The Song of the Nibelungs - Illustrated

Margaret Armour

TOLKIEN'S BOOKSHELF #1: THE SONG OF THE NIBELUNGS The Song of the Nibelungs, a thirteenth century Germanic epic, was a rich source of inspiration for J.R.R. Tolkien. Scholars have noted the influence of its pre-Christian heroic motifs - drawn from historic events and people of the 5th and 6th centuries - on his writing of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Tolkien was five years old when this beautifully illustrated translation by Margaret Armour was published in England under the title 'The Fall of the Nibelungs'. Undoubtedly a copy would have made its way into his hands during his boyhood. Armour uses an archaic form of English to preserve the high-flown style of the original poem. Here and there throughout The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien, too, employs this solemn, dignified and majestic form, which is reminiscent of the language of the King James Bible. A glossary of antiquated terms is provided at the back of this book. Armour was the wife of W.B. MacDougall, whose illustrations illuminate the text with their delicate beauty. In his turn, MacDougall was a friend of famous art nouveau illustrator Aubrey Beardsley, and his own drawings echo Beardsley's style. This classic saga, drenched in blood and tragedy, heroism and honour, beauty and nobility, gives us a glimpse into the literature that helped inform Tolkien's imagination, ultimately flowering in his most popular work - The Lord of the Rings.

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