--JRRT, THE FALL OF ARTHUR, lines 1-9
So, the big news Sunday night was the announcement, forwarded to the MythSoc list by Douglas Kane (thanks, Doug!), that the most eagerly awaited of all unpublished works by JRRT has been scheduled or a May release. Here's the official release at the publisher's website:
And here, also courtesy D.K., is what someone thinks the cover will look like:
--its provenance is a little uncertain, but it does bear a strong 'family resemblence' to the cover for SIGURD & GUDRUN, which leads some credence to its authenticity.
I don't know why Australians get a break and apparently will be able to buy it three weeks sooner than the rest of us -- because it takes so long for the books to reach them, perhaps? I've put in a pre-order at amazon, myself.
The HarperCollins announcement includes the news that this volume will include three essays by Christopher Tolkien, which is good news indeed -- I thought his contribution to SIGURD & GUDRUN as good as the poem itself. And more can be learned about the forthcoming book via the following piece in THE GUARDIAN (thanks to Janice for the link):
Here we learn that the book is 200 pages plus (relatively brief, closer to FINN & HENGEST than SIGURD & GUDRUN): remember that the poem is just under a thousand lines long. Better yet, the opening lines are printed her in this piece for the first time ever (see them quoted above).
For those who don't have it handy, here are the only other previously published lines, from Humphrey Carpenter's TOLKIEN: A BIOGRAPHY (1977), p. 168:
(of Mordred's lust for Guinever):
His bed was barren; there black phantoms
of desire unsated and savage fury
in his brain had brooded till bleak morning.
. . . lady ruthless,
fair as fay-woman and fell-minded,
in the world walking for the woe of men.
For my part, I'm going to be re-reading Tolkien's obvious sources for his tale: THE ALLITERATIVE MORTE ARTHURE and THE STANZAIC MORTE ARTHUR.
Given that I first heard of this book as forthcoming back in 1985, I think it was, from Rayner Unwin, I really can't convey how pleased I am that another seven or eight months will see it in print.
And there was great rejoicing, and is great rejoicing, and will be great rejoicing in the land.