J.R.R. Tolkein's Celtic-inspired poem to be published after 70 years

Cate Blancett as Lady Galadriel in the Lord of the Rings, who is one of the central characters of Tolkein's poem. Photo / File
Cate Blancett as Lady Galadriel in the Lord of the Rings, who is one of the central characters of Tolkein's poem. Photo / File

After more than 70 years, a J.R.R. Tolkien poem from the "darker side" of the author's imagination will be republished.

The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun, out of print since its original 1945 release in the literary journal The Welsh Review, will be re-released this November, according to the Guardian. It is a lengthy poem in the tradition of the medieval lay, inspired by the Celtic legends of Brittany.

It tells of a desperate couple wishing to have a child, who seek the help of a witch. The witch gives them a potion allowing them to have children, but of course it comes at a cost.

Tolkien scholars describe the poem as coming from the morbid side of the author's works, according to the Guardian.

The story's witch may be familiar to LOTR fans, as Tolkien eventually turned the character into the Elven queen Galadriel in his later works, as the earliest manuscript for the poem dates back to September 1930.

Tolkien scholar Verlyn Flieger, a professor emerita at the University of Maryland, who is editing and introducing the new edition, told the Guardian that The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun vividly shows the author's interest "in paganism and in the dark side of what he called Faerie, the perilous realm or Otherworld of enchantment."

- NZ Herald

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