Synopses & Reviews
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 Guineveres infidelity with the now-exiled Lancelot, Arthur must rouse his knights to battle one last time against Mordreds rebels and foreign mercenaries. Powerful, passionate, and filled with vivid imagery, this unfinished poem reveals Tolkiens 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 Tolkiens Middle-earth.
“Compelling in pace, haunted by loss, it lives up to expectations.”—Daily Beast
“Erudite and beautiful.” - NPR.org
Following in the tradition of Seamus Heaney's reworking of "Beowulf," Armitage, one of England's leading poets, has produced a virtuoso new translation of the 600-year-old Arthurian story with both clarity and verve.
Already a classic of modern translation, this fresh, vibrant work by dynamic British poet Simon Armitage updates the late fourteenth-century poem for a new generation. The story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, in its depiction of Arthurian landscapes, dreamlike castles, and violent winter journeys, demands a peerless storyteller, and, "like the Gawain poet [himself], Armitage is some storyteller" (The Guardian). The work is an unparalleled masterpiece of alliteration and rhyme, and "[Armitage's] version inventively recreates the original's gnarled, hypnotic music ... but also has a free-flowing, colloquial twang that allows the poem to partake of the energies of contemporary speech" (Financial Times).
"Compulsively readable. ... Simon Armitage has given us an energetic, free-flowing, high-spirited version."--Edward Hirsch,
"Promises to drive the green force of the old poem through the Armitage fuse and set it a-buddin' and a-bloomin' for the new millennium."'"Seamus Heaney, Nobel Laureate, best-selling translator of Beowulf
Com posed in the late fourteenth century by an anonymous author in the English provinces, this remarkable epic has enchanted readers for generations. The work itself is an unparalleled masterpiece of alliteration and rhyme, beginning at Christmastime in Camelot, when the festivities of the Round Table are interrupted by the sudden appearance of a fearful stranger, green from head to foot. A young knight, Gawain, rises to the challenge. What follows is a test of nerve and heart as Gawain travels north to meet his destiny at the Green Chapel in a year's time. Following in the tradition of Seamus Heaney, Simon Armitage, one of England's leading poets, has produced a virtuoso new translation that resounds with both clarity and verve.
One of the earliest great stories of English literature after ?, ? is the strange tale of a green knight on a green horse, who rudely interrupts King Arthur's Round Table festivities one Yuletide, challenging the knights to a wager. Simon Armitrage, one of Britain's leading poets, has produced an inventive and groundbreaking translation that "[helps] liberate ?from academia" (?).
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.
About the Author
J.R.R. TOLKIEN (1892–1973) is the creator of Middle-earth and author of such classic and extraordinary works of fiction as The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. His books have been translated into more than fifty languages and have sold many millions of copies worldwide.
CHRISTOPHER TOLKIEN is the third son of J.R.R. Tolkien. Appointed by Tolkien to be his literary executor, he has devoted himself to the editing and publication of unpublished writings, notably The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, and The History of Middle-earth.