Having read this, I hurried to read Phelpstead's article (incidentally, my respect for Phelpstead's work grow with every study I read from his hand)— as you say, it is an excellent and interesting article.
As for the differences between The Lord of the Ringsand the Silmarillion, I think that only the Narn i Hîn Húrin(in Unfinished Tales) is sufficiently developed as a prose narrative to warrant this kind of comparison. The story of Beren and Lúthien is only ever dealt with inannalisticform or in the summary form of the Quenta Silmarilliontexts— there is never any attempt to create a full-length prose narrative of this story (as with the stories of Tuor and Túrin— though unfortunately the story of Tuor was even less finished than the Narn).
Tolkien even returned to the poetic telling of the Lay of Leithianafter finishing LotR, suggesting, at least to me, that the poetic form in rhyming couplets was, to Tolkien, the primary telling of the story (and the other versions mere summaries of this). The existence of the proseNarn, however, suggests that he did not see it that way with the story of Húrin's children, as the older poetic lay (in an alliterative meter) was apparently abandoned and when Tolkien returned to that story, it was in the prose form.
So, for me, the lack of poetry in The Children of Húrinand the Narn(and also in ‘Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin’) is curious and interesting — when the prosimetric form had served Tolkien so well in The Hobbitand The Lord of the Rings, why would he abandon it when returning to an expansive prose account of a tale from the Elder Days?
The Parting Song in the story of Lúthien and Beren is (like the passage about the song-battle of Sauron and Finrod) taken form the lay (the parting song is canto XI, lines 3322—33, while the spell battle is in canto VII, lines 2173—2203), but with this in mind it becomes even more strange (at least to me) that Tolkien never turned his eye to the most developed version of the Túrin story when retelling that in prose form. Though some passages in the alliterative lay might not be wholly congruent with the later version of the story, many other passages could have been quoted without problems and with great effect. And yet Tolkien chose not to . . . why?
Troels Forchhammer, physicist, Denmark
Things done and over and made into part of the great tales are different. Why, even Gollum might be good in a tale