Middle-earth. Middle-earth didn't exist when Tolkien wrote the poems contained in this book. But the legends they established were taken up into the later Middle-earth mythology even though we were only treated to glimpses of them in the years preceding the publication of this book.
Lays of Beleriand unveils the...
Published on December 13, 2000 by Michael Martinez

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tolkien Die-Hards Will Enjoy It--But Most Casual Readers Should Skip It
"The Lays of Beleriand" is the weakest of the volumes that Christopher Tolkien edited of his father's work. J.R.R. Tolkien remains one of the most beloved writers of our times--but, while he could write charming poems and songs to include in his epic novels, it must be conceded that he was primarily not a poet. This book includes unfinished drafts of epic poems concerning...
Published on February 9, 2012 by Kevin M. Derby


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

49 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Contains the greatest epic poem of the 20th century, December 13, 2000
This review is from: The Lays of Beleriand (The History of Middle-Earth, Vol. 3) (Mass Market Paperback)
Contrary to popular belief, this is not a book about Middle-earth. Middle-earth didn't exist when Tolkien wrote the poems contained in this book. But the legends they established were taken up into the later Middle-earth mythology even though we were only treated to glimpses of them in the years preceding the publication of this book.
Lays of Beleriand unveils the true source of the Beren and Luthien story told in The Silmarillion. Although the characters predate "Lay of Leithian", Tolkien brought them forward in a radical evolutionary process which changed many things. The product of his changes was a fantastic poem which would make a wonderful book in its own right. Alas! He never finished the lay.
Deemed too "Celtic" by an early reader at Allen & Unwin, the poem was set aside by Tolkien as he turned to lighter projects. And though he tried to return to it later in life, the flame had dwindled and he was unable to rekindle the ancient fire which inspired this masterpiece. The last lines of the poem seem to describe the work's own fate: "An gleam of swords in fire there flashed/the fangs of Carcharoth, and crashed/together like a trap, that tore/the hand about the wrist, and shore/through brittle bone and sinew nesh,/devouring the frail mortal flesh;/and in that cruel mouth unclean/egulfed the jewels holy sheen."
A few snippets followed, disconnected from the primary narrative. All that could have been, that should have been, was lost forever, unless Tolkien is singing the final stanzas for his beloved Edith beneath the trees in a faraway paradise even now....
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The light upon the leaves of trees", January 2, 2003
By 
Larry Bridges "thebachelor" (Arlington, MA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Lays of Beleriand (The History of Middle-Earth, Vol. 3) (Mass Market Paperback)
"The Lays of Beleriand" contains two of the most ambitious (but sadly unfinished) of J. R. R. Tolkien's retellings of stories from his "Silmarillion" mythology in various literary forms. "The Lay of the Children of Hurin" tells the story of the early life of Turin in alliterative verse. "The Lay of Leithian" tells the story of Beren and Luthien and their quest for a Silmaril in octosyllabic couplets.

"The Lay of Leithian" is considered by many Tolkien fans, including myself, to be one of the greatest pieces of literature composed by Tolkien, ranking alongside "The Lord of the Rings" itself. Although unfinished, it is the most complete and elaborate version he ever wrote of the story of Beren and Luthien, which was probably closer to his heart than any other legend of his Middle-earth. Reading this poem lets one see that, in a very real sense, Beren and Luthien are the heart of Tolkien's entire legendarium.

"The Lay of the Children of Hurin" also holds an important place in Tolkien's total corpus of writings as the only source for fully detailed versions of important episodes in the story of Turin: his accidental slaying of his best friend, his healing by the Lake of Ivrin, and his coming to Nargothrond and first meeting with Finduilas. This poem should be read in tandem with "The Children of Hurin" (the book published in 2007) to gain a full picture of Tolkien's total imagination of Turin's tragic story.

