Saturday, April 21, 2018

Denis Gordeev

A while ago I talked about my Russian copy of "The Hobbit." While I talked about 'D. Gordeev' in the body of my post, I mistakenly tagged it in the label as 'G. Gordeev.' I have since discovered my error, learning that the full name is Denis Gordeev, and finding many pictures on Pinterest that show he has also illustrated scenes from "The Lord of the Rings," "The Silmarillion," and "The Children of Hurin." Here are some pictures from this very interesting artist.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Beren and LĂșthien: A Review

"Hobbits delighted in such things, if they were accurate: they liked to have books filled with things that they already knew, set out fair and square with no contradictions." -- Prologue, The Fellowship of the Ring.

I have at long last got a copy of the most recent Tolkien book, "Beren and Luthien," and, as I imagined I would, gulped it down in one swallow. It contains, as Christopher Tolkien himself admits, "not a single page of original or unpublished work," always excepting his own thorough and scholarly editorial work and comments.

So why buy and read such a book? There are several good reasons. For one thing, it draws together all the materials from one of the three great tales of the 'Legendarium,' around which "The Silmarillion" itself could be said to have coalesced. If one does not wish to go hunting and pecking through the twelve massive volumes of "The History of Middle Earth," the three volumes of "The Lord of the Rings," or indeed quotes from "The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien," here you may find the numerous versions gathered together for your convenience, and in chronological order of composition, no less; all "set out fair and square."

Another would be the inimitable illustrations of Alan Lee, whose work with the producers of the "The Lord of the Rings" films has cemented him in the position of THE illustrator of Tolkien's world. With ten new color pictures (including the cover) and numerous pencil sketches, he fills in more of the visuals of Middle Earth, including alternate visions from "The Book of Lost Tales," where we see Sauron in his original form of Thu, a monstrous black cat.

I got this book close on the heels of the announcement of the coming, on August 30th, of "The Fall of Gondolin," which, with "The Children of Hurin" and "Beren and Luthien," will be the third digest of the founding myths. Christopher Tolkien, with these final volumes, has struck an elegiac note, as, at the age of 93, he finally lays down the care of his great father's work and world.

Monday, April 16, 2018