New J.R.R. Tolkien Book: The Fall of Arthur
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New J.R.R. Tolkien Book: The Fall of Arthur

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Trade News | October 11, 2012 | Comments ()


I don't know how Christopher Tolkien keeps finding stuff in that attic of his dad's after all of these years, but he really dug deep this time and managed to find an entire unpublished, book-length epic poem manuscript that he's cleaned up for publication. The poem is entitled The Fall of Arthur and tells the story of King Arthur's final days of life.

Literary scholars have indicated that there had long been rumors of the work, which predates The Hobbit, but that there was no evidence that it had ever been completed. The poem is written in alliterative verse, which means (if I'm parsing Wikipedia correctly) that it utilizing alliteration instead of the more familiar technique of rhyming in order to pull together the verse. Beowulf used alliterative verse back in the day, before it was cool.

Here are the first few lines of the poem:

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.

I have a theory, given the generally sad job that sons do with their fathers' literary legacies. [Cough] Brian Herbert [cough]. I think that the fantastic job that Christopher Tolkien has done with managing the publication of what his father left behind, combined with finding a "new" book after all these years is convincing evidence that Christopher Tolkien is in fact J.R.R. Tolkien himself, who took on the identity of his own son in order to hide his immortality from public view.

The Fall of Arthur will be published in the Spring of next year. Peter Jackson is working on a pitch for a seven-film cycle based on the poem, though that might balloon into fourteen once he actually sees the poem.

(source: Blastr)

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • bastich

    Tolkien: The Tupac of fantasy lit?

  • Strand

    More like the Steve Jobs of lit. They'll exhume his "last secret design notes" come iPhone 10.

  • Bert_McGurt

    Tolkien the Younger is probably finding the manuscripts in a strange old wardrobe his dad got as a gift from an eccentric author friend of his. Lots of room in there from what I understand.

  • Strand

    It's an armoire and I happen to keep my soup recipes in there alongside my Tolkien manuscripts and Marcus Bachmann.

  • BiblioGlow

    Lots of time in there, too...

  • logan

    Sadly I'm too late for the "Booty Seeking" jokes.

    Also I predict that the people that would actually buy this and read it will never find booty with a map and a thousand dollar bill.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Ok, but if he does Norse alliterative style without kennings...LAME

    I'm not impressed from the first few lines. JRR might have left this unpublished for a reason, and no shame in that.

  • AM

    There are kennings here. Booty seeking being a prime example.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Is it? Everything in that passage seems pretty straightforward.

    Can I get some fellow lit nerds to rule on this?

  • AM

    I don't know what your definition of a kenning is, but From wikipedia: A kenning is a type of literary trope, specifically circumlocution, in the form of a compound (usually two words, often hyphenated) that employs figurative language in place of a more concrete single-word noun.
    Booty seeking strikes me as a figurative replacement for exploring, pillaging, "Viking", what have you...
    But I only taught Brit Lit for six years so I could be wrong.

  • Parker Jammstein

    I need this in my life.

  • AudioSuede

    "Booty seeking" will be what I call my Friday night activities from now on.

  • Pants-are-a-must

    Poor Peter Jackson, I'm sure he CRAVES to use every tiny comma Tolkien has ever written, but doesn't have the rights.

  • Carlito

    Posing as his own son to mask his immortality? The application of Occam's razor clearly points not only to his son being real, but also that Tolkien is still alive and rooming with Tupac.

    "Booty seeking," indeed.

  • John G.

    I was wondering how long it would take to make a Tupac joke. The 4th comment on the post takes the prize.

  • Snath

    I hate that dead people are more productive than I am.

  • TherecanbeonlyoneAdmin

    They have more time on their hands.

  • Snath

    Their dead, dead hands.

  • Guest

    OMG best laugh of the day, people.

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