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The Fall of Arthur

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  4,263 ratings  ·  253 reviews
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The world's first publication of a previously unknown work by J.R.R. Tolkien, which tells the extraordinary story of the final days of England’s legendary hero, King Arthur.

The Fall of Arthur recounts in verse the last campaign of King Arthur who, even as he stands at the threshold of Mirkwood, is summoned back to Britain by news of the treachery of Mordred. Already weaken
Hardcover, 233 pages
Published May 23rd 2013 by HarperCollins (first published January 1st 2013)
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Who wrote this blurb? Seriously?

"The Fall of Arthur, the only venture by J.R.R. Tolkien into the legends of Arthur King of Britain" -- What's his translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight? Chopped liver?

"...his finest and most skillful achievement in the use of the Old English alliterative metre..." -- Old English metre? Not from what I've seen. Where're the half-lines? Not sure the stresses work either.

I'm sure it is a wonderful, skillful work, but more likely in Middle English alliterati
It wasn't a book that much enjoyed really. I was really eager to read it since I found so awesome the idea of reading a "new" book by JRR Tolkien, something that I'd never think that it could be possible. Of course, I know that it was thanks to the editing of his son, Christopher Tolkien. But still, it was a "new" book by Tolkien. I found interesting some information of the legend of King Arthur in the further notes by Tolkien's son, however the verses themselves by JRR Tolkien were written in a ...more
Jan 03, 2015 Florencia rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Arthurian fans, Tolkien fans, people that love notes
Shelves: poetry
This is the first time I read Tolkien. I'm one of those heartless people that haven't read The Lord of the Rings yet. This book caught my attention because I love the legend of King Arthur. I became a bit obsessed with it during my early years (actually, anything Middle Ages related; again, yes, I was a very popular kid at school, you can imagine...; I sang BSB songs to seem more normal—yes, that was normal back then!). I even created a website and wrote a couple of short stories that never saw ...more
Jan 04, 2013 Tudor marked it as to-read
Mirkwood is a forest in Saxon Germany NOT Middle-Earth contrary to popular belief. EVERYBODY NEEDS TO KNOW THIS, MIRKWOOD IN THIS BOOK IS IN GERMANY NOT IN MIDDLE-EARTH

This really should be titled 'How to feel screwed out of $15'.

The poem itself is fine, if a little rough and hurried, and completely worth a few bucks for an hour's read.

That being said - only 43 pages of this book is Tolkien's work. The rest is the usual dull and unasked for notes of Christopher Tolkien used to bulk up the book and trick you into thinking you're getting more than you really are.

I'm honestly so underwhelmed I'm considering doing the blasphemous - returning it for a full refun
This is an AMAZING work that should change Tolkien and Inklings studies forever! Here are my three pieces on "The Fall of Arthur," all together in one place: There is a pre-review in which I predicted what I thought the book would be like, before reading it. There is a follow-up blog post in which I say how well I did in my predictions (not very well!). And then there's my official review. Enjoy!
Dec 13, 2013 Terence rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Tolkien and/or Arthurian lit fans
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed The Fall of Arthur. I’ve never been a fan of Tolkien as poet and, as a rule, skim through the examples that crop up in his prose or that are reproduced in the History of Middle-earth volumes. But I was intrigued by the subject and by what Tolkien may have made of the Matter of Britain (Sir Gawain and the Green Knight doesn’t count since it’s a translation of an existing poem).

Unfortunately, The Fall of Arthur is incomplete. Tolkien only completed four cantos
Stefan Yates
I really enjoyed the J.R.R. Tolkien portions of this book. Not to say that Christopher Tolkien is a bad writer, on the contrary, his analysis is very well thought out and interesting. It's just that when you are reading the pieces written by the master, you certainly know it.

Fair warning to the casual reader out there, this offering is a poem purposely written to emulate the meter an feel of an old piece of English literature. Only about a quarter or less of the book is actually material produc
Oct 31, 2013 Robert added it
Shelves: poetry
There are several sections comprising this book and my responses to them were varied.

