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New Tolkien work to be released next May!

News from Bree

Oct 7 2012, 8:47am

Post #1 of 18 (1455 views)
New Tolkien work to be released next May! Can't Post

Last July, we told you of rumours of a new publication of Tolkien's work, expected May of 2013.  There is now confirmation from British publishers Harper Collins that Tolkien's long poem, The Fall of Arthur, will indeed be released next Spring.  The text has of course been edited by the Professor's son Christopher, and the publication will also included 'three illuminating essays that explore the literary world of King Arthur, reveal the deeper meaning of the verses and the painstaking work that his father applied to bring it to a finished form, and the intriguing links between The Fall of Arthur and his greatest creation, Middle-earth.'

Exciting stuff; fans everywhere will be eager to read Tolkien's poem on the British legend which was one of his inspirations to create his own mythic saga.  Read the details here; thanks to David for sending us the update!



Oct 7 2012, 3:41pm

Post #2 of 18 (865 views)
Brilliant news. Looking forward to digging into this. / [In reply to] Can't Post


Want Hobbit Movie News? Hobbit Headlines of the Week!


Oct 7 2012, 3:46pm

Post #3 of 18 (953 views)
I am a little surprised at this because everythig I have read indicated [In reply to] Can't Post

JRRT was quite displeased with the whole "French" influenced romances of Arthur and did not consider Arthur's story grounded in the Anglo-Saxon world he was interested in (opponents historically). I wonder what this analysis will reveal if he dissects the works and roots them more in Britain etc. We will have to wait and see.
Much has been written and discovered since JRRT's time so it may be out of date.

(This post was edited by Eruonen on Oct 7 2012, 3:48pm)


Oct 7 2012, 6:29pm

Post #4 of 18 (835 views)
This is so Amazing. " Put away for 80 Years?" [In reply to] Can't Post

I had completely forgotten I read
"The Once & Future King"
by T. H. White before I read
His book was great..yet the Animated
Disney version of "The Sword & The Stone"
was okay.
"Camelot" the Musical, was cool&
The Movie Version with Richard Burton
very nice.
there have been others..maybe you can help complete this List?

Since IT would be fun to View all Versions in a Movie marathon.
"Excalibur" with Nigel Williamson as Merlin was also cool Too!

There must be more and
Maybe..if this volume does well
Maybe..Maybe a Movie Too?


Oct 7 2012, 7:22pm

Post #5 of 18 (811 views)
My impression is that JRRT would not have liked the [In reply to] Can't Post

style of T.H. White as he despised the mix of modern anchronisms dropped into stories (though he had a few himself). I wish I knew if JRRT and T. H. White bothered to read each others works as they were active at the same time (until T.H. White's rather sudden death at the relatively young age of 57 from a likely heart attack in his cruiseship stateroom...no doubt alcohol abuse probably played a part).

(This post was edited by Eruonen on Oct 7 2012, 7:24pm)


Oct 7 2012, 7:44pm

Post #6 of 18 (806 views)
I did com across a cryptic message another site that [In reply to] Can't Post

indicated the person had seen a margin note on some unpublished material indicating JRRT had read The Sword in the Stone by April 1940....no other info. He probably was aware of it from the Times review and C.S. Lewis who commented how much he disliked the story.


Oct 8 2012, 2:18pm

Post #7 of 18 (742 views)
Yes!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

I cannot wait! I first heard about this, I believe, in the Humphrey Carpenter biography, and have always wanted to read it.

I hope we get a page count soon.

And I can't help but wonder how "unfinished" it is...hopefully there's a whole narrative.

Anyway, this is Tolkien news I can get excited about Smile


Oct 8 2012, 2:24pm

Post #8 of 18 (861 views)
Camelot Movie... [In reply to] Can't Post

That's Richard Harris not Richard Burton.

Burton did the stage version.

Love 'em both but...Harris was a GOD!!!


I finally made it through The Sword In The Stone this past summer after a life time of trying. I loved it!! But it's not Tolkienesque at all: the prose is showy, the text is openly didactic, and White plays fast and loose with the historical setting.

(This post was edited by Malveth on Oct 8 2012, 2:25pm)


Oct 9 2012, 12:50am

Post #9 of 18 (761 views)
Probably more English epic than French romance [In reply to] Can't Post

Various scholars have suggested that Tolkien's Fall of Arthur is based on the Middle English Alliterative Morte Arthure which is more like an English heroic poem than it is a French romance about love. You can read about that poem and various other medieval English Arthurian poems here:
I expect that the alliterative poem is what would have drawn Tolkien, who was very interested in composing in alliterative verse. But still, I agree that it will be very interesting to see what he makes of the Arthurian material.


Oct 9 2012, 4:53am

Post #10 of 18 (736 views)
Yes, after reviewing the Alliterative Morte Arthure link provided [In reply to] Can't Post

it does seem more like something JRRT would have found interesting. His take on Arthur will fill a void as previous info on his sources and inspiration never included Arthur. This may be just a scholarly work without any inspirational link to the LOTR, but it will be of great interest.


Oct 9 2012, 9:55am

Post #11 of 18 (743 views)
Interesting link! [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for that.

