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The Fall of Arthur

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Le Morte d'Arthur by James Archer.

The Fall of Arthur the title of an unpublished poem by J.R.R. Tolkien, concerned with the legend of King Arthur.

According to Humphrey Carpenter, the poem "has alliteration but no rhyme [and] did not touch on the Grail but began an individual rendering of the Morte d'Arthur, in which the king and Gawain go to war in 'Saxon lands' but are summoned home by news of Mordred's treachery". "The Fall of Arthur" was read by E.V. Gordon and R.W. Chambers, who both approved of the poem.[1][2]

The writing of the poem was abandoned in the mid 1930s,[1] but in a 1955 letter to Houghton Mifflin, his American publishers, Tolkien mentioned that he hoped to finish the "long poem".[3] Although the state of the manuscript(s) is unknown, there is a rumour that the poem has 954 lines.[4]

Carl F. Hostetter appears to have been working on transcribing a manuscript by Tolkien which seems to be a fragment of his The Fall of Arthur.[5]

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 Humphrey Carpenter, J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography, pp. 168-8 (1977 ed.; Carpenter also published some quotes from the poem)
  2. Verlyn Flieger, "Arthurian Romance", in J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: Scholarship and Critical Assessment, pp. 34-5
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 165, (undated, written June 1955)
  4. N.E. Brigand, Comment to the blog post ”Lewis’s Lost Aeneid [Updated]” (5 March 2011) at Lingwë (accessed 8 March 2011)
  5. Tolkien's handwriting scans at The Fountain Pen Network (accessed 4 May 2011)