The Fall of Arthur

Front Cover
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013 - Fiction - 233 pages
33 Reviews
The Fall of Arthur, the only venture by J.R.R. Tolkien into the legends of Arthur, king of Britain, may well be regarded as his finest and most skillful achievement in the use of Old English alliterative meter, in which he brought to his transforming perceptions of the old narratives a pervasive sense of the grave and fateful nature of all that is told: of Arthur's expedition overseas into distant heathen lands, of Guinevere's flight from Camelot, of the great sea battle on Arthur's return to Britain, in the portrait of the traitor Mordred, in the tormented doubts of Lancelot in his French castle.

Unhappily, The Fall of Arthur was one of several long narrative poems that Tolkien abandoned. He evidently began it in the 1930s, and it was sufficiently advanced for him to send it to a very perceptive friend who read it with great enthusiasm at the end of 1934 and urgently pressed him, "You simply must finish it!" But in vain: he abandoned it at some unknown date, though there is evidence that it may have been in 1937, the year of publication of The Hobbit and the first stirrings of The Lord of the Rings. Years later, in a letter of 1955, he said that he "hoped to finish a long poem on The Fall of Arthur," but that day never came.

Associated with the text of the poem, however, are many manuscript pages: a great quantity of drafting and experimentation in verse, in which the strange evolution of the poem's structure is revealed, together with narrative synopses and significant tantalizing notes. In these notes can be discerned clear if mysterious associations of the Arthurian conclusion with The Silmarillion, and the bitter ending of the love of Lancelot and Guinevere, which was never written.
  

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Review: The Fall of Arthur

User Review  - David Eden - Goodreads

I have read several versions of the Arthurian epic, and all I can say is that I wish Tolkien had been able to write more of this. Reading alliterative verse is a wonderful change of mental pace. Read full review

Review: The Fall of Arthur

User Review  - Terence - Goodreads

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed The Fall of Arthur. I've never been a fan of Tolkien as poet and, as a rule, skim through the examples that crop up in his prose or that are reproduced in the ... Read full review

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Contents

Foreword
7
The Fall of Arthur
15
Notes on the Text of The Fall of Arthur
59
The Poem in Arthurian Tradition
71
The Unwritten Poem and its Relation to The Silmarillion
123
The Evolution of the Poem
169
Back Matter
223
Back Flap
235
Back Cover
236
Spine
237
Copyright

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About the author (2013)

A writer of fantasies, Tolkien, a professor of language and literature at Oxford University, was always intrigued by early English and the imaginative use of language. In his greatest story, the trilogy The Lord of the Rings (1954--56), Tolkien invented a language with vocabulary, grammar, syntax, even poetry of its own. Though readers have created various possible allegorical interpretations, Tolkien has said: "It is not about anything but itself. (Certainly it has no allegorical intentions, general, particular or topical, moral, religious or political.)" In The Adventures of Tom Bombadil (1962), Tolkien tells the story of the "master of wood, water, and hill," a jolly teller of tales and singer of songs, one of the multitude of characters in his romance, saga, epic, or fairy tales about his country of the Hobbits. Tolkien was also a formidable medieval scholar, as evidenced by his work, Beowulf: The Monster and the Critics (1936) and his edition of Anciene Wisse: English Text of the Anciene Riwle. Among his works published posthumously, are The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún and The Fall of Arthur, which was edited by his son, Christopher. In 2013, his title, The Hobbit (Movie Tie-In) made The New York Times Best Seller List.

Christopher Reuel Tolkien was born on November 21, 1924 in Leeds, England. He is author J.R.R. Tolkien's youngest son and is known for having edited and published much of his father's work posthumously, including The Children of Húrin.

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