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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
A new Tolkien book looms on the horizon

News from Bree
spymaster@theonering.net

Jul 13 2012, 9:29pm

Post #1 of 25 (984 views)
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A new Tolkien book looms on the horizon Can't Post

The Tolkien scholarly community is afire with curiosity and rumours after it emerged that a new Tolkien book is on the horizon. The book, which we understand will be called The Fall of Arthur appears to be set for a May 2013 release going from pre-order information that inadvertently popped up on the website of retailing giant Amazon. It's possible that it has been edited by Christopher Tolkien, but this is unconfirmed.

The Fall of Arthur is a long, alliterative poem based on Arthurian legends. Some excerpts from it were published in Humphrey Carpenter's biography of JRR Tolkien. It seems it was written in the 1930s. In Letters of JRR Tolkien there is a bare mention of The Fall of Arthur.

I write alliterative verse with pleasure, though I have published little beyond fragments in The Lord of the Rings, except 'The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth'... a dramatic dialogue on the nature of the 'heroic' and the 'chivalrous'. I still hope to finish a long poem on The Fall of Arthur in the same measure. Letter 165, Letters of JRR Tolkien.


Modtheow
Lorien


Jul 14 2012, 2:58am

Post #2 of 25 (494 views)
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What do you hope to see? [In reply to] Can't Post

Carpenter cites two English professors who read the poem some time after Tolkien wrote it and liked it. One of them apparently commented "great stuff -- really heroic, quite apart for its value as showing how the Beowulf metre can be used in modern English." (Carpenter 171). I'm interested in seeing how the Anglo-Saxon poetic metre can be used in modern English by Tolkien, something that I think he cared about quite a bit, but I don't know if that's going to draw a lot of readers to this work.

Are you excited about the possibility of such a publication? What familiar themes or techniques or new themes do you think might emerge from this poem? Carpenter gives us a tantalizing glimpse in writing that "it is one of the few pieces of writing in which Tolkien deals explicitly with sexual passion, describing Mordred's unsated lust for Guinever." And apparently Guinever is described as a temptress, according to Verlyn Flieger's entry on "Arthurian Romance" in the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia. Unprecedented subject matter for Tolkien?

However, I don't know how much faith to put in the announcement on the French Amazon site. On the one hand, it cites a May 23, 2013 publication date (though I couldn't find any such information on the HarperCollins website); on the other hand, there's a note saying that they don't know when or if the product will become available. Wonder what that means?


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Jul 14 2012, 6:00am

Post #3 of 25 (440 views)
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Sounds wonderful [In reply to] Can't Post

Certainly won't be a massive bestseller, but that never bothered me.


geordie
Tol Eressea

Jul 14 2012, 7:45am

Post #4 of 25 (450 views)
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It is edited by Christopher Tolkien [In reply to] Can't Post

- I have that on good authority. Smile

I don't know about the publication date - the consensus in one of the small circles in which I move is that Amazon (France) may have jumped the gun.

I'm excited at the prospect - another original piece by JRR, brought to us by young Christopher.
I can't think of any better news on the Tolkien front.


(This post was edited by geordie on Jul 14 2012, 7:49am)


DanielLB
Immortal


Jul 14 2012, 8:48am

Post #5 of 25 (451 views)
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This is super, fantastic news! [In reply to] Can't Post

What better time to release it!!

Is it bad I was only slightly dissapointed? I thought we were for in a new Middle-earth book Laugh


geordie
Tol Eressea

Jul 14 2012, 9:23am

Post #6 of 25 (465 views)
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What is this obsession with M-e? [In reply to] Can't Post

 Laugh - there's more to Tolkien's fiction than M-e, don't'cher-know!

Furthermore - as ARF (Any Real Fan) would tell you - Wink - there's far more to Tolkien's writings than his fiction - his non-fiction works demonstrate his breadth of imagination as much as his Middle-earth works, IMO.

To me, Tolkien's writings are all of a piece - his academic works would be the poorer without his poetry and prose, and vice-versa. In fact, he combined the two in his piece on the Old English poem 'The Battle of Maldon'; which he called 'The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm's Son'. (Though I don't see anybody agitatin' for a movie to be made of that!)

You movies fans have your big day coming, for goodness' sake - the noise has been brewing for many months now, and soon it will become deafening - let us poor book fans look forward to our day, in peace, eh - without any mention of 'Middle-earth (TM)' !

Wink


(This post was edited by geordie on Jul 14 2012, 9:28am)


DanielLB
Immortal


Jul 14 2012, 9:32am

Post #7 of 25 (433 views)
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When a headline says : "New Tolkien book" ... [In reply to] Can't Post

The majority of people will think of a Middle-earth related book. That's all.

