Book Reviews The Fall of Arthur, by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Christopher Tolkien. London: HarperCollins; Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013. 233 pp. £14.99/$25.00. ISBN 9780007489947/9780544115897. Few of J.R.R. Tolkien's posthumously published works have been so long anticipated as The Fall of Arthur, and few have been the focus of so much advance excitement. Now that the poem is available in its incomplete entirety and with commentary by Christopher Tolkien, now that the first enthusiasm has calmed and the dust has settled, fans and scholars alike have the opportunity to answer for themselves the overriding question: was it worth the wait? The answer depends very much on what you were waiting for. If you were waiting for poetry in the archaic alliterative meter at which Tolkien excels, The Fall of Arthur will satisfy your expectations. Fragmentary though it is, Tolkien's poem is a worthy addition to a long tradition of Arthurian works in English alliterative verse, not just that darling of English syllabuses Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, but also Layamon's Brut, a recasting of Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Brittiniae into verse; the anonymous Of Arthour and Merlin and The Awnters of Arthure at the Tarn Wadling;
Tolkien Studies – West Virginia University Press
Published: Nov 27, 2014
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