Gitta's Literary Escapades

Just another reader taking on (modern) classics, best-sellers, award-winners, non-fiction, and (guilty pleasure) chicklit armed with common sense, a brain and feminism.

The Fall of Arthur by J. R. R. Tolkien

The Fall of Arthur - J.R.R. Tolkien, J.R.R. Tolkien

I

Where I discuss the poem

 

Verse that is alliterative     aloud is best read.
Thus the rhymes     are rendered superior
to when invoked     by our inward voice.
Imagery and metaphors     inspire dreams and
imagination. Pictures vivid     the prose conjures.
Turneresque stormy seas     travellers they threaten
and wicked Mordred     makes lustful advances
to the "cold" Guinever.     Crept me out.

However, in this poem     Happens little.
Naturally this is because     abandoned it was
by Tolkien in favour of     other texts and works.
Difficult it therefore is     to determine a rating
because the poem does not     provide an ending,
let alone, perhaps,     a lengthy and satisfactory
middle. Christopher thus tried     to cramp in more
information to provide     a purchase decent enough
to proudly be     a book, not a fragment.

 

II

Where I discuss the paratexts

 

About alliterative verse     the appendix consulted
I first to find     forgotten knowledge
and forlorn.     Two typos found
at twho-hundred thirty-one.     Though surely
becone meant 'become',     'with' became wth.
Spell-check would solve     this sloppy editing.
Confused: Christopher's editing     where ends it?
Tolkien's lecture     when launched is it?
Father's words and son's     wrought into one.

The appendix's aim     ambiguous remains.
Explaining it tries not,      for time and space lack,
exposition fractional     no further contributes
to Old English verse's valutaion     its virtue is thus
by laity overlooked.

                                                  Less concerned
with what it is     than what not.
English not Anglo-Saxon,     nor alliteration,
but head-rhyme.     Hearing sounds repeated,
same letters, symbols     insignificant is.
Changing spelling causes     confusion certainly.
But search in dictionary     to discovery it leads.

Alliteration is repetition     assonance of sounds
but not limited to     the letter that comes first.
As such certain and uncertain     surely do alliterate,
yet latter is undesirable diction     in drafting Old English metre.
Old English alliterative verse     accurately is head-rhyme.
Should change: 'same letters, symbols     insignificant are'
to: 'same letters, symbols     are significant not'.

Christopher tells when     written the poem was
and says The Fall     never finished was.
A friend of Tolkien wished     and wrote that:
'You simply must finish it.'     But no more did
Tolkien add     to Arthur's song.

 

III

Where the rating is explained

 

I have this book     bestowed three stars.
The language and rhyme     rewarded were four,
but Christopher's input     to the imagination
left something. Typos     truly unnecessary are.
Endnotes, I found,     should footnotes have been.

The paratext explaining     the poem's context
was written not for the lay     let alone scholars
or students of Old English poetry     and offered none
of the critical analyses     any reader would want
to find when bothering     to bring oneself
to read them. Christopher's     critical approach,
or rather the lack thereof,     reflected should not
be in the rating.     But reading a poem
that is unfinished requires     regular footnotes.
No reader wants to read     a rant of all Arthurian
Legends after finishing     the fleeting rhymes.

Only four lines are needed     to love Tolkien's poetry
and to recognise the potential     of the poetry's grandeur.
Nonetheless, it is uneventful     and unexplained, at times, by
both father and son, equally.     Even though plenty
information is given afterwards.

 

 

Description & Where to Buy

 

First published: 2013
Original title: The Fall of Arthur

Author:

Editor:

J. R. R. Tolkien

Christopher Tolkien

Edition: Hardcover (HarperCollins, 2013)
Pages: 233
Read: 31 May - 10 July 2013
ISBN: 0007489943, 9780007489947
   
  Wikipedia
Amazon USA Amazon UK
Book Depository USA Book Depository UK
Abebooks USA Abebooks UK

Currently reading

Leaves of Grass
Walt Whitman, Jerome Loving
Progress: 12/478 pages
The Luminaries
Eleanor Catton
Progress: 31 %
The Lord of the Rings
J.R.R. Tolkien
Progress: 506/1082 pages
Orientalism
Edward W. Said
Progress: 34/396 pages
Coffee at Luke's: An Unauthorized Gilmore Girls Gabfest
Leah Wilson, Jennifer Crusie
Progress: 17/197 pages
The Complete Poems
Catullus, Guy Lee, Titian
Progress: 105/244 pages
Renaissance Art
Geraldine A. Johnson
Progress: 23/176 pages
The Horologicon: A Day's Jaunt Through the Lost Words of the English Language
Mark Forsyth