Like I said above, I'm super excited about this new book .... because it's Tolkien.

I'm not sure I like being classed solely as a "movie fan" either ...


geordie
Tol Eressea

Jul 14 2012, 9:52am

Post #8 of 25 (429 views)
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hmm.. [In reply to] Can't Post

- too late to edit my post, now. I suppose I could have removed the word, 'You', and left it as 'Movies fans'. (but anyway; what's wrong with being a movie fan? ToRn is full of 'em).

I wasn't being entirely serious - my point is exactly what you said; that in most people's minds, 'Tolkien' means 'Middle-earth'. I was just pointing out for other readers - maybe a bit too obliquely - that the old chap did write stuff other than M-e; and, in his own words, didn't go round thinking about it all the time.

That's all. Sorry if it gave offence.

Smile


imin
Valinor


Jul 14 2012, 10:37am

Post #9 of 25 (412 views)
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For me at the moment Tolkien means ME really [In reply to] Can't Post

I know and have known for some time that Tolkien was a professor and has lots of academic work which has been published but as I'm still working my through HoME which are all fairly substantial books in their own right, its been taking me some time. I have only read The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun, Tolkien biography, letters and his short stories so not much besides his ME work.

For me when they said a new Tolkien book i instantly took that to be another ME book, and because i love that universe created so much, i have to admit i was a little disappointed it was not something like CoH for example. Though when i read Sigurd i started with not really knowing anything about it and found it hard to get going. Once i did though i really enjoyed it and have read it again since and it was better for it.

I feel this is how it will be (for me) with this new book, which i am really looking forward to dont get me wrong, just there is that initial 'omg another book by tolkien about middle earth! yes! ' which comes over me, and probably what DanielLB was talking about.

I think in the future when i have read everything on ME - not long now only a few more HoME to go, then i will turn to his other publications, leaving me with a more rounded view of Tolkien's work.


geordie
Tol Eressea

Jul 14 2012, 10:57am

Post #10 of 25 (408 views)
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Something I can recommend to get you started - [In reply to] Can't Post

- when you have the time, would be the collection of Tolkien's papers called 'The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays', edited by Christopher and published in 1983.

I think one paper - called by Tolkien 'A Secret Vice' - ought to be required reading for ARF - that is, 'Any Real Fan' - Smile - because it's about Tolkien's love for invented languages, and includes a little-known poem of his, in English and the original Quenya, called 'Oilima Markirya' or, 'The Last Ark'. It's very powerful.


(This post was edited by geordie on Jul 14 2012, 11:00am)


dormouse
Half-elven


Jul 14 2012, 11:32am

Post #11 of 25 (386 views)
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Now, this really is exciting... [In reply to] Can't Post

More Tolkien and Tolkien on the Arthurian legend. Can't wait!

I love the fact that all these years after Tolkien's death there is still so much to discover. And once again, how much Tolkien enthusiasts owe to Christopher Tolkien for the years he has devoted to his father's work.


squire
Valinor


Jul 14 2012, 12:16pm

Post #12 of 25 (419 views)
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Is it really a poem, or more of an example of linguistic invention? [In reply to] Can't Post

Is it really appropriate to think of the poem as having been written in "the original Quenya"? Quenya is roughly and scantily documented, compared to real languages. It is only problematically a language in which one, even its inventor, could or can freely write poetry without pausing frequently to consider the problems of non-existent words or forms.

From what I can tell having just looked it up, Tolkien used the poem as an exercise in Quenya composition - it seems to have been a vehicle for "test-driving" changes that he developed in his imaginary language over the years. As such, it's an elegant illustration of the joys and frustrations he experienced while indulging in his "secret vice" of language invention. For all we know, the "original Quenya" may have undergone changes in its structure and vocabulary due to the writing of the poem - quite a different situation from a poem being written "in the original", that is, being a literary composition in a fixed and well-understood language.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


Curious
Half-elven


Jul 14 2012, 12:50pm

Post #13 of 25 (378 views)
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I generally like Tolkien's alliterative verse [In reply to] Can't Post

better than his four-beat rhyming verse, so I look forward to this publication.


geordie
Tol Eressea

Jul 14 2012, 1:40pm

Post #14 of 25 (379 views)
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I don't know - [In reply to] Can't Post

- I'm a dunce when it comes to the study of Tolkien's languages. My 'from the original Quenya' remark was just a throw-away line, not meant to be taken seriously.

I look on the poem - or rather the variants of the poem - the same way as I look at the two poems in 'The Road Goes Ever On' (Namarie, and 'A Elbereth Gilthoniel). That is, some lovely examples of Tolkien's invente languages.


