J.R.R. Tolkien’s King Arthur Poem to See Publication in 2013

Did you know J.R.R. Tolkien wrote an epic poem about King Arthur? (What’s that, superfans? Yes, of course, we figured you knew.) The Fall of Arthur is an unfinished 200-page chronicle of the legendary ruler’s last days, inspired by Geoffrey of Monmouth and Thomas Malory’s King Arthur stories. Previously unpublished, the poem predates The Hobbit and is due out in May 2013 via HarperCollins UK, in an edition edited by Tolkien’s son, Christopher Tolkien.

For Tolkien completists HarperCollins editor Chris Smith offers some context: “In The Fall of Arthur we find themes of lost identity, betrayal, and sacrifice for greater glory, which have their echoes in other works, such as The Lord of the Rings, but anyone looking for closer connections will find no wizards or magic swords. In this respect The Fall of Arthur is closer to Sir Gawain and the Green Knight or The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún,” he tells the Guardian, where you can also sneak a peek at the poem’s opening lines. [via GalleyCat]