Readings from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Tale Of Beren and Lúthien, with The Center from the Study of C.S. Lewis and Friends

Hi folks. This event is past, but The Center for the Study of C.S. Lewis and Friends at Taylor University are having a digital Inklings “tea” on Friday’s at 4pm. They are an archive, a host of strong Inklings-informed study program that includes student and faculty research, and host the biannual Taylor Lewis & Friends conference. If you would like to join in on future “digital teas,” get on their mailing list by emailing:

I have once before made this bold declaration:

“I don’t think I have ever read anything better than the tale of Beren and Lúthien.”

I still love it, having read it through for class preparation this spring. And now the Center for the Study of C.S. Lewis & Friends at Taylor University in Upland, IN is having a digital “tea” with the Beren and Lúthien at the core of it. We will take turns doing some readings in a Zoom gathering, sharing from Tolkien’s letters, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, and “The Lay of Leithian.” 

This is a free, online event. Check out the Facebook page here, and email the Center for a Zoom link (

In related news, Audible is showing the 2017 Beren and Lúthien text–published 100 years after it was begun–as being released for audio on April 30th. You can see my write-ups about Beren and Lúthien here.

And though it is not what I’m reading, here is a little bit I like:

The leaves were long, the grass was green,
The hemlock-umbels tall and fair,
And in the glade a light was seen
Of stars in shadow shimmering.
Tinúviel was dancing there
To music of a pipe unseen,
And light of stars was in her hair,
And in her raiment glimmering.

There Beren came from mountains cold,
And lost he wandered under leaves,
And where the Elven-river rolled
He walked alone and sorrowing.
He peered between the hemlock-leaves
And saw in wonder flowers of gold
Upon her mantle and her sleeves,
And her hair like shadow following.

Enchantment healed his weary feet
That over hills were doomed to roam; …

From the Publisher:

The tale of Beren and Lúthien was, or became, an essential element in the evolution of The Silmarillion, the myths and legends of the First Age of the World conceived by J.R.R. Tolkien. Returning from France and the battle of the Somme at the end of 1916, he wrote the tale in the following year.

Essential to the story, and never changed, is the fate that shadowed the love of Beren and Lúthien: for Beren was a mortal man, but Lúthien was an immortal elf. Her father, a great elvish lord, in deep opposition to Beren, imposed on him an impossible task that he must perform before he might wed Lúthien. This is the kernel of the legend; and it leads to the supremely heroic attempt of Beren and Lúthien together to rob the greatest of all evil beings, Melkor, called Morgoth, the Black Enemy, of a Silmaril.

In this book Christopher Tolkien has attempted 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.

Published on the tenth anniversary of the last Middle-earth book, the international bestseller The Children of Húrin, this new volume will similarly include drawings and color plates by Alan Lee, who also illustrated The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit and went on to win Academy Awards for his work on The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.

About Brenton Dickieson

“A Pilgrim in Narnia” is a blog project in reading and talking about the work of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the worlds they touched. As a "Faith, Fantasy, and Fiction" blog, we cover topics like children’s literature, apologetics and philosophy, myths and mythology, fantasy, theology, cultural critique, art and writing. This blog includes my thoughts as I read through Lewis and Tolkien and reflect on my own life and culture. In this sense, I am a Pilgrim in Narnia--or Middle Earth, or Fairyland. I am often peeking inside of wardrobes, looking for magic bricks in urban alleys, or rooting through yard sale boxes for old rings. If something here captures your imagination, leave a comment, “like” a post, share with your friends, or sign up to receive Narnian Pilgrim posts in your email box. Brenton Dickieson is a father, husband, friend, university lecturer, and freelance writer from Prince Edward Island, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter, @BrentonDana.
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20 Responses to Readings from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Tale Of Beren and Lúthien, with The Center from the Study of C.S. Lewis and Friends

  1. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    Will it be posted in any form anywhere, afterwards – for those who did not see this in time, or want to savor what they experienced, live, and so on?

    I wonder if Lewis’s fascinating commentary (with supposed alternate readings from other manuscripts!) will have been much of a feature of discussing the “Lay of Leithian” (including Christopher Tolkien’s enjoyable comments on that commentary…)?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. successbmine says:

    I have The Silmarillion, The Book of Lost Tales and A Tolkien Miscellany, but I don’t have Beren and Luthien. I must look into finding it sometime.

    Liked by 2 people

    • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

      I still have not caught up with Beren and Luthien or The Fall of Gondolin (2018), but finally just caught up with The War of the Jewels (1994) (The History of Middle-earth, vol. 11), which has interesting late Beren and Luthien ‘stuff’ – so, I’m not sure how far Christopher Tolkien reprinted things from Unfinished Tales (1980) in his 2017 and 2018 books, but it is a book well worth reading for its publication of ‘Silmarillion’ stories (partly) retold in more Lord of the Rings style.

