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A song of greater power: Tolkien’s construction of Lúthien Tinúviel

— Clare Moore

21 December 2021 | Mallorn, Winter, 2021, 6

In 1954, J.R.R. Tolkien first shared his great tale’ of Beren and Lúthien with readers through a song Aragorn sings to the hobbits in the wilderness on the way to Rivendell in LRC §1.11.138LRC §1.11.148. This song was a mere hint at a fuller story J.R.R. Tolkien had been working on since 1917, but readers did not see an expanded narrative until the posthumous publication of The Silmarillion by Christopher Tolkien in 1977. Since then, many readers have viewed The Silmarillion as a finished work and believe it to be solely the work of J.R.R. Tolkien, even if the book was edited and published by his son. Douglas Kane, however, points out that both of these premises are false (pp. 23 – 24). Faced with unfinished and varying manuscripts for each story, C. Tolkien made his own decisions about what to include, what to omit, and how to arrange the text, so that the resulting published book is as much the work of his own hands as that of his father’s.…

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