Malveth The Eternal
Lorien

Jul 14 2012, 3:50pm

Post #15 of 25 (375 views)
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Great News... [In reply to] Can't Post

This leaves only 2 major Tolkien works left to publish:

Beowulf (prose translation)

King of the Green Dozens.

Sure hope this isn't just a wild rumor!

Maybe Peter Jackson can made a 12 1/2 hour movie based on this: Guenevere can fight Mordred, and Merlin can go around with bird-crap in his beard in a sleigh driven by giant toads!!

http://www.facebook.com/pages/CarrotField/257960949766?created


geordie
Tol Eressea

Jul 14 2012, 4:16pm

Post #16 of 25 (354 views)
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It isn't a rumour. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


dormouse
Half-elven


Jul 14 2012, 4:26pm

Post #17 of 25 (396 views)
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At the risk of being pelted with turnips... [In reply to] Can't Post

*gets umbrella at the ready*

May I just say that it would complete my delight if this book comes with Alan Lee illustrations. I'd even start saving for the deluxe edition....


geordie
Tol Eressea

Jul 14 2012, 5:05pm

Post #18 of 25 (364 views)
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At least one opinion I've read [In reply to] Can't Post

says that they hope there'll be no illustrations. I disagree - I'd love to see Alan Lee's pictures for this story - see here for examples of his non-M-e art.

http://www.artistsuk.co.uk/acatalog/ALAN_LEE_PRINTS_AND_POSTERS.html

But a thought occurs - will he have had the time to make these pictures whilst being on a working holiday in NZ (TM) ?


dormouse
Half-elven


Jul 14 2012, 5:37pm

Post #19 of 25 (354 views)
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Good point - but he might have time [In reply to] Can't Post

... and the Arthurian legend seems especially suitable for his work. His illustrations for the Mabinogion are glorious and Peter Dickinson's Merlin Dreams is another one he did. (I've been collecting books with his illlustrations since Faeries in the 1980s. Was over the moon when I saw the centenary edition of Lord of the Rings!)

But even if they can't have Alan Lee I hope they do have an illustrator (one whose work I like, of course).


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Jul 14 2012, 7:09pm

Post #20 of 25 (364 views)
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Exciting News [In reply to] Can't Post

"The Fall of Arthur" has been the "holy grail" (pun intended) for serious Tolkien fans for a long time. I am glad that it finally will be published. I thought the work that Christopher did on "The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun" was some of the best that he has ever done, and so I am particularly glad that he will be editing (and presumably providing commentary) on this work as well.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


Finrod
Rohan


Jul 17 2012, 6:56pm

Post #21 of 25 (330 views)
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desideratum meum [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
"The Fall of Arthur" has been the "holy grail" (pun intended) for serious Tolkien fans for a long time. I am glad that it finally will be published. I thought the work that Christopher did on "The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun" was some of the best that he has ever done, and so I am particularly glad that he will be editing (and presumably providing commentary) on this work as well.


I'm plenty glad that this is coming out. I'm ultra intrigued by what Chrisopher shall have done with it. Is it just another unfinished poem? Or will it be a finished work, either because Christopher found completed bits his father worked on hitherto unknown to the world, or because Christopher has finished the writing himself?

I do not know if that’s something Christopher is comfortable with doing, and I can see good reasons why he might not be. First, he wants to present his father’s work as his father’s, showing what his father actually did. Second, he might not be confident in his own poetic abilities to produce lines of verse that mesh well with the existing text. And third, he may not wish to be compared with his father, as would surely inevitably occur. No matter what the judgement would be, it would seem to risk detracting from his father’s own work if people were quibbling with Christopher’s own creativity.

The thing I really wish that Christopher would do — or has done, or had done, or soemthing like that — is to publish in full a complete version of the greatest of those three Great Tales that compose the heart of the greater “Silmarillion”: The Lay of Leithian: Release from Bondage.

Of those three, Christopher is now published the Narn, and we know that Eärendil’s tale was never completed, but surely Luthien’s Lay is nigh complete and should be so published?

Yes, it would be a lot of work, but who else has his father’s voice in his head but Christopher? He would have to make editorial decisions, and fix up the names and spellings, which sometimes requires rewording because of the changes in the syllables or rhyme. I’m thinking of things like Inglor > Finrod, Finrod > Finarfin, and Thû > Sauron throughout, with the latter two adding an extra syllable, which may not be all that important, but might be. The idea would be to fix it up so that the names at least follow the style used in the other published works.

If you read “the Lay of Leithian recommenced” at the end of the The Lays of Beleriand, you will see how much better the later realization of the poem is than the earlier ones. It may be that there is no hope ever of finishing up the revision in that same style. But so be it: the published Children of Húrin is also something of a patchwork made up of unequal pieces composed at different times. (And gosh I wish it had included the wanderings of Húrin that follow the end of that book!!)

