New Tolkien book

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New Tolkien book

Postby Who's Wee Dug » Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:53 pm

New Tolkien Work

— posted Thursday 11 October 2012 @ 5:01 pm PDT

The Fall of Arthur, a recently unearthed work by J.R.R. Tolkien, is set to be published in the US by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in May of 2013. The book will be edited by Tolkien’s son, Christopher, who will provide commentary and notes. The Fall of Arthur chronicles the last days of King Arthur, and is the first new work by Tolkien to be discovered since The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun was published in 2009.
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Re: New Tolkien book

Postby Alanz » Tue Oct 30, 2012 7:25 am

I quite like Tolkien's work, I've read a lot of his books and it will be exciting to read what people think of this new book, The fall of Arthur chronicals may be worth checking out when it comes out here in the Uk :D
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Re: New Tolkien book

Postby pip » Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:35 am

Hope its better than the last long boring poem :roll:
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Re: New Tolkien book

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Tue Oct 30, 2012 12:47 pm

That long boring poem is a really clever fusion of Finnish and Icelandic oral linguistics in the saga form cadence... :lol: It's meant to be performed not read in other words ;)

Seriously - this latest thing isn't something long undiscovered. It's actually from his research and background work for his student lectures and belongs firmly to his academic career and should be a pretty good job. His best work was a translation of Beowulf from the original Saxon which is generally held to be best ever scholarly translation of the aesthetics in that language. So there! :P
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Re: New Tolkien book

Postby Quatermass » Tue Oct 30, 2012 1:08 pm

Yeah, but surely he did a metric f***ton of research during his lifetime? It means that it would take a while to find this stuff amongst all the other stuff. I mean, he was still putting together The Silmarillion when he died, and his son had to finish the job.
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Re: New Tolkien book

Postby pip » Tue Oct 30, 2012 1:26 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:That long boring poem is a really clever fusion of Finnish and Icelandic oral linguistics in the saga form cadence... :lol: It's meant to be performed not read in other words ;)

Seriously - this latest thing isn't something long undiscovered. It's actually from his research and background work for his student lectures and belongs firmly to his academic career and should be a pretty good job. His best work was a translation of Beowulf from the original Saxon which is generally held to be best ever scholarly translation of the aesthetics in that language. So there! :P

I have the Beowulf translation and it was great but found the whole Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun unreadable. They were selling an obscure Academic work off the back of his name
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Re: New Tolkien book

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Tue Oct 30, 2012 3:31 pm

Quatermass wrote:Yeah, but surely he did a metric f***ton of research during his lifetime? It means that it would take a while to find this stuff amongst all the other stuff. I mean, he was still putting together The Silmarillion when he died, and his son had to finish the job.

Yes, but the point is this was for his day job as Prof of Philology and archaic European languages (including at the time Welsh and Gaelic etc) so this was a bread and butter endeavour. It's not at all obscure as he gave many lectures on them - they just weren't produced for commercial publication that's all and presumably got buried under the weight of his extra-curricular studies in his later career.

Christopher T's done a brilliant job on the ME stockpile as that was even more challengingly archived on the back of tax forms, fag packets and recycled uni stationery and dodgy roneo-ed copies of correspondence, but this Arthurian work was better documented and in fact well-known in mid-20th cent academic circles - Jacqueline Simpson (co-author of Folklore of the Discworld) went to some of his lectures when she was a student and rates his translation work (from Middle English) on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight for instance really highly as an authentic take on the pre-Mallory era of Arthurian legend-telling and other workings in the indigenous Celtic tongue, which he authored rather than interpreted (he regarded Welsh as the Queen of Celtic languages :P ). The guy really was at the top of his game as a philologist and possibly the greatest master of ancient linguistics the UK has knownm which is partly why his personal original literary work are at once so compelling and beguiling in spite of their crusty, creaking antiquated language and stylistics, because that's where they get their sense of historic verity in between all the fantastic re-inventing of myth and motif - they owe much to the origins of the legend and how they were actually told 'when the world was born'. ;)
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Re: New Tolkien book

Postby MongoGutman » Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:18 am

I've found everything except the Hobbit and LoTR so dry as to be almost unreadable, Silmarillion included. I don't doubt the scholarlyness or the validity of the research or accuracy of translation but I just can't get into them at all. They seem an unemotional narration of facts and events with little characterisation or anything to engage the empathy of the reader beyond an academic interest. I think it would have been much better if Christopher T had given the framework of the plots to some established author - Feist, perhaps, or Jordan or Martin to produce the finished work.
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Re: New Tolkien book

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Wed Oct 31, 2012 12:02 pm

MongoGutman wrote:I've found everything except the Hobbit and LoTR so dry as to be almost unreadable, Silmarillion included. I don't doubt the scholarlyness or the validity of the research or accuracy of translation but I just can't get into them at all. They seem an unemotional narration of facts and events with little characterisation or anything to engage the empathy of the reader beyond an academic interest. I think it would have been much better if Christopher T had given the framework of the plots to some established author - Feist, perhaps, or Jordan or Martin to produce the finished work.

Guy Kay co-edited most of The Silmarillion with CT and learnt a lot of lessons from that period on how not to write novels during that time.

And I happen to mostly agree with you Mongo - I treat the Silmarillion essentially as a text book and as background contextual material to pen and paper roleplay on another forum, where I'm playing Morgoth, Sauron and Elrond's granny and having a no holds barred party with the character development because, as you say, there isn't any. :lol: There are some shorter 'commercial' books that Tolkien senior wrote, like Farmer Giles of Ham or Tree and Leaf and even the Father Christmas Letters (written like the Hobbit for his own kids and quite sweet) which are fun to read, but anything that's been produced by CT from the Middle Earth stockpile he produced during his lifetime are essentially archive material and at 'best' fulsome notings of theme developments or related to the linguistics of his adapted language projects (Sindarin the main Elven language is a bastard relative of Welsh and the men of Rohan use words from an Anglo-Saxon root stock).

Some fans I know prefer the Sil :? or the Children of Hurin :roll: to LotR or TH but I find those a really turgid read and regularly jump to more 'interesting' bits or just use them to look something up.
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