LoveReading

Becoming a member of the LoveReading community is free.

No catches, no fine print just unadulterated book loving, with your favourite books saved to your own digital bookshelf.

New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop Plus lots lots more…

Find out more

J. R. R. Tolkien - Author

About the Author

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born on the 3rd January, 1892 at Bloemfontein in the Orange Free State, but at the age of four he and his brother were taken back to England by their mother. After his father’s death the family moved to Sarehole, on the south-eastern edge of Birmingham. Tolkien spent a happy childhood in the countryside and his sensibility to the rural landscape can clearly be seen in his writing and his pictures.

His mother died when he was only twelve and both he and his brother were made wards of the local priest and sent to King Edward’s School, Birmingham, where Tolkien shone in his classical work. After completing a First in English at Oxford, Tolkien married Edith Bratt. He was also commissioned in the Lancashire Fusiliers and fought in the battle of the Somme. After the war, he obtained a post on the ‘New English Dictionary’ and began to write the mythological and legendary cycle which he originally called The Book of Lost Tales  but which eventually became known as The Silmarillion.

In 1920 Tolkien was appointed Reader in English Language at the University of Leeds which was the beginning of a distinguished academic career culminating with his election as Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford. Meanwhile Tolkien wrote for his children and told them the story of The Hobbit. It was his publisher, Stanley Unwin, who asked for a sequel to The Hobbit  and gradually Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings, a huge story that took twelve years to complete and which was not published until Tolkien was approaching retirement. After retirement Tolkien and his wife lived near Oxford, but then moved to Bournemouth. Tolkien returned to Oxford after his wife’s death in 1971. He died on 2 September 1973 leaving The Silmarillion  to be edited for publication by his son, Christopher.

Featured books by J. R. R. Tolkien

The Colour Illustrated Hobbit

The Colour Illustrated Hobbit

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: Paperback Release Date: 21/09/2017

Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable and quiet life. His contentment is disturbed one day when the wizard, Gandalf, and the dwarves arrive to take him away on an adventure. Smaug certainly looked fast asleep, when Bilbo peeped once more from the entrance. He was just about to step out on to the floor when he caught a sudden thin ray of red from under the drooping lid of Smaug's left eye. He was only pretending to sleep! He was watching the tunnel entrance! Whisked from his comfortable hobbit-hole by Gandalf the wizard and a band of dwarves. Bilbo Baggins finds himself caught up in a plot to raid the treasure hoard of Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon...

Beren and Luthien

Beren and Luthien

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/06/2017

The tale of Beren and Luthien was, or became, an essential element in the evolution of The Silmarillion, the myths and legends of the First Age of the World conceived by J.R.R. Tolkien. Returning from France and the battle of the Somme at the end of 1916, he wrote the tale in the following year. Essential to the story, and never changed, is the fate that shadowed the love of Beren and Luthien: for Beren was a mortal man, but Luthien was an immortal Elf. Her father, a great Elvish lord, in deep opposition to Beren, imposed on him an impossible task that he must perform before he might wed Luthien. This is the kernel of the legend; and it leads to the supremely heroic attempt of Beren and Luthien together to rob the greatest of all evil beings, Melkor, called Morgoth, the Black Enemy, of a Silmaril. In this book Christopher Tolkien has attempted to extract the story of Beren and Luthien from the comprehensive work in which it was embedded; but that story was itself changing as it developed new associations within the larger history. To show something of the process whereby this legend of Middle-earth evolved over the years, he has told the story in his father's own words by giving, first, its original form, and then passages in prose and verse from later texts that illustrate the narrative as it changed. Presented together for the first time, they reveal aspects of the story, both in event and in narrative immediacy, that were afterwards lost.

ebook of the month
The Hobbit Facsimile First Edition Boxed Set

The Hobbit Facsimile First Edition Boxed Set

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: Hardback Release Date: 22/09/2016

This sumptuous gift set includes a replica of the very rare first edition of The Hobbit, the only edition where one can now read the original version of the story before Tolkien re-edited it nearly 30 years later. The Hobbit was published on 21 September 1937 with a print run of 1,500 copies. With a beautiful cover design and nearly a dozen black & white drawings by the author himself, the book proved to be popular and was reprinted shortly afterwards, and history was already being made. The scarcity of the first edition has resulted in copies commanding huge prices, way beyond the reach of most Tolkien fans. In addition, subsequent changes to the text - particularly those to chapter five when Tolkien decided to expand the text to marry it up to events in The Lord of the Rings - mean that the opportunity to read the book in its original form and format has become quite difficult. This special printing reprints the first edition, so that Tolkien's story may be enjoyed in its original form.

