Tuesday, 11 January 2011

The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun - De Luxe Edition - 2009

Part of the latest de luxe range from Harper Collins, this 2009 edition of The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun fits nicely into the collection alongside the Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit, Silmarillion and Tales from the Perilous Realm.

The text itself was written before The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings, during the 1920s and 30s. It is a rewriting of Sigurd the Völsung and the Fall of the Niflungs, Norse tales which Tolkien enjoyed reading as a youngster. It seems Tolkien was experimenting with writing in the old Norse metre, a challenge he has excelled in.

This edition is quarter-bound in brown with grey boards and contains a stamped gold foil motif of Sigurd's horse, Grani. It is also housed in a matching slipcase. Printed on luxurious thick paper, it contains a ribbon marker. One thing I find quite funny is the way the book looks so different in various photos. Many ebay auctions have it very dark in colour, looking almost leather in style, but I can confirm that it is quite a pale brown, certainly not similar to leather in tone. It has the distnict look of cardboard rather than leather!

At present I only have the De luxe Lord of the Rings in this series, and I have to say that I like this one being smaller - it's much more managable, and feels a more compact and usable book because of this. The whole thing is sturdy and steady, and has a good strong feeling about it. It sits in the hand comfortably.

Retailing at £60, this book can often be found for around £20 on ebay, and indeed hasn't seemed to be very popular at all, as it always seems to be the cheapest of the de luxe editions. Of course, a book composed mostly of verse is not for everyone, and the market audience for this must be remarkably low, but for those who like to have a nose at everything Tolkien they can get their hands on, there is something of interest in this. The foreword and introduction give some interesting insights into Tolkien, and it's an interesting challenge to try and find influences in this work for Middle Earth.

All in all a nice book, and one which makes a good reading copy for those who don't want to touch their super deluxes.

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