King Arthur was an Elf?

Readers of this blog may be interested in a series of three pieces I wrote recently about The Fall of Arthur by Charles Williams’ fellow Inkling, J.R. R. Tolkien.

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Did you know about this previously unpublished work by Tolkien? It was just released a month ago, edited by Tolkien’s son Christopher. It is an AMAZING work — a verse fragment that shows Tolkien’s greatest poetic skills and the beginnings of his mythic imagination at work. You can purchase it on amazon.

The greatest feature of this work, however, is the massive way in which it could change Tolkien’s mythology forever. It contains hints (not in the poem itself, but in what Christopher Tolkien reveals about drafts, outlines, and fragments in his editorial matter) about ways in which Tolkien meant to connect his Arthurian legend to his Elvish Legendarium. Had he done so, his imaginary history of the world would have been much more complete, full of vast significance.

I have written about The Fall of Arthur in three places.

First, here is my prophetic pre-review, in which I wrote about the history of Arthurian legends and predict elements I thought would be in the book (before I read it).

Second, here is a post on my other blog in which I rate how well I did as an oracle (not very well, by the way).

Finally, here is my official review of the book, over on Curator magazine.

I hope you enjoy these pieces I have written, and most of all, I hope you read and enjoy The Fall of Arthur.

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About Sørina Higgins

Sørina Higgins is a writer, English teacher, and Inklings scholar. Sørina serves as Chair of the Department of Language and Literature at Signum University and teaches English at King's College and Lehigh Carbon Community College. She has published two books of poetry, "The Significance of Swans" and "Caduceus."
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8 Responses to King Arthur was an Elf?

  1. Thank you for all of these wonderful pieces. More and more I feel that The Lord of the Rings was bigger than Tolkien. I don’t think that diminishes his greatness in any way because he gave himself up to it in a way he never intended. In that respect I am not surprised that his work and that of the other Inklings did not quite connect up. Surely they left us with enough clues to pursue in our own time.

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    • Thank you, Stephen! I think what you say is amazing: LOTR was bigger than Tolkien himself. Yes, I get that feeling, too. He hardly ever finished any of the works he undertook, and I sense that he felt he was hewing some enormous, complex statue out of the side of an everlasting mountain as big as the world itself and as old as history.

      We scholars can kind of piece together the works the Inklings [collectively] new wrote — and maybe a talented enough creative writer or writing team will come along to write those imaginative works that the academics speculate.

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      • Perhaps they will in the sense that you touched on in your thoughts on the Arthurian legend when you said that there is no urtext. The medieval greats kept on finding more riches from them. I hope we are capable of doing the same with Tolkien.

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  2. Pingback: Tolkien’s household and poetic places | Call of the Siren

  3. jubilare says:

    I will have to read this. There are already connections in the Silmarillion (especially the Akalabeth) to Arthurian and Atlantean legends that I always found very intriguing. I would love to know more about what Tolkien intended to do with these hints and echoes.

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  4. Pingback: Tolkien Post Master List | Pages Unbound

  5. “Perhaps I should get a bunch of scholars together and compile a book on The Inklings and Arthur.”

    Please make this happen!

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