The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun together with The Corrigan Poems

The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun together with The Corrigan Poems

By: J. R. R. Tolkien
Edited by: Verlyn Flieger
Foreword by: Christopher Tolkien
Published by: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: 2016

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Description

Set "in Britain's land beyond the seas" during the age of chivalry, The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun tells of a childless Breton lord and lady (the "Aotrou" and "Itroun" of the title) and the tragedy that befalls them when Aotrou seeks to remedy their situation with the aid of a magic potion obtained from a corrigan, or malevolent fairy. When the potion succeeds and Itroun bears twins, the corrigan returns seeking her fee, and Aotrou is forced to choose between betraying his marriage and losing his life.

Coming from the darker side of J. R. R. Tolkien's imagination, The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun, together with the two shorter "Corrigan" poems that lead up to it and are also included, was the outcome of a comparatively short but intense period in Tolkien's life when he was deeply engaged with Celtic, and particularly Breton, myth and legend.

Originally written in 1930 and long out of print, this early but seminal work is an important addition to the non-Middle-earth portion of his canon and should be set alongside Tolkien's other retellings of myth and legend: The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún, The Fall of Arthur, and The Story of Kullervo. Like these works, it belongs to a small but important corpus of his ventures into "real-world" mythologies, each of which in its own way would be a formative influence on his own legendarium.

From the dust jacket of the first American edition
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