Just over one week until Tolkien's unfinished alliterative poem The Fall of Arthur is released! While the contents of this book fall well outside his realm of Middle-earth, this is a poem that has been known to exist for many years, and fans are excited to finally get the chance to read it along with notes, fragments, and some very interesting essays by Christopher Tolkien.
From the publisher:
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 Old English alliterative meter, in which he brought to his transforming perceptions of the old narratives a pervasive sense of the grave and fateful nature of all that is told: of Arthur’s expedition overseas into distant heathen lands, of Guinevere’s flight from Camelot, of the great sea battle on Arthur’s return to Britain, in the portrait of the traitor Mordred, in the tormented doubts of Lancelot in his French castle.
Unhappily, The Fall of Arthur was one of several long narrative poems that Tolkien abandoned. He evidently began it in the 1930s, and it was sufficiently advanced for him to send it to a very perceptive friend who read it with great enthusiasm at the end of 1934 and urgently pressed him, "You simply must finish it!" But in vain: he abandoned it at some unknown date, though there is evidence that it may have been in 1937, the year of publication of The Hobbit and the first stirrings of The Lord of the Rings. Years later, in a letter of 1955, he said that he "hoped to finish a long poem on The Fall of Arthur," but that day never came.
Associated with the text of the poem, however, are many manuscript pages: a great quantity of drafting and experimentation in verse, in which the strange evolution of the poem’s structure is revealed, together with narrative synopses and significant tantalizing notes. In these notes can be discerned clear if mysterious associations of the Arthurian conclusion with The Silmarillion, and the bitter ending of the love of Lancelot and Guinevere, which was never written.
The Fall of Arthur (Trade Edition) on Amazon.com : $13.78 at this time
The Fall of Arthur (Trade Edition) on Amazon.co.uk : £11.99 at this time
I was just digging around on the Amazons, and still having trouble finding the deluxe edition through 'normal' search terms. I had to go look up the ISBN and search on that to find it on Amazon.co.uk. Sheesh!
The deluxe pre-order price on Amazon.com is not discounted but for us Americans it is a pretty good price on Amazon.com (including free shipping to the USA) if you are wanting a copy when it comes out.
The Fall of Arthur (Deluxe Edition) on Amazon.com : $69.53 at this time
The Fall of Arthur (Deluxe Edition) on amazon.co.uk : £60 at this time
[UPDATE]Trotter points out the UK Deluxe version is cheaper from the Book Depository ( http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/Fall-Arthur-Tolkien/9780007489893 ) at £45. I also found the UK Deluxe at WHSmith for £38.40 which appears to include free shipping (or in-store pickup) inside the UK. http://www.whsmith.co.uk/Products/The-Fall-of-Arthur-De-Luxe-edition+Hardback+9780007489893
Just over 50,000 copies of the UK trade edition are being printed, and 2,000 copies of the deluxe slipcased edition. I do not yet have the US print run size. [UPDATE] Unofficially heard that the US trade print run is also 50,000 copies.