A brand new J.R.R. Tolkien epic, The Fall of Arthur, was released this week.
This never-before-seen story starts with the legendary King Arthur going to war in “Saxon lands” before returning home to confront Mordred’s treachery.
J.R.R. Tolkien, well-known as the author of international best-selling books The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, wrote The Fall of Arthur in the 1930s before he started work on The Hobbit.
Its existence was revealed in the 1970s, and its publication has been rumoured for some years, but it had been overtaken by other new posthumous releases such as The Children of Húrin and The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún.
Tolkien was a professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford University and worked on the translations of Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The Fall of Arthur is Tolkien’s own reimagining of a tale that is most-commonly associated with Thomas Mallory and in an alliterative verse format used in Anglo-Saxon epic poetry.
Shaun Gunner, chairman of the Tolkien Society, said, “We are all used to seeing Tolkien’s stories set in Middle-earth, but this is the first time we’ve ever seen Tolkien write about legendary Britain.
“We know Tolkien loved the powerful alliterative verse of Anglo-Saxon epics so Tolkien’s own re-imagining of Arthur’s downfall in this format will make for an interesting read. This is fundamentally important in terms of considering Tolkien’s academic career and his wider creative process, but it will also be fascinating to see how The Fall of Arthur – written before The Hobbit – may have parallels in Tolkien’s other stories.”
Shaun added: “It is always important when a new book is published by such a well-known and much-loved author, but this is particularly special due to the poetic format and subject matter. I am in no doubt that we will see the same skill and creativity on display in The Fall of Arthur as in Tolkien’s other works – this book will be a permanent feature of the Arthurian canon for centuries to come and will add to Tolkien’s own reputation as one of the most brilliant writers this country has ever produced.”