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Topic: Fall of Arthur?

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
Status: Offline
Posts: 2
Date: May 10, 2009
Fall of Arthur?

Hello

Does anyone know where I can find Tolkien's (unfinished) Fall of Arthur?

Thanks.

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Posts: 2960
Date: May 10, 2009
high 1,
There are two books which I recommend that spend plenty on "The Fall of Arthur"
Tolkien (in the days before his fame and computers) was a serious scholar of the mythology of several cultures and was especially interested in the literary forms of the "heroic saga" and poems dealing with forms that could be traced to the roots of medieval and therefore modern English culture.
These two following references are available on the net but are not able to be downloaded...but you can read plenty on Arthurian scholarship and particularly Tolkien's contributions
and Tolkien's work on medieval literature.
(You had better be prepared for some serious scholastic work if you jump into these.)
"J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia " by Michael D. C. Drout
"Tolkien the medievalist"  by Jane Chance



There is some information in a Sci Fi Network review of the now released  "The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun".
"The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun", a volume of rare Norse epic poetry by Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien, will be published in May, edited by Tolkien's son, Christopher, who also edited and completed 2007's The Children of Hurin.
Originally written in the '20s and '30s - before Tolkien wrote The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings - the book was in manuscript form and unpublished at the time of Tolkien's death in 1973.
"The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun" tells the story of the Norse legend of Sigurd and the Fall of the Niflungs, the same legend that inspired composer Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung).
Tolkien scholar and editor of "The Annotated Hobbit" and "Tales Before Tolkien" Douglas A. Anderson said that the publisher hasn't let out much information about the book just yet, but added that it presumably contains the two narrative poems that were mentioned in Tolkien's collected letters, which were published in 1981.
The poems were titled in Old Norse, which translates as "The New Lay of the Volsungs" and "The New Lay of Gudrun."
"They obviously concern the Old Norse legends of Sigurd and the Volsungs," Anderson said. "Tolkien's poems are written in a modernized version of a particular type of Old Norse poetic form, called fornyrthislag, which comprises an eight-line stanza."
"The story of the hero Sigurd and the dragon can be seen as one of Tolkien's primary inspirations. A number of elements of the dragon Fafnir - the craftiness, the malice and other traits - can certainly be seen in the dragon Smaug in "The Hobbit", Anderson said.
Very few people have read the poems - not even Tolkien scholars like Anderson - as until now they've been part of the unpublished Tolkien materials that are not available to the public.
"The poems in The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun... were completed entirely by J.R.R. Tolkien many years ago and are part of another type of writing that he did, remolding or translating the medieval works that he worked on as a scholar," Anderson said.
(please take note of the following paragraph - Christopher Tolkien and his father's estate jealously guard Tolkien's works - they are not kidding - get permission if you manage to find these somewhere - they have been known to really hammer those who don't get written permission to use his unpublished work)
"Tolkien is also known to have completed a prose translation of 'Beowulf', as well as writing a large part of another poem called 'The Fall of Arthur', which is in modern English but uses the medieval technique of alliterative verse. ... Neither his translation of Beowulf nor his unfinished reworking of the King Arthur story have been published, so perhaps we can look forward to these in the future."
My suggestion is you read Tolkien''s published works such as "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" and "Farmer Giles of Ham" and/or "Smith of Wootton Major".
There is much more.
Try this link;
"A Chronological Bibliography of the Writings of J.R.R. Tolkien
compiled by Ake Bertenstam"
.

This will give you a timeline when things were written, institutions where Tolkien published, who were his publishers, when he published, various resources and critical reviews, scholarly work about Tolkien but not by Tolkien, and a zillion others facts and references.

Good luck
Bear an Elf-Friend


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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
Status: Offline
Posts: 2
Date: May 11, 2009
Hello Loremaster

Many thanks for your very comprehensive reply.

Yes, I've just finished Sir Gawain and note that my local university library has a copy of the J Chance book you mention. The book by Drout is over £130 (!!), so I might just order that one through my library, too!

Very many thanks for all your help.

High1

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
Status: Offline
Posts: 2960
Date: May 11, 2009
High 1,
You are very welcome.
If it is not too much trouble keep us posted on your progress.
If you look at the many different topics here you will see that we have a very diverse forum and some super personal resources.
Good luck.
Here is hoping you find Excalibur,
Bear


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Rohirrim of Edoras - Rank 4
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Posts: 395
Date: May 12, 2009
I also read Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Pearl(?). Very well written and translated. I just got The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun. I haven't read it yet though. Do keep us posted.

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
Status: Offline
Posts: 2372
Date: May 14, 2009
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - is that in the Tales of the Perilous Realm book? Does it go by any other names? Not sure if I have read it...

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
Status: Offline
Posts: 2960
Date: May 16, 2009
mouth of sauron,
I don't know how obscure these tales are.
The copy I have is from Ballantine Books, 2nd edition printing: May 1980.
It was copyrighted in 1975 George Allen & Unwin Ltd.
The title is "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight', "Pearl", and "Sir Orfeo".
In the preface;
"When my father, Professor J.R.R. Tolkien, died in 1973 he left unpublished his translations of the medieval English poems Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, and Sir Orfreo...; but he certainly wished to see it published." - Christopher Tolkien.

I believe that if Professor Tolkien had lived we would have seen a stronger connection of his work with the medieval mythology of England. In the Lost Tales, Part II, in the notes for the Tale of Eriol, Christopher Tolkien writes that in the margins his father draws a bridge between the Tale and Eriol's sons settling in various English medieval villages or towns.

Without too big a stretch of the imagination we can see echoes of medieval England through out Tolkien's work.
I think there maybe many years of scholarship left in researching Tolkien's translations and scholastic publications for example the recent printing of
The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun.
If you want a copy of Sir Gawain et al, I found them easily on Amazon.
Good hunting my friend!
Bear an Elf-Friend


-- Edited by Bear on Saturday 16th of May 2009 09:31:45 PM

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Called or uncalled, God is present

Rohirrim of Edoras - Rank 4
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Posts: 395
Date: May 21, 2009
Agreed, Bear. I think Tolkien's life dream was to create a world of lore, a mythology if you please, that belonged to Western Europe. England to be more percise (if there is a such thing as percise mythology). He was a creative genius, those are the dangerous kind, and was able to take myth, legend and folklore to another level. To be able to unite theme from hundreds of years into an interpretal medium is amazing and took someone as profoundly schooled and wise to unify the thought. Welcome to the fanatics forum....I am Lomoduin. You are.......?

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