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 the Old English alliterative meter, but it depicts drama and adventure in language only Tolkien could have written. Edited by his son Christopher Tolkien, who also provides detailed commentary and notes.
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
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