      Liked by 2 people

      • successbmine says:

        Years ago I saw one of Christopher Tolkien’s books on Middle Earth at a flea market and wondered about buying it but it was several numbers down in the series and I didn’t know if I would need the others in the series in order to make sense of that one, so I left it there. I have sometimes wished I had picked it up anyway. I started the Silmarillion several years ago and stopped at some point, but I don’t think I ever picked it up again. I will probably have to start over to make sense of it.

        Liked by 1 person

        • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

          I just reread it right through pretty quickly (having read it aloud once or twice en famille some years ago when the children were younger) – and it made a lot more sense!

          Various of those History of Middle-earth (HME) books are somewhat self contained – or have self-contained (though often sadly, tantalizingly unfinished) works in them. In this regard, I’ve enjoyed The Lost Road and Other Writings (HME, volume 5), Sauron Defeated (HME, volume 9) – especially for The Notion Club Papers ( a sort of log of fictional Inklings-like meetings!), Morgoth’s Ring (HME, volume 10) – especially for “Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth” (about which Brenton posted not so long ago) in its context, and The Peoples of Middle-earth (HME, volume 12) – especially for the starts of two late abandoned novels, The New Shadow and Tal-Elmar. But, if at all possible, it might be a good idea to see if a good, nearby library has copies, to try them and see if you like them.

          Liked by 2 people

          • successbmine says:

            Thank you David. I think the one I passed up might have been Peoples of Middle-earth. As to a library, there is one just a block or two away from me, but I guess that will have to wait until after the social distancing is no longer in effect. Happy reading!


            • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

              Yes indeed (alas)! I had been wanting to read that New Shadow “chunk” since I read about it in Humphrey Carpenter’s biography in 1977, but somehow never managed to think of it when I was visiting somewhere near a good library since it came out in 1996 – until a month or so ago I thought, ‘go for it’ (as I was working on a conference paper) and bought the paperback – and found lots of other things in the book more interesting than I expected… but, whew, 19 years wait – and then crazy neglect for another 23 or so!

              Liked by 2 people

              • successbmine says:

                That is a long wait! But it sounds as though it was worth it. I was just thinking about C.S. Lewis and his favorite author George MacDonald and his book Phantastes. I sent for it a few years ago and I can see why Lewis was so taken with it. Have you read that one?

                Liked by 1 person

              • I struggle with both Phantastes and the Notion Club Papers. For Phantastes, as cool as it is I don’t see it with the magnificence that Lewis saw. And the NCP are a bit laborious, but cool. I guess I wanted more.


            • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

              Yes! – I keep thinking I should reread Phantastes – I’m not sure if it was my very first, or one of my first, MacDonald books – as I also got lucky on buying the paperback reprint series of his fairy tales (illustrated by Craig Yoe) that came out in 1970s – but I certainly enjoyed it (yet don’t remember a lot of its details). I wrestled with Lilith a lot more, back then – but thoroughly enjoyed rereading/audiobook-listening to it, a couple years ago. I think Sir Gibbie was my first ‘realistic’ MacDonald novel, but I’ve been buying them second hand when I find them (for a reasonable price), ever since – though I still have not read all I’ve bought. I also got a jolly reprint volume with both Princess books and At the Back of the North Wind, with (I think) original illustrations, and loved them. And I got the reprints of all his sermons (back before everything was online). And at some earlier point, I think, first enjoyed Lewis’s MacDonald Anthology. I see LibriVox had got lots of the ‘realistic’ novels as audiobooks, now – I should try feeding some into my ‘listening life’…

              Liked by 1 person

              • successbmine says:

                I think I have a couple other of his books, but not sure. I know I had a few in my “shopping cart” at Christian Book Distributors that I never did purchase, mostly because of shortage of funds for that type of purchase. But I do want to get at least some of them.

                Liked by 1 person

      • I have The Fall of Gondolin and the full B&L text on my 2020 list, though I’ve been through the latter. I think I will finish The Lost Road (#5) first, and then finish Sauron Defeated when I next read through LOTR.
        Always something to read!


        • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

          I recently reread “Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin” in Unfinished Tales, and was bowled over – and I am fascinated by the (cyborg?!) dragons in the earliest Gondolin story, so I am very curious about The Fall of Gondolin.

          I must say I’ve only dipped into The History of The Lord of the Rings in volumes 6, 7, and 8 of The History of Middle-earth, but I enjoyed the whole last bit, in Sauron Defeated – and as much as I’ve read about the Appendices, so far, in The Peoples of Middle-earth. I have yet to try John Rateliff’s The History of The Hobbit… (though it sounds fascinating).

          By the way, for anyone who has not tried it, I’d say, do read Roverandom – what a wild, funny, fun book! (Especially, read aloud with youngish children.)


  3. monikahilder says:

    “Digital tea!” I love it.

    Best to you and yours,


    Liked by 2 people

  4. love that colorful symmetrical illustration. saw it years ago! Thanks for reminding me

    Liked by 2 people

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