The Lays of Beleriand, published in 1985, is the third volume of Christopher Tolkien's 12-volume series, The History of Middle-earth, in which he analyses the unpublished manuscripts of his father J. R. R. Tolkien.


The book contains the long "lays" or poems Tolkien wrote: these are the Lay of the Children of Húrin about the saga of Túrin Turambar, and The Lay of Leithian (also called Release from Bondage) about Beren and Lúthien. Although Tolkien abandoned both of these before their respective ends, they are both long enough to occupy many stanzas, each of which can last for over 10 pages.

The first tale is in alliterative verse, and the second is in rhyming couplets. Both exist in two versions. In addition to these two poems, the book also gives some shorter, soon abandoned poems.

The first versions of the long lays fit chronologically in with Tolkien's earliest writings, as recounted in The Book of Lost Tales, but the later versions are contemporary with the writing of The Lord of the Rings.

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The History of Middle-earth Series (1983 - 2002)

The Book of Lost Tales | The Book of Lost Tales 2 | The Lays of Beleriand | The Shaping of Middle-earth | The Lost Road and Other Writings | The Return of the Shadow | The Treason of Isengard | The War of the Ring | Sauron Defeated | Morgoth's Ring | The War of the Jewels | The Peoples of Middle-earth | The History of Middle-earth: Index

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