The Fall of Arthur

The Fall of Arthur


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The Fall of Arthur, the only venture by J.R.R. Tolkien into the legends of Arthur, king of Britain, may well be regarded as his finest and most skillful achievement in the use of Old English alliterative meter, in which he brought to his transforming perceptions of the old narratives a pervasive sense of the grave and fateful nature of all that is told: of Arthur’s expedition overseas into distant heathen lands, of Guinevere’s flight from Camelot, of the great sea battle on Arthur’s return to Britain, in the portrait of the traitor Mordred, in the tormented doubts of Lancelot in his French castle.

Unhappily, The Fall of Arthur was one of several long narrative poems that Tolkien abandoned. He evidently began it in the 1930s, and it was sufficiently advanced for him to send it to a very perceptive friend who read it with great enthusiasm at the end of 1934 and urgently pressed him, "You simply must finish it!" But in vain: he abandoned it at some unknown date, though there is evidence that it may have been in 1937, the year of publication of The Hobbit and the first stirrings of The Lord of the Rings. Years later, in a letter of 1955, he said that he "hoped to finish a long poem on The Fall of Arthur," but that day never came.

Associated with the text of the poem, however, are many manuscript pages: a great quantity of drafting and experimentation in verse, in which the strange evolution of the poem’s structure is revealed, together with narrative synopses and significant tantalizing notes. In these notes can be discerned clear if mysterious associations of the Arthurian conclusion with The Silmarillion, and the bitter ending of the love of Lancelot and Guinevere, which was never written.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780544115897
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 05/23/2013
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 5.88(w) x 8.34(h) x 0.86(d)

About the Author

J.R.R. TOLKIEN (1892–1973) is the creator of Middle-earth and author of such classic and extraordinary works of fiction as The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. His books have been translated into more than sixty languages and have sold many millions of copies worldwide.

Date of Birth:

January 3, 1892

Date of Death:

September 2, 1973

Place of Birth:

Bloemfontein, Orange Free State (South Africa)

Place of Death:

Oxford, England


B.A., Exeter College, Oxford University, 1915; M.A., 1919

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The Fall of Arthur 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
LovesFantasyPC More than 1 year ago
The description of the book highlights the use of "Old English alliterative meter." This style is somewhat tedious to read in long intervals. The words and story are engaging (more likely from familiarity with the story line)but the long narrative poem is quite different from Tolkien's story telling with intense detaile. I found it difficult to stay interested.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an epic poem, not a novel. I excitedly purchased without first opting for a sample. While it is interesting, and in the genre of the classic epic poem such as Beowulf, I was disappointed as I was so looking forward to another novel about Arthur.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kiss your hand three times then post then post this comment on three different books the look under your pillow
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Worst sample ever...did I ever get to sample the book or was that some gobblety goop collection of gibberish??
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I hated how much i loved thid book. Chrii feel so sorry for you losing your father. Keep up the awesomely bad work.