"The Lays of Beleriand" is one of the three or four most important volumes in "The History of Middle-earth," and is my own personal sentimental favorite of all of J. R. R. Tolkien's books.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Only Tolkien has the linguistic skill to laud his works, December 17, 1998
This review is from: The Lays of Beleriand (Paperback)
"The Lays of Beleriand" is one of my favorite books by Tolkien. It is the epitome of his poetic achievement. As the previous reviewer said, no praise formed by me would be worthy of this exquisite work. Truly, only Tolkien himself has the deep linguistic skill needed to properly laud this work. I had long loved Tolkien's prose before I read this book. But once I was exposed to his poetry, I quickly realized that he is as masterful in verse as he is in prose. Reading "Lays" was a euphoric revelation of another aspect of Tolkien's ingenius literary style. Rich, archiac language coupled with smooth-flowing meter and rhyme is employed to weave into verse the captivating tales of the star-crossed loves of Luthien Tinuviel with Beren Erchamion, and of Turin Turumbar with Neinor Niniel. The noble and deeply touching epics immerse you in their plots, engraving in memory an unforgetable image of this vastly intricate world. The verse, especially in "The Lay of Leithian", is spangled with particularly entrancing descriptions of the grandeur of Elven kingdoms long lost and the starlit enchantment of the Dancer of Doriath. These passages contain such delicate imagery presented in metaphor so elegantly phrased that they surely could entrall even Morgoth himself. Any devotee to Tolkien, and especially those who savor poetry, will be thoroughly enamoured with "The Lays of Beleriand".
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for a fuller appreciation of Tolkien's poetic skills, March 25, 1998
By 
This review is from: The Lays of Beleriand (The History of Middle-Earth, Vol. 3) (Mass Market Paperback)
Tolkien outdid himself with these two long poems. Although never completed, these alliterative verse versions of the "Lay of the Children of Hurin" and "The Lay of Beren and Luthien" are vivid, thrilling and deeply moving. There is little different about these stories from their versions in The Silmarillion, but they are more detailed, and in VERSE. Not only do they make very enjoyable reading, but students of Old, Middle and Early Modern English poetry will be in awe of Tolkiens completely unaffected ability to render his story in alliterative verse, complete with caesura. I was very frustrated not to be able to read complete versions, but the lies of Delu Morgoth live even today, and the ends of these tales are lost in the mists of time...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!, September 25, 1998
This review is from: The Lays of Beleriand (The History of Middle-Earth, Vol. 3) (Mass Market Paperback)
Anything I say in this review could never do this book justice. Tolkien has done a wonderful job putting together these two long poems (The Lay of Leithian and The Lay of the Children of Hurin). Although neither of these poems was ever finished, it is their only flaw. The Lay of Lethian or perhaps better said as "The Gest of Beren One-hand and Luthien the Fay--Release From Bondage" is one of my favorite poems and anyone who loves rhyming couplets will really enjoy this poem. The Lay of the Children of Hurin is in an alliterative verse and occasionally makes for difficult reading, but it is still great all the same. I recommend this book to both Tolkien fans and poetry fans (especially Tennyson and Byron), I'm sure you will enjoy it as much as I do.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Poems of Middle-Earth, January 3, 2002
This review is from: The Lays of Beleriand (The History of Middle-Earth, Vol. 3) (Mass Market Paperback)
The Lays of Beleriand is basically a book of poems that J.R.R. Tokien wrote about the tales of the Silmarillion. Poems such as that of Turin Turambar, as well as a few other noteworthy works. It's probably best to have some background on the Silmarillon before reading this.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reviewer said nothing new....... Well i got news for him, everything in this is new., March 9, 2006
This review is from: The Lays of Beleriand (The History of Middle-Earth, Vol. 3) (Mass Market Paperback)
If you are a tolkien lover, poetry lover, or both like me then you will get the awesome experience of reading some of the origins of turin, beren, etc. There are not a lot of poems and they are all unfinished. But there are things in this book which you will treasure forever like the hate filled words spoken to eachother by morgoth and hurin. Just like tolkiens original writings in book 1 and 2, # 3 will show you more of the origins of where his silmarillion derived from. Christopher explains later in the series of these books on how he used the lost tales, lays, and annals to finish the silmarillion for his father. Let me explain that the lost tales came 1st, lays 2nd, and then the annals. Since these are all different versions of ALL the tales Christopher would be the judge of what parts of what tale or lay would be published in the silmarillion. So essentially just to use turin as an example, Christopher is telling one tale, but basically trying to put a puzzle together mxing AND matching different parts of different versions of the tale. It sounds like an extremely difficult process.

Everybody gives credit to tolkien for making the lord of the rings his lifes work, but his son seeds to be equally credited for putting the time in to analyze and even try to think for his father, adn since Christopher was the main reviewer of the pre-published lord, I am very, very appreciative of the fact that he decided to make this his lifes work.

