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Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Feb 26, Sean Barrs the Bookdragon rated it it was ok Shelves: poetry , tolkien , 2-star-reads. This does not always detract from the value of the work. The Children of Hurin and Beren and Luthien are both still fantastic pieces of writing despite the fact that Tolkien never really finished them. However, they were completely drafted; the entire stories were told and they just needed a final polish and an edit: they were almost ready. Unfortunately, The Fall of Arthur was far from ready. What we have here is but a fragment, the setting of the stage if you like, of what would have been a fully developed epic.
This is not the only case of such a thing in the world of Tolkien fiction, thought it was the worse I have come across. Despite the small amount of original work some of the books contain, they still feel like they belong to Tolkien. The writing of his son dominates the book as he tracks the creation and history of the very small amount of writing his farther created here.
All in all, Christopher Tolkien is the real author here. And that saddens me.
The glimpse of the epic we see here provides just enough content to demonstrate how fully fleshed out it would have been had Tolkien wanted to finish it. I truly would have loved Tolkien to write the entire thing, I think it could have been fantastic. The Fall of Arthur then is only worth it if you are really invested in Tolkien and even then I think most readers will be dissatisfied with it.
Not one I recommend. View all 4 comments. Who wrote this blurb? Chopped liver? 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 Who wrote this blurb?
I'm sure it is a wonderful, skillful work, but more likely in Middle English alliterative metre -- like Sir Gawain and the Green Knight -- which is rather more relaxed. I've been looking forward to this since I found out this poem existed, and once swore I could write my PhD on it. Guess we'll find out soon. I'm still not sure the alliteration is right, though: I'll need to look it up to be sure, but I think there's too much alliteration. I could, however, be remembering the rules for Skaldic verse, which are not dissimilar, but more strict.
I have my copy in hand and a dental appointment later, so I shall stick my nose into these pages studiously until I am dragged to the dentist's chair But why has he written a poem about the fall of the British Celtic Arthur in battle against the Saxons Conquerors have certainly claimed Arthur before now, but I wish he'd published this in his lifetime, with his own notes, with his attentiveness to every detail, his concern with the provenance of texts and his invented histories for them.
Perhaps he would have recognised the irony in his choice of metre, even explained it. Onward, anyway, to Christopher Tolkien's bit. Which I found less than enlightening, really, since I wasn't interested in a play-by-play of the evolution of the poem and I don't need a primer on the Arthurian legends. Anyway, in summary: fascinating to me as an academic, but I'm not sure how it'll strike non-academics. I wish I could write a PhD on this, but there doesn't seem to be enough material. View all 12 comments. Jun 03, Alejandro rated it liked it Shelves: novel , historical-fiction.
It wasn't a book that I really enjoyed much. 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. In all cases, they were the afternotes by Tolkien's son were I understood what supposed to happening on the verses. Also, a key factor of reading this book was the mention that there was a connection between the events here and the epic saga of The Lord of the Rings.
However, I was expecting something more insightful about the connection of Arthur's legend and the Middle-Earth's stories, but the connection mentioned here was something that I already figured it out before and I heard it in some other TV documentary about it. Nevertheless, it's great to add of some Tolkien's work in my list of already read books. View all 13 comments.
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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 even created a website and wrote a couple of short stories that never saw This is the first time I read Tolkien. I even created a website and wrote a couple of short stories that never saw the light of day and never will.
So, I thought this book was going to be an amazing ride. However, it was more like those little walks you take after eating an enormous amount of food and you can hardly move a toe. There are few pages written by Tolkien and the rest is all about notes, and footnotes and handnotes and necknotes written by his son, Christopher. I must admit I skipped some of those fascinating notes, but others were quite helpful. This was written in Old English and three verses contained a lot of words I've never heard of. So you can imagine how I suffered, considering that I can barely write a couple of coherent sentences in this language or my language, for that matter.
After reading those notes, I understood more. There are several aspects of the Arthurian legends that are not in the poem. Here we have Arthur, Gawain, his nephew and other knights that went to fight the Saxons but had to come back thanks to good old pal Mordred. Aww, family. Sweet Guinevere made an appearance also, like a beautiful woman "world walking for the woe of men" without shedding any tear.
Something that interested Mordred, quite a bit. His bed was barren; there black phantoms of desire unsated and savage fury in his brain had brooded till bleak morning.
