JRR Tolkien's long poem in the tradition of a medieval lay, entitled "The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun," will be published again this autumn for the first time in 70 years. The poem has been out of print since it was first published in the journal The Welsh Review in 1945. HarperCollins will publish the poem in a collection with other Tolkien poetry about the Korrigan (a Breton term for fairy-like creatures) on November 3.
The dark poem was inspired by Celtic legends in Brittany and concerns the sad dealings of a couple - Aotrou and Itroun - with a Korrigan in a desperate effort to have a child. The Korrigan in the poem is thought to be a direct inspiration for the Elf Queen Galadriel, who features in The Lord of the Rings.
The themes of "The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun" are similar to those in the Breton ballad Lord Nann and the Corrigan, which Tolkien owned a copy of.
Verlyn Flieger, professor emerita at the University of Maryland and a Tolkien scholar, is editing and introducing the new HarperCollins edition. He called the poem, "dark, powerful, compelling, a significant departure from the Tolkien we think we know."
The Corrigan poetry will join other recently republished Tolkien works, including The Children of Hurin, a translation of Beowulf, and a long poem about King Arthur entitled The Fall of Arthur.
[Image from Wikipedia]