The Fall of Arthur by J.R.R. Tolkien

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"The Fall of Arthur" is a fascinating work, though perhaps more for the Tolkien completist than the casual "Lord of the Rings" fan. Christopher Tolkien can't pinpoint when his father began to write it: The earliest reference is in a 1934 letter from the scholar R.W. Chambers...
-LA Times

Synopsis

New York Times bestseller “An incomplete but highly compelling retelling . . . An action-packed, doom-haunted saga, full of vivid natural description.”—New York Times Book Review

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 weakened in spirit by Guinevere’s infidelity with the now-exiled Lancelot, Arthur must rouse his knights to battle one last time against Mordred’s rebels and foreign mercenaries. Powerful, passionate, and filled with vivid imagery, this unfinished poem reveals Tolkien’s gift for storytelling at its brilliant best. Christopher Tolkien, editor, contributes three illuminating essays that explore the literary world of King Arthur, reveal the deeper meaning of the verses and the painstaking work his father applied to bring the poem to a finished form, and investigate the intriguing links between The Fall of Arthur and Tolkien’s Middle-earth.

“Compelling in pace, haunted by loss, it lives up to expectations.”—Daily Beast

“Erudite and beautiful.” – NPR.org
 

About J.R.R. Tolkien

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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 fifty languages and have sold many millions of copies worldwide.
 
Published May 23, 2013 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 241 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction, History, Travel. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Fall of Arthur
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Andrew O’hehir on Jun 21 2013

This is an incomplete but highly compelling retelling of perhaps the most famous and familiar legend in the British tradition, a retelling...believes was begun in the early 1930s and abandoned by 1937.

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AV Club

Below average
Reviewed by Noah Cruickshank on Jul 01 2013

While The Fall Of Arthur does contain a poem written in an epic style, which chronicles Arthur at the end of his reign, it’s really a discarded scrap from Tolkien’s notes. Of the 220 pages, only 40 of them contain Tolkien’s words...the bulk of the book comprises Christopher Tolkien’s commentary on his father’s work and Arthurian legend in general.

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LA Times

Above average
Reviewed by Elizabeth Hand on May 23 2013

"The Fall of Arthur" is a fascinating work, though perhaps more for the Tolkien completist than the casual "Lord of the Rings" fan. Christopher Tolkien can't pinpoint when his father began to write it: The earliest reference is in a 1934 letter from the scholar R.W. Chambers...

Read Full Review of The Fall of Arthur | See more reviews from LA Times

Reader Rating for The Fall of Arthur
72%

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