The Fifty Shades of Grey of those days, apparently. All in all, the poem is beautiful, powerful and evocative. Rain came darkly, and the sun was swallowed in sudden tempest. I imagined every verse. I loved it; it's a shame he couldn't finish it. And, well I kind of forgot about the rest of the book. I just can't help the feeling of being tricked. Not to make you jealous or anything, but I bought this at the Bodleian Library gift shop after going through the Tolkien art exhibit. I had no idea what it was, except that it was recently published, and was touted as the only time he "took on" the Arthurian legend.
I am not at all disappointed in this purchase, just as I am not disappointed in the bookmark, bracelet, and print I also purchased. The first sixty pages or so are the poem, written in Saxon alliterative Not to make you jealous or anything, but I bought this at the Bodleian Library gift shop after going through the Tolkien art exhibit. The first sixty pages or so are the poem, written in Saxon alliterative style, of the last days of Arthur.
After there, son Christopher takes over and talks about the different drafts, where the ending might have headed, what the sources were, and so forth. I thought the little moments of Christopher's frustration with his father quitting the poem, with his father's handwriting were quite great. But what I really liked was the appendix, largely taken from one of Tolkien Senior's own lectures about Anglo Saxon poetry. That was truly fascinating stuff, and I had no idea about any of it.
And I say this as someone who has read the Norse sagas in the original language. Jul 22, Stefan Yates rated it really liked it. I really enjoyed the J. 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 I really enjoyed the J. Only about a quarter or less of the book is actually material produced by J. Tolkien, the rest is an in-depth analysis of the poem and it's fit with other classic Arthurian literature by his son, Christopher Tolkien. Unless you get into the inner workings of literature and poetry and enjoy reading excerpts of Olde English, I wouldn't recommend this book to just anybody.
Overall, I found this to be a fairly fascinating book. I think that Christopher does a very admirable job of breaking down and analyzing his father's work and tying it into the other classic literature. I also appreciate the connections that he makes to his fathers penultimate masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings. Even thought this is a seemingly unrelated work, Christopher has managed to find some interesting similarities between it and his father's writings of Middle Earth. Where this truly shines is in allowing the Tolkien fan to read a previously unpublished piece of Tolkien literature that we may not have otherwise seen.
Make no mistake, this is a piece of what would have been a larger work but was for one reason or another abandoned by the author. What we are offered is a fragment and may not have ever looked even remotely like the piece we are presented with in its final form, but we will never actually know. A huge thank you to Christopher Tolkien for bringing us what he could of this work. My only real complaint in the layout that Christopher presented is that I would have put the second study directly after the poem as it deals more with the notes of things that were to come and I think would have provided a more satisfying feel to read while the actual work was still fresh to my mind.
On a side note one thing that I did find interesting is that, even though Christopher is a great analyst and very detailed in his research, he presents a small excerpt of a lecture that his father gave at some point. This small excerpt of lecture illustrates just how talented his father is as it literally jumps off the page. He's not talking about anything of particular interest unto itself, but the nuances and the wording make the excerpt come alive.
Not to take anything away from his son, but this piece really made me realize what the difference is between someone who is an expert and very good at what he does and a true master of the written word. View 2 comments. Jan 04, Tudor marked it as to-read. View all 9 comments. May 05, Lucinda rated it it was amazing Shelves: j-r-r-tolkien. Impassioned nuances and provocative profundity pierce you to the core, as you plunge within the Arthurian mythologies and legends! If you play with Fire you get burnt! View 1 comment. Aug 09, Miles Cameron rated it it was amazing.
This is a brilliant evocation of the Arthurian, with shadows that are dark, presages of Middle-earth, and a stunning indictment of those who say that Tolkien cannot write women. My favorite book this year. Shelves: poetry , tolkieniana , arthuriana. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed The Fall of Arthur. Unfortunately, The Fall of Arthur is incomplete.
Approaching Tolkien: The Fall of Arthur | A Tolkienist's Perspective
In sorrow they parted. View all 3 comments. Halls and temples of the heathen kings his might assailed marching in conquest from the mouths of the Rhine o'er many kingdoms. Tolkien had a lot of projects he never finished - " "Thus Arthur in arms eastward journeyed, and war awoke in the wild regions.
