The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun

The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun


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In Britain’s land beyond the seas
The wind blows ever through the trees;
in Britain’s land beyond the waves
are stony shores and stony caves.
So begins The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun, an early but seminal work that grew, along with the two “Corrigan” poems presented alongside it in this volume, from a comparatively short but intense period in Tolkien’s life when he was deeply engaged with Celtic, and particularly Breton, myth and legend.
            Aotrou and Itroun are a Breton lord and lady residing “in Britain’s land beyond the seas” during the mythic age of chivalry. Childless and desperate for an heir, Aotrou seeks out a magic potion from a corrigan, or malevolent fairy. When the potion succeeds, the corrigan returns to demand her fee, and Aotrou is forced to choose between his marriage and his life.
            Originally written in 1930 and long out of print, The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun may be set alongside Tolkien’s The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún,The Fall of Arthur, and The Story of Kullervo. Like these other retellings of myths and legends, it was a powerful influence on Tolkien’s own legendarium.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781328557520
Publisher: HMH Books
Publication date: 11/06/2018
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 128
Sales rank: 419,376
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

J.R.R. TOLKIEN (1892–1973) is the creator of Middle-earth and the author of such classic and extraordinary works of fiction as The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.

VERLYN FLIEGER, PhD, is retired from the University of Maryland as professor emerita in the Department of English, where her specialties were the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and comparative mythology. 

Date of Birth:

January 3, 1892

Date of Death:

September 2, 1973

Place of Birth:

Bloemfontein, Orange Free State (South Africa)

Place of Death:

Oxford, England


B.A., Exeter College, Oxford University, 1915; M.A., 1919

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