Review of Pearl and Sir Orfeo by J.R.R. Tolkien

SFFaudio Review

Fantasy Audio - Pearl and Sir Orfeo by J.R.R.TolkienPearl and Sir Orfeo
By J.R.R. Tolkien; Read by Terry Jones
2 cassettes – 2 hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Harper Audio
Published: 2000
ISBN: 0001053744
Themes: / Fantasy / Mythology /

Pearl, the longer of the two stories in this collection, is an elegy for the poet’s baby daughter, told in alliterative verse. It tells the story of a man who goes into a graveyard to mourn the death of his baby daughter, whom he has lost like a pearl that slipped through his fingers into the grass. Worn out by his grief, he falls asleep and has a glorious vision of another, symbolically bejeweled, world, in which he meets his daughter again and discovers what has happened to her.

Sir Orfeo, a Celtic version of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, complete with a twist happy ending. The moving story of a love so strong it was
able to overcome death itself.

*ALSO INCLUDED* ~Two Essays by J.R.R. Tolkien
Two introduction and background essays by the master himself, J.R.R. Tolkien regarding the translation and preservation of the anonymous fourteenth-century poems upon which these stories are based.

Best known for his work with Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Terry Jones lends his signature voice and style to these two wonderful translations by J.R.R. Tolkien. Jones, is well equipped to flesh out the characters and voices of Tolkien’s texts. The combination of the lilting verse and the audio medium bringing the absolutely right feel to the presentation. This audiobook makes it quite clear that heroic tales were meant to be heard rather than read. Jones uses his knowledge, he’s actually a scholar of medieval literature himself, for a particularly effective reading, he sets just the right tone to the musical quality of the verse. Also of interest to
Tolkien fanatics are the unmentioned (on the packaging) essays and introductions by Tolkien for both these tales, a fantastic resource for teachers and students studying Toklien and comparative mythology. One caveat – the accessibility of this audiobook’s text is high school or above and not at all suitable for young children.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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