Last July, we told you of rumours of a new publication of Tolkien’s work, expected May of 2013.  There is now confirmation from British publishers Harper Collins that Tolkien’s long poem, The Fall of Arthur, will indeed be released next Spring.  The text has of course been edited by the Professor’s son Christopher, and the publication will also included ‘three illuminating essays that explore the literary world of King Arthur, reveal the deeper meaning of the verses and the painstaking work that his father applied to bring it to a finished form, and the intriguing links between The Fall of Arthur and his greatest creation, Middle-earth.’

Exciting stuff; fans everywhere will be eager to read Tolkien’s poem on the British legend which was one of his inspirations to create his own mythic saga.  Read the details here; thanks to David for sending us the update!

UPDATE – we now also have the official press release from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, about the US release of this work.  It follows after the break!

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to Publish J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fall of Arthur in 2013

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has acquired the U.S. rights to publish a previously unknown work by J.R.R. Tolkien. Presented for the first time, the tale of The Fall of Arthur will transport readers to a time when the legendary King Arthur ruled Britain, and a dark and mythic world of ancient Europe, when the threat to the kingdom came from both without and within.

The Fall of Arthur, begun by J.R.R. Tolkien just a few years before The Hobbit, was inspired by tales of the iconic British hero contained within the work of Geoffrey of Monmouth, Thomas Malory and other English poets, but depicts drama and adventure in language only Tolkien could have written. It comprises a work of narrative verse telling of the last days of the King, which has been edited by Christopher Tolkien, who also provides detailed commentary and notes.

Christopher Tolkien said: “It is well known that a prominent strain in my father’s poetry was his abiding love for the old ‘Northern’ alliterative verse, which extended from the world of Middle-earth (notably in the long but unfinished Lay of the Children of Húrin) to the dramatic dialogue The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth (arising from the Old English poem The Battle of Maldon) and to his ‘Old Norse’ poems The New Lay of the Völsungs and The New Lay of Gudrún (to which he referred in a letter of 1967 as ‘a thing I did many years ago when trying to learn the art of writing alliterative poetry’). In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight he displayed his skill in his rendering of the alliterative verse of the fourteenth century into the same metre in modern English. To these is now added his unfinished and unpublished poem The Fall of Arthur.”

This is the first new book by J.R.R. Tolkien since the internationally bestselling The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún in 2009. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will publish The Fall of Arthur in hardcover in May 2013.
Ken Carpenter, VP Trade Paperbacks and Director of Tolkien Projects at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt said:  “We are delighted to publish this extraordinary work which breathes new life into the tale of King Arthur.  Tolkien delivers a narrative every bit as compelling as his tales of Middle-earth that will enrich the legend of this complex hero while satisfying Tolkien’s many fans around the world.”