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The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun (英語) ペーパーバック – 2019/5/30
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Unavailable for more than 70 years, this early but important work is published for the first time with Tolkien's `Corrigan' poems and other supporting material, including a prefatory note by Christopher Tolkien. Together with Tolkien's "Corrigan Poems", which are included in this book, the Aotrou and Itroun texts comprise a sequence that was the outcome of a comparatively short but intense period in Tolkien's life when he was deeply engaged with Celtic languages and mythologies. The sequence shows the corrigan's increasingly powerful presence, as she takes an ever more active role in the lives of Aotrou and Itroun, Lord and Lady. She would finally emerge, changed in motive and character but still recognizable, in The Lord of the Rings as the beautiful and terrible Lady of the Golden Wood, the Elven queen Galadriel. The book is edited and introduced by Verlyn Flieger, and includes a new prefatory note on the text by Christopher Tolkien.
`The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun is a poem in the tradition of the medieval "lay", also illustrated by the Lay of the Children of Hurin, and in the Lay of Leithian. This 556-verse-long poem tells the tragic story of a lord who sacrifices his life by love: in order to have a child with his wife, then to remain faithful to his spouse, he gives his life to a witch.' The J.R.R. Tolkien Estate website `The language is as time-worn as a Runic engraving yet clear as a bell ... The holy and the unholy imbue everything. It is a world captured in stained glass.' Daily Telegraph商品の説明をすべて表示する
Aotrou and Itroun are a noble couple, happily married but childless. Aotrou is able to obtain a potion to cure childlessness, but the fairy who gives him the potion will demand a price. Ultimately, that price will be very steep.
“The Lay of Aotrou & Itroun” was first published in The Welsh Review in 1945, and was republished in late 2016, edited by Tolkien scholar Verlynn Flieger, professor emerita at the University of Maryland. It includes two additional poems, both entitled “The Corrigan” and with similar themes but different subjects. A “corrigan” is a fairy who interacts with the human world, usually ending in some disaster. These two poems share a similar general theme with The Lay of Aotrou & Itroun.
The Lay is a long ballad, some 19 printed pages, but here is an excerpt providing an idea of how the poem is written and develops:
No child he had his house to cheer,
to fill his courts with laughter clear;
though wife he wooed and wed with ring,
who love to board and bed did bring,
his pride was empty, vain his hoard,
without an heir to land and sword.
This pondering oft at night awake
his darkened mind would visions make
of lonely age and death; his tomb
unkept, while strangers in his room
with other names and other shields
were masters of his halls and fields.
Thus counsel cold he took at last;
his hope from light to darkness passed.
A with there was, who webs could weave
to snare the heart and wits to reave,
who span dark spells with spider-craft,
and as she span she softly laughed;
a drink she brewed of strength and dread
to bind the quick and stir the dead…
You can see that this will not end well. A noble grieving for the lack of an heir, imagining a future forgotten and others owning his lands, and a witch looking to make mischief.
“The Lay of Aotrou & Itroun” provides insight into Tolkien’s fascination with folk tales and mythology, an area related but separated from the imaginary worlds of Middle Earth for which he’s best known.
In this little masterwork Verlyn Flieger follows up on her earlier addition to the corpus (or perhaps better, a proto-canonical corpus from which further
addition to the canon may arise over time) of Tolkien's English mythology (Kullervo) with another little classic, The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun. Like the earlier Kellervo, this book is short on text but long on commentary, I like this as it allows the commentator to flesh out the text. I hope that little works like this, will develop over time into worth additions to the English mythos envisioned by JRRT. A generation from now, will a poet, inspired by decades of critical Tolkien scholarship turn to this work and find within it a gem worthy of setting into the neckless of English mythology inspired by Tolkien? I hope so.