Wednesday, 10 October 2012

'New' JRR Tolkien epic due out next year

Ok, it's not new at all. This from The Guardian...

'HarperCollins has announced the acquisition of Tolkien's never-before-published poem The Fall of Arthur, which will be released for the first time next May. Running to more than 200 pages, Tolkien's story was inspired by Geoffrey of Monmouth and Thomas Malory's tales of King Arthur, and is told in narrative verse. Set in the last days of Arthur's reign, the poem sees Tolkien tackling the old king's battle to save his country from Mordred the usurper, opening as Arthur and Gawain go to war.'

'For the book's editor at HarperCollins, Chris Smith, the news that Tolkien had finished work on The Fall of Arthur was an unexpected surprise. "Though its title had been known from Humphrey Carpenter's Biography and JRR Tolkien's own letters, we never supposed that it would see the light of day," he said. He described the previously unpublished work as "extraordinary", saying that it "breathes new life into one of our greatest heroes, liberating him from the clutches of Malory's romantic treatment, and revealing Arthur as a complex, all-too human individual who must rise above the greatest of betrayals to liberate his beloved kingdom".
 
These are the "new" poem's opening lines:
 
"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."
 
Not being a poetry fan, I can't see myself picking this one up to be honest. How about you?
Nice timing with the publication date as well. Just in time for all those people, who have just finished reading (re-reading?) 'The Hobbit' and 'The Lord of the Rings', who will be looking for something new to read. Can't help but wonder if they'll be a little disappointed though...

4 comments:

Tori Bergquist said...

I'll get it, I've always enjoyed a good dose of prose and verse, and getting to read a sort of successor to Mallory's take (and Geoffrey) is fascinating. I find it amusing that they "discovered" it was finished. Always makes me wonder if the ink is still drying...

Felix said...

I recently realized that I never liked the Arthur tale and thought Tolkien must have thought the same or else he might have taken more interest in it, but I think Tolkien chose the right concept in making it his fall and "liberating" it from romanticisim. Still not interesting. I like the poetry form in principle, i.e. I have nothing against it and acknowledge it, and it reads relatively nicely even without achieving much clarity for me, but no thanks to King Arthur (Monty Python is enough)

Bob Milne said...

I say let the poor man's memory rest already - enough with the scraps, notes, and 'newly discovered' tales. :)

Anonymous said...

Coming next : JRR Tolkien's lost Shopping list. Here is an exclusive extract...
6 Eggs
3 X Pints of Milk
Chocolate
Toilet Rolls X 4
Bleach
Bread
Noodles
Crisps
Fizzy Pop
Pencils
Cat Food X 4
Preparation H (large)