Starting at the beginning there is the poem - or incomplete fragment there-of. It was never finished, like so many of Tolkien's projects. In my opinion, most of Tolkien's best work was left in an unfinished state at his death: The best stories are all in the Silmarillion, no complete version of which was extant at the time of Tolkien's demise. Instead a heap of fragments in prose and various verse forms co-exist
Timothy Bartel
Is this the best poetic work Tolkien wrote (not counting his translations)? I'm tempted to say so. His portraits of Mordred and Lancelot are especially strange and haunting, and his battle scenes rival Chesterton's "Lepanto" in force and image. Christopher Tolkien's notes and annotations in this edition are interesting, if overlong. I look forward to a little, pocket sized version of this work without all the notes, something I can slip in my backpocket and read by the ocean.
It is a pleasure to read Tolkien's alliterative poetry again. His translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and the unfinished Children of Hurin have always been some of my favorite pieces of Tolkien's work, and The Fall of Arthur is much in the same lines. There are certain parts that I don't particularly care for (the second canto is a bit slow and Mordred is rather stocky in character) but there are some lines that are unbelievably powerful. In particular the end of the third canto is ra ...more
Thought it was high time that I buckled down and started reading through some of those books in my Tolkien collection that aren't necessarily about Middle Earth, haha!
That being said, the actual poem itself was STUNNING. Seriously, right in the feels. It ends to quickly and is sadly unfinished, but man, it's gorgeous. The majority of the book is a wide variety of notes, introductions and history of the poem. The ones that I found most interesting was the history of the Fall of Arthur through v
Anne Hamilton
A true Tolkien treat - - - for alliterative aficionados
awaits in these Saxon - - - styled stanzas
of Arthur's wars and woes.

Four and a half stars. Maybe even four and three-quarters.

Yeah, well I'd like to have done the above in the right rhythm and mood, but 'alliterative' killed any chance of that, so I hope the thought counts. (Sorry about the dashes, but my spacing refused to appear!)

Unfortunately unfinished, as so many of Tolkien's projects were, this often majestic poem builds towards a clim
SPOILER ALERT: Arthur dies at the end.

The poem itself is lovely, with some really breathtaking language, which was clearly wrought with patience and and an eye for the aesthetic. Christopher Tolkien's extensive notes lend even more gravitas to the poem by demonstrating the amount of research that went into the composition.

That said, I feel like Tolkien is the white Tupac. Seriously though, when is this family going to stop pillaging every single note the man ever left behind in an effort to wr
Jan 03, 2013 Jonathan marked it as to-read-fantasy
Recommended to Jonathan by: Michael
Shelves: tolkien
Ah, something new by J.R.R Tolkien - or rather one of his edited unfinished works. I hope it's better than The Legend of Sigurd & Gudrún which while fine lacked a little polish in my eyes.
EDIT: 7 June, 2013

It breaks my heart when I read beautiful things like this, or Dicken's The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and I know that no matter how lovely it is, I'll never get to read the end.

That said, it was lovely to read even the small portion of this that exists, and my little fangirl heart was pleased with the supplementary material that was included.

Dammit, Tolkien, I would much rather have had a completed version of this than the bulk of what got finished for The Silmarillion, which was
Steve Cran
poem by JRR Tolkien that is about the last part of King arthur's life and his battle against Mordered. THe poem itself is an abandoned work that Tolkien started and never finished. Christopher Tolkien, the great author's son searched his father's notes and found it. The present edition also contains research on King Arthur and how it influenced Tolkien's development of the Simarrillion.

The poem using anglo saxon norse technique starts off with King Arthur away on a campaign in Europe.apparently
Andrew Higgins
This requires several more reads and a much longer in depth review. After a first read I can see this book will be an important piece of Tolkien's Legendarium. Christopher's excellent editing and commentary show how Tolkien sought to connect thus work to his mythology. The book not only shows Tolkien mastery of the alliterative poetic form but also his sons skill at editing and commenting on his fathers work. A must read
A Bookworm Reading
December 31, 2014

I will be revisiting this book to really be able to sink my teeth into the last half of the book in 2015. I had planned to read Le Morte D'arthur this year (2014), while I started I was never able to finish. Included in the after portion is narrative work on how Tolkien likely (this is written by his son) could have come to his conclusions on various aspects of the tale. Which, of course, would have been helpful to have actually finished my reading of Le Morte D'arthur, although
Oct 28, 2013 Julia rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tolkien completists
The cover of the book shows the author as J.R.R. Tolkien and in much smaller print "Edited by Christopher Tolkien. Actually, out of 233 pages, the poem by J.R.R. Tolkien is 41 pages. The rest of the book is explanatory material.

The unfinished poem "The Fall of Arthur" is quite good. It is in the form of Old English alliterative verse, which is very descriptive (and doesn't usually rhyme). It is set at the end of King Arthur's reign. I could feel the storms, see the sea, and follow the story bein
Ben Mcfarland

Tolkien fans are currently reduced to purchasing books by Tolkien that probably should be labeled “25% pure Tolkien”. At least, that’s about the percentage of words directly written by Tolkien in this book. Many other words are written by Christopher Tolkien, who represents about half of his father’s genes, and the rest are examples of the English and French poems of Arthurian legend, so depending on how you count we may consider a near majority.