Tolkien had a lot of projects he never finished - "The Fall of Arthur" among them. An alliterative poem about king Arthur started before "The Lord of the Rings" and later abandoned, it's now been edited and published by his son, Christopher Tolkien, based on his father's notes and manuscripts. Christopher Tolkien fills in the blanks: he devotes a fairly long essay to the early history of the Arthurian legend, starting from "Historia regum Britanniae", a pseudohistorical account of British kings written by Geoffrey of Monmouth in , in which King Arthur defeats the Roman Emperor and does other very unlikely feats of might Apparently, making up stuff and claiming it really happened in history is a very old hobby.
It's quite interesting, if you don't know much about the literary development of Arthur and his knights which indeed I didn't. He also delves into the connection that "The Fall of Arthur" has with the rest of Tolkien's works - like it being related to the Silmarillion in an early phase. Then there are also a bunch of older variations of the text, and notes J. Tolkien made for continuing it, as well as a bit of an explanation about alliterative poetry and how it works, in J. Tolkien's own words. The poem itself is rather a teaser for a greater work that will never happen, so that can be frustrating, but the book itself is interesting, both for the info about king Arthur's literary evolution, and for the process of creating a poem such as this, which is pieced together by Christopher Tolkien.
Apr 02, Sara Saif rated it liked it Shelves: i-like-you-a-lot. The poem itself is not that long because of the fact that it is unfinished. There are five Cantos about verses each except for the last one that has only The added bits by Christopher Tolkien are what give the book its length. May 24, 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-exis There are several sections comprising this book and my responses to them were varied.
Instead a heap of fragments in prose and various verse forms co-exist, showing an enormous evolution over pretty much the whole of Tolkien's adult life. Apr 21, Michael F added it. It is 40 pages long, and is around a half or a third of the length it would have been if completed. To my admittedly inexpert ear, the poem also manages to capture much of the sound and feel of Anglo-Saxon verse, with none of the jingly quality that plagues lesser alliterative poetry.
The rest of the book consists of a series of commentaries on the poem by Christopher Tolkien. As my case of Tolkien nerdery is not quite advanced enough to make me want to read every draft of everything he ever wrote, I merely skimmed this section. Finally, there is a bit at the the end taken from a lecture by Tolkien on Anglo-Saxon poetry. Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone obsessed with at least two of the following three things: Tolkien, Arthurian legend, or alliterative poetry. 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. Jun 10, Susan rated it liked it Shelves: read , topbooks , favorites , historicalfiction. Well, I didn't finish my assignment that is due in two days but I did finish this book in one day :D and I do not regret it at all!
Clear went his voice in the rocks ringing above roaring wind and rolling thunder: 'Ride, forth to war, ye hosts of ruin, hate proclaiming! Foes we fear not, nor fell shadows of the dark mountains demon-haunted!
J.R.R TOLKIEN: The Fall of Arthur
Hear now ye hills and hoar forest, ye awful thrones of olden gods huge and hopeless, hear and tremble! From the West comes war that no wind daunteth, might and purpose that no mist stayeth; lord of legions, light in darkness, east rides Arthur! The wind was stilled. The walls of rock 'Arthur' answered. The Fall Of Arthur as done by J. Tolkein in Old English alliterative meter. To use Tolkein's own words : " It aimed at quite different effects from those achieved by the rhymed and syllable-counting meters derived from France and Italy Plus there are notes on the unwritten poem and the evolution of the poem.
This is not for everyone, but I truly enjoyed it. Which is why, in my opinion, it would be better to read The Fall of Arthur first — to get yourself comfortable with both the highly-artistic poetic style of Tolkien and the way the book is structured between text and commentary. You made some strong arguments. I might have to tackle it after reading The Silmarillion.
On a difficulty scale from where would you place The Fall of Arthur? I myself, am an Arthurian fan. Oh, well then maybe I should tackle it first. The prose is poetic and beautiful at times. Thank you for the rating:. Reblogged this on The Leather Library and commented: An excellent guide to the literature of Tolkien, both his well known works as well as his more obscure ones.
A very informative review. The books sounds very interesting, however, English is not my first language and I would wonder how easy it is to follow along or how you would judge it for people not growing up in an English speaking environment as I wont enjoy it much if I have to use a dictionary all the time while reading it. If you find that difficult to grasp the general idea of the scene, approach with caution! I picked this one up yesterday and have yet to find time to read it but your review has me very intrigued to do so asap.
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The Fall of Arthur
Notify me of new posts via email. And here I am, having just recently finished my second reading. I love The Fall of Arthur. At least, I hope.
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I promise. Truly fascinating stuff. Share this: Twitter Facebook Tumblr. Like this: Like Loading