Yes, there are some real editorial decisions that need being made. There are things in the Lay that don’t work out well with the published storyline, such as saying that Maelor (> Maglor) ended his life in the sea, rather than what the published Silmarillion has. Or maybe just leave the conflicts; after all, there were many tales, and there is no reason that they should all be completely consistent the one with the other.

Then beyond the editorial decisions, real creative decisions need to be made, because the Lay breaks off at the end and does not finish. The last Canto needs fleshing out, or even a new last Canto added. Even if he had both the will and the energy to undertake such an endeavor, does Christopher have the skill and ear to write the new verse needed to produce the missing ending?

If not, even so, then perhaps he would work with another poet of his own choosing. It surely can’t be worse than the fabricated ending Christopher put at the end of the published Silmarillion.

Could this ever happen, that the Lay ever be published in full?

I dearly wish it could, and I would like it done with Christopher’s cooperation and input, and blessing, not something a hundred years from now long after its copyright, and I, have expired.


…all eyes looked upon the ring; for he held it now aloft, and the green jewels gleamed there that the Noldor had devised in Valinor. For this ring was like to twin serpents, whose eyes were emeralds, and their heads met beneath a crown of golden flowers, that the one upheld and the other devoured; that was the badge of Finarfin and his house.
The Silmarillion, pp 150-151
while Felagund laughs beneath the trees
in Valinor and comes no more
to this grey world of tears and war.
The Lays of Beleriand, p 311




Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Jul 17 2012, 7:34pm

Post #22 of 25 (328 views)
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I believe that the poem is complete [In reply to] Can't Post

But I don't know for sure.

As for the Lay of Leitheian, I don't think it is ever going to happen, I'm afraid. I believe that Christopher has indicated that it simply is not complete enough to publish, beyond what has already been published, particularly in HoMe III.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


Count Balrog
The Shire


Jul 30 2012, 12:45am

Post #23 of 25 (280 views)
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What I'd like to see is more linguistic material .... [In reply to] Can't Post

although I gather some of that has been published by ELFCON; but I doubt that's on Amazon, let alone B&N. But then, I can't afford it right now, anyway.

And I've always been disappointed that, pace Ruth Noel, the elvish languages have no subjunctive. That probably makes me weird.

Balrogs rule (literally)


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Jul 30 2012, 12:59am

Post #24 of 25 (288 views)
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Yes, very exciting!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

I loved what Tolkien did with Sir Gawain. After Tolkien's translation, I think my favourite of the Arthurian Romances is Tennyson's Idylls of the King, in spite of it being a narrative poem.Wink


(This post was edited by SirDennisC on Jul 30 2012, 1:00am)


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Jul 30 2012, 2:15pm

Post #25 of 25 (373 views)
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A new linguistic work was published just last week [In reply to] Can't Post

PARMA ELDALAMBERON 20

The Qenya Alphabet

Documents by J. R. R. TOLKIEN

Edited with introduction and commentary by Arden R. Smith

http://www.eldalamberon.com/parma20.html

_The Qenya Alphabet_ is an edition of Tolkien's charts and notes dealing with the circa 1931 version of the writing-system later called "Fëanorian Tengwar." It includes 40 documents in which Tolkien's examples of the scripts are reproduced using electonic scans of black-and-white photocopies of the original manuscripts.

Among the documents are explanations of the use of the script for representing English, both phonetically and also orthographically, or at least in part according to the peculirarities of English spelling. These have charts of the theoretical values of the sounds represented by the letters, and various English words and texts written in the scripts.

There are also numerous specimen texts written by Tolkien in the Qenya Alphabet, including four unpublished letters. Most of the examples are in English, but there are also texts in Latin, Old English and Old High German. Perhaps the most remarkable are four versions of the "Gloria" from the Latin mass, in different styles that Tolkien described as "large rounded," "formal book-hand rounded," "large pointed," and "pointed angular style."

As in previous editions of Tolkien's earlier writing-systems published in _Parma Eldalamberon_, the editor has provided transcriptions of the examples texts along with commentary on their dating and historical background.

_Parma Eldalamberon_ Issue Number 20 is a 160-page journal.

Publication Date: 3 August 2012

The cost is $35 per copy including postage and handling world-wide. You can reserve a copy by ordering it now via PayPal at the following link:

<https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=W97BKJGMUNSLQ>

Or by sending a check to:

Christopher Gilson
1240 Dale Avenue, No. 40
Mountain View, CA 94040
U. S. A.
*
cgilson75@hotmail.com

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire

 
 

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