Again thank you Christopher tolkien for making all of your father's works available.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book contains beautiful poems, August 13, 2009
This review is from: The Lays of Beleriand (The History of Middle-Earth, Vol. 3) (Mass Market Paperback)
I haven't enjoyed reading this much since I discovered Tennyson's idylls two years ago. The editorial reviewer who says that the main interest in this book is seeing the development of Tolkien's ideas is wrong. The mythology is great and the poetry is beautiful. It is sad that the poems are only fragments, but they are both substantial fragments (so is the Faerie Queene for that matter)and the second one is really almost complete. Anyone who loves Tolkien's other books and anyone who loves poetry will love this book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An extensive & remarkable insight into the creation of Middle-Earth, captured in this comprehensive volume of a series., December 4, 2012
This is the third volume within the collection of books that make up `the history of Middle-Earth' which delves into JRR Tolkien's great creation behind The Silmarillion, the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. This fascinating, detailed insight delves into the mythology of his work, through the alliterative verse tales of two of the most significant and crucial stories in Tolkien's world; that being those of Turin and Luthien. Complete with poems such as the unpublished `lay of children of Hurin' that emphasizes the tragedy of Turin Turambar, together with the poignant and noteworthy `Lay of Lethian' which is the main source for Beren and Luthien in the Silmarillion, recounting the quest of the Silmaril and the encounter with Morgoth in his fortress. In addition to the poems is information about the evolution of the Elder days and an extra source in the form of notable criticism from friend and writer C.S Lewis who read the poem in 1929.

The Lays of Beleriand offers aficionados of JRR Tolkien's extensive works and mythology a glimpse into the otherwise understated metaphysics underlying his mythological invention, and the editorial complexities of the material which is thoroughly taken apart by Christopher Tolkien. This is a worthy and indispensable edition to any Tolkien collection and to the history of Middle-Earth, which goes beyond what you see and know delving even deeper by disclosing hidden secrets and fascinating facts that will amaze and delight. This fascinating study is something that those overwhelmed and impressed by this master of his craft who created something beyond genius, will devour in an instant and I guarantee you will find really inspiring as well. Creating the tales behind the one Ring was an astonishing feat alone, but Professor Tolkien brought into being an entire world ad society, which most authors of today can only aspire to dream of achieving; and in one persons lifetime it is unquestionably an astounding accomplishment.

Complete with pages from the original manuscript of `the lay of the children of Hurin' this is a fascinating and interesting study of such a work on an epic scale, which I urge fans of his books (such as the lord of the rings) to discover for it is so illuminating. I am constantly amazed and in awe of such a man who in his lifetime did so much that which has not only stood the test of time, but which will live on for so many years to come hence I like many authors of the fantasy genre will admit to owing him a lot.

A must have book for any JRR Tolkien collector, fan or even mythical devotee or historical study. His world-building and mythology is exceptional and remains incomparable, unmatched to any other writer.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tolkien Die-Hards Will Enjoy It--But Most Casual Readers Should Skip It, February 9, 2012
This review is from: The Lays of Beleriand (The History of Middle-Earth, Vol. 3) (Mass Market Paperback)
"The Lays of Beleriand" is the weakest of the volumes that Christopher Tolkien edited of his father's work. J.R.R. Tolkien remains one of the most beloved writers of our times--but, while he could write charming poems and songs to include in his epic novels, it must be conceded that he was primarily not a poet. This book includes unfinished drafts of epic poems concerning Turin, who later appears in "The Silmarillion" and "The Children of Hurin," and Beren and Luthien. While Tolkien tries to follow the form of the Anglo-Saxon poems that he studied and taught in his academic career, he simply is not up to the task and the meter and rhythm is often lacking. Even worse, when Tolkien offers a poem based on simple couplets, his rhyme is embarrassingly amateurish. Some of Tolkien's finest translations--including his wonderful work on "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight"--had already been completed years before these poems were abandoned, making these efforts seem a little off.

Claims that these poems are the greatest epic verse of the 20th century are absurd. Even Tolkien, in a letter to an editor included at the end of the book, dismissed these poems as "rough." The poems included here are not even remotely in the ballpark of the epic works--"Four Quartets" and "Murder in the Cathedral" which remains more poetry than play--of Tolkien's contemporary T.S. Eliot.

This is not to say there are no charming moments and passages. Christoper Tolkien included a funny and warm take from his father's friend and fellow Inkling C.S. Lewis on one of the poems. There are passages that are memorable--but way too much mediocre and simply bad verse swallow those lines up.

The most passionate Tolkien readers may enjoy these poems though there are other works--such as the two volumes of "Lost Tales" that reveal more about the creation and shaping of the tragic story of Turin and the romance of Beren and Luthien. But many Tolkien readers, even those who enjoyed say "The Silmarillion" and "The Children of Hurin," will find "The Lays of Beleriand" simply not up to par to the rest of Tolkien's edited works. Despite being in a mass market paperback, this book is not for the casual reader or even most Tolkien fans.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

The Lays of Beleriand (The History of Middle-Earth, Vol. 3)
The Lays of Beleriand (The History of Middle-Earth, Vol. 3) by J. R. R. Tolkien (Mass Market Paperback - August 29, 1994)
$7.99
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.