Yet even 25% pure Tolkien is still very much worth
Fantasy Literature
The Fall of Arthur is another one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s unfinished works made available to the public via his son and editor, Christopher Tolkien. Between its unfinished nature, its form (alliterative verse in Old English style — though not actually in Old English), and its brevity, the book is really mostly, perhaps solely, of interest to diehard Tolkien “completists” or those with a semi-academic interest in the form.

The poem, as mentioned, was never finished. Tolkien managed to complete five ca
Joseph Finley
The Fall of Arthur is an unfinished poem published many decades after Tolkien’s death, but I am very glad it was. The poem is written in the Old English style (think Beowulf), and the only real knock is that it remains incomplete. It starts out with King Arthur, Sir Gawain, and their warriors heading overseas to fight the Saxons in their homeland, only to leave Camelot unprotected from Mordred’s treachery. Mordred is the singular villain of the poem, and early on seeks to abduct (and do worse) t ...more
I've always been a voracious reader, and the more eagle-eyed among you will know that my drug of choice is fantasy (with a sprinkling of paranormal). Like many people, Lord of the Rings was my gateway drug.

Most people I know read LOTR when they were growing up. Unlike most people, I was rather a late starter and so it wasn't until I was nearly 20, when Nik passed me a copy of Fellowship of the Ring with an exasperated "I can't believe you've never read this", that my reading world opened up.

Stephanie Ricker
I guiltily paid full price for this book at B&N (something I'm practically allergic to after spending far too much time in secondhand shops), but after reading it, I have no regrets. It was worth every cent. Latest in a line of posthumous publications edited and compiled by Tolkien's son Christopher, The Fall of Arthur is a (tragically incomplete) alliterative poem in the Northern and Anglo-Saxon tradition. Think Arthurian Beowulf. If there's any combination more perfectly calculated to make ...more
I read the second half of this book in one go. It was fantastic. Ok, I admit that you have to be a Tolkien lover to understand the fascination, to read through Christopher's notes with excitement and hunger. Because of course a lot in this book is his editing and consists of scraps of papers, thoughts and ideas here and there. I love to have a glimpse at what Tolkien actually wanted to accomplish and without Christopher we would have never found out. The material itself is astonishing. I love th ...more
Michael O.
I probably shouldn't even give this two stars, as it's another example of Christopher Tolkien cannibalizing his father's corpse, from which I suppose he gains some nourishment, but the rest of us rarely do and are more often repelled at the sight. (Admittedly, I have him partially to thank for the Silmarillion, and a few other bits that I enjoy.) The focus of this book is a fragment of an alliterative poem JRRT wrote on the subject of the Morte d'Arthur, and it only spans forty generously spaced ...more
Il testo di JRR Tolkien è bellissimo, da leggere sia in inglese sia nella traduzione di Sebastiano Fusco (libera e meno "arcaica" rispetto all'originale, ma non per questo meno interessante).
Ho trovato i saggi che seguono il testo un po' "pesanti"... Ci si dilunga troppo, anche se è interessante la storia del mito della caduta di Artù secondo altri scrittori. Peccato il poema sia incompiuto, perché nonostante non racconti l'intera storia di Camelot, la lascia trasparire tra le righe, raccontando
Review coming soon!
Ea Solinas
JRR Tolkien had a passion for ancient myths and legends. But for some reason, he never wrote much about the stories of King Arthur.

That isn't to say he didn't write anything about the Once and Future King. In the 1930s, he wrote "The Fall of Arthur," an epic poem that he abandoned in favor of his more famous Middle-Earth books. This is not the genteel, courtly Arthur of Thomas Malory -- this is a rough, ancient-feeling poem that follows the rhythm and flow of Anglo-Saxon poetry.

"Arthur eastward
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John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE, was an English writer, poet, WWI veteran (a First Lieutenant in the Lancashire Fusiliers, British Army), philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the high fantasy classic works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings .

Tolkien was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford from 1925 to 1945, and Merton Professor of English lan
More about J.R.R. Tolkien...
The Hobbit (Middle-Earth Universe) The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1) The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings, #3) The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings, #2) The Lord of the Rings (The Lord of the Rings, #1-3)

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“Our language now has become quick-moving (in syllables), and may be very supple and nimble, but is rather thin in sound and in sense too often diffuse and vague. the language of our forefathers, especially in verse, was slow, not very nimble, but very sonorous, and was intensely packed and concentrated - or could be in a good poet.” 2 likes
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