Beren and Lúthien
HarperCollins will announce today the latest Tolkien title edited by Christopher Tolkien, Beren and Lúthien, to be illustrated with drawings and paintings by Alan Lee and published on 4 May 2017. An American edition will be published simultaneously by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. As we write this on the 18th, Amazon UK list only a Kindle edition. Price and physical details have not been announced, but the upper dust-jacket is pictured at left; nor is there word yet of a deluxe edition.
To quote HarperCollins’ press release (thanks to David Brawn at HarperCollins for sending this and the cover art), Christopher Tolkien ‘has attemped to extract the story of Beren and Lúthien from the comprehensive work in which it was embedded; but that story was itself changing as it developed new associations within the larger history. To show something of the process whereby this legend of Middle-earth evolved over the years, he has told the story in his father’s own words by giving, first, its original form, and then passages in prose and verse from later texts that illustrate the narrative as it changed. Presented together for the first time, they reveal aspects of the story, both in event and in narrative immediacy, that were afterwards lost.’
‘Original form’ presumably means the earliest surviving version, written in ink over, and obliterating, the first version which Tolkien had written out in pencil, in The Book of Lost Tales, as The Tale of Tinúviel. This evolved as Tolkien’s legendarium grew, as related in several volumes of The History of Middle-earth and described at length in our J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide.
Update later this morning: A hardcover edition of 304 pages is now listed on Amazon UK at £20.00, and a simultaneous deluxe edition at £75.00.