This (from the website you linked to) strikes me as something that would have drawn Tolkien:
The poets of the Alliterative Revival used the traditional line of Anglo-Saxon poetry, which had disappeared from written records about two centuries before and was revived by a number of poets (mainly living in the West and North of England) in the fourteenth century. Evidently the style of alliterative poetry had been preserved by popular, unlettered poets who continued to compose and transmit poems by oral, non-written means from Anglo-Saxon times until well into the fourteenth century...
This would be Arthur as seen through the eyes of the Anglo-Saxons rather than the Normans. Arthur was originally a British (Celtic) hero, of course, whose tales survived orally in the parts of the island of Britain where the Celts had survived (Wales and Cornwall mostly) after the Anglo-Saxon invasion, and in the land of the Celtic-British diaspora of Brittany in Northwest France. I believe the Welsh writer Geoffrey of Monmouth provided the first written version that we have (it's in Latin, and forms part of what claims to be the real history of the island of Britain), and from there, as well as from some French-language poetry from Brittany, it became hugely popular among the French-speaking Norman ruling class of England. As I recall, some literary historians have suggested that the Normans latched onto Arthurian romance so eagerly because it gave them a link to the earlier British people, the Celts who had been displaced by the Anglo-Saxons, and made the Anglo-Saxons look like the usurpers. Since Tolkien identified with the "English", i.e. the Anglo-Saxons, Arthur in this tradition would not have been to his taste at all.

But the alliterative Arthurian poem shows the Anglo-Saxon tradition also embraced Arthur in its own way - belatedly, unless this alliterative poem is based on a long oral history - and I can imagine Tolkien finding this blend of Celtic legend and Anglo-Saxon expression very interesting indeed. Looking forward to seeing what he did with it!

They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings

(This post was edited by FarFromHome on Oct 9 2012, 9:56am)


Oct 9 2012, 1:14pm

Post #12 of 18 (707 views)
Agreed [In reply to] Can't Post

That's always been my assumption.

Troubadours were C.S. Lewis's thing, not Tolkien's.


Oct 9 2012, 6:25pm

Post #13 of 18 (803 views)
Related Guardian Article. [In reply to] Can't Post


"A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities."


Oct 9 2012, 7:53pm

Post #14 of 18 (681 views)
You never know [In reply to] Can't Post

The Middle English poem has heroic action, the end of an age, a beseiged town, thoughts on loyalty, friendship, courage....we may find some kind of inspirational link to LotR. I can't wait to see how much of Tolkien's work is a close adaptation of an original text and how much is his own invention. And I have to admit I'm interested in seeing what Tolkien does with an adulterous queen, something out of his usual range.


Oct 9 2012, 8:00pm

Post #15 of 18 (741 views)
Celtic elements [In reply to] Can't Post

That's an interesting point about the Norman use of Celtic myths to criticize the Anglo-Saxons. It will be interesting to see how Tolkien positions his work in relation to that long history of Arthurian legends among the Normans, Anglo-Saxons, and Celts. I can imagine Tolkien trying to work something out to reclaim the story for the English, but maybe just using the meter of the English alliterative revival will be his way of making that claim for "Englishness."


Oct 9 2012, 8:36pm

Post #16 of 18 (707 views)
The trouble is that Arthur was Romano-British / celtic not English. [In reply to] Can't Post

The Anglo-Saxons were the "English" so any examination would have to consider Arthur as standing up against the Anglo-Saxon invasion and consolidation. Would the Anglo-Saxons have considered Arthur a hero or the enemy in later centuries? He was fighting their ancestors.
Will JRRT cast Arthur as the valiant commander who stemmed the tide of Anglo-Saxon conquest for a few decades? He would represent the "Christian" side in the conflict with the Germanic pagans.

One can see very loose comparisons with Merlin / Arthur and Gandalf / Aragorn.

(This post was edited by Eruonen on Oct 9 2012, 8:37pm)


Oct 10 2012, 3:19am

Post #17 of 18 (670 views)
! ! ! ! [In reply to] Can't Post

"Arthur eastward in arms purposed
his war to wage on the wild marches,
over seas sailing to Saxon lands,
from the Roman realm ruin defending.
Thus the tides of time to turn backward
and the heathen to humble, his hope urged him,
that with harrying ships they should hunt no more
on the shining shores and shallow waters
of South Britain, booty seeking."

Classic Tolkien. You can feel the absence of the obsessive rewriting that LOTR's received, but still, it has the "tone" and music of Tolkien's best prose & verse.

This takes the sting out of having zero interest in The Hobbit movie!

So, what's left? Tolkien's prose "Beowulf" and "The King of the Green Dozens"? It's sad to think that we might be coming to the bottom of that deep, deep well...


Oct 10 2012, 10:44am

Post #18 of 18 (927 views)
"...no wizards or magic swords..." [In reply to] Can't Post

From the article, quoting the book's editor:
"In The Fall of Arthur we find themes of lost identity, betrayal, and sacrifice for greater glory, which have their echoes in other works, such as The Lord of the Rings, but anyone looking for closer connections will find no wizards or magic swords. In this respect The Fall of Arthur is closer to Sir Gawain and the Green Knight or The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrn." [my emphasis]
So no Merlin, and no Excalibur, apparently. Or at least, not as we know them. This is going to be a more "historical" take on Arthur, perhaps. Certainly the opening lines (quoted in the article) seem to make it clear that in this poem, the Anglo-Saxons are the enemy, and that Arthur is the "historical" fifth-century Celtic leader trying to hold back the tide of invasion after the Romans go home and leave Britain to defend herself.

They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings


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