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Boxed Set

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Boxed Set

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: Paperback Release Date: 20/11/2014

Immerse yourself in Middle-earth with Tolkien's classic masterpieces behind the films, telling the complete story of Bilbo Baggins and the Hobbits' epic encounters with Gandalf, Gollum, dragons and monsters, in the quest to destroy the One Ring. When they were first published, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings became instant classics. Treasured by readers young and old, these works of sweeping fantasy, steeped in unrivalled magic and otherworldliness have sold more than 150 million copies around the world. This new boxed gift set, published to celebrate the release of the first of Peter Jackson's three-part film adaptation of JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit, THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY, contains both titles and features cover images from both films. It offers readers a new opportunity to discover Tolkien's remarkable world of Middle-earth and to follow the complete story of Bilbo Baggins and the Hobbits' part in the epic quest for the Ring - beginning with Bilbo's fateful visit from Gandalf and culminating in the dramatic climax between Frodo and Gollum atop Mount Doom.

Hobbitus Ille The Latin Hobbit

Hobbitus Ille The Latin Hobbit

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: Hardback Release Date: 13/09/2012

Fascinating for Latin learners and for Tolkien fans of all ages, The Hobbit has been translated into Latin for the first time since its publication 75 years ago. In foramine terrae habitabat hobbitus. ('In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit.') The Hobbit, is one of the world's most popular classic stories, appealing to adults as much as to the children for whom J.R.R. Tolkien first wrote the book. Translated worldwide into more than 60 modern languages, now Hobbitus Ille is finally published in Latin, and will be of interest to all those who are studying the language, whether at school or at a higher level. In the great tradition of publishing famous children's books in Latin, professional classicist and lifelong Tolkien fan Mark Walker provides a deft translation of the entire book. His attention to detail, including the transformation of Tolkien's songs and verses into classical Latin metres, will fascinate and entertain readers of all ability, even those with only a minimal acquaintance with the language.

ebook of the month

Other books by J. R. R. Tolkien

Beren and Luthien

Beren and Luthien

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/06/2017

Painstakingly restored from Tolkien's manuscripts and presented for the first time as a continuous and standalone story, the epic tale of Beren and Luthien will reunite fans of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings with Elves and Men, Dwarves and Orcs and the rich landscape and creatures unique to Tolkien's Middle-earth. The tale of Beren and Luthien was, or became, an essential element in the evolution of The Silmarillion, the myths and legends of the First Age of the World conceived by J.R.R. Tolkien. Returning from France and the battle of the Somme at the end of 1916, he wrote the tale in the following year. Essential to the story, and never changed, is the fate that shadowed the love of Beren and Luthien: for Beren was a mortal man, but Luthien was an immortal Elf. Her father, a great Elvish lord, in deep opposition to Beren, imposed on him an impossible task that he must perform before he might wed Luthien. This is the kernel of the legend; and it leads to the supremely heroic attempt of Beren and Luthien together to rob the greatest of all evil beings, Melkor, called Morgoth, the Black Enemy, of a Silmaril. In this book Christopher Tolkien has attempted to extract the story of Beren and Luthien from the comprehensive work in which it was embedded; but that story was itself changing as it developed new associations within the larger history. To show something of the process whereby this legend of Middle-earth evolved over the years, he has told the story in his father's own words by giving, first, its original form, and then passages in prose and verse from later texts that illustrate the narrative as it changed. Presented together for the first time, they reveal aspects of the story, both in event and in narrative immediacy, that were afterwards lost.

Beren and Luthien

Beren and Luthien

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/06/2017

The tale of Beren and Luthien was, or became, an essential element in the evolution of The Silmarillion, the myths and legends of the First Age of the World conceived by J.R.R. Tolkien. Returning from France and the battle of the Somme at the end of 1916, he wrote the tale in the following year. Essential to the story, and never changed, is the fate that shadowed the love of Beren and Luthien: for Beren was a mortal man, but Luthien was an immortal Elf. Her father, a great Elvish lord, in deep opposition to Beren, imposed on him an impossible task that he must perform before he might wed Luthien. This is the kernel of the legend; and it leads to the supremely heroic attempt of Beren and Luthien together to rob the greatest of all evil beings, Melkor, called Morgoth, the Black Enemy, of a Silmaril. In this book Christopher Tolkien has attempted to extract the story of Beren and Luthien from the comprehensive work in which it was embedded; but that story was itself changing as it developed new associations within the larger history. To show something of the process whereby this legend of Middle-earth evolved over the years, he has told the story in his father's own words by giving, first, its original form, and then passages in prose and verse from later texts that illustrate the narrative as it changed. Presented together for the first time, they reveal aspects of the story, both in event and in narrative immediacy, that were afterwards lost.

ebook of the month
The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun

The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/11/2016

Unavailable for more than 70 years, this early but important work is published for the first time with Tolkien's `Corrigan' poems and other supporting material, including a prefatory note by Christopher Tolkien. Set `In Britain's land beyond the seas' during the Age of Chivalry, The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun tells of a childless Breton Lord and Lady (the `Aotrou' and `Itroun' of the title) and the tragedy that befalls them when Aotrou seeks to remedy their situation with the aid of a magic potion obtained from a corrigan, or malevolent fairy. When the potion succeeds and Itroun bears twins, the corrigan returns seeking her fee, and Aotrou is forced to choose between betraying his marriage and losing his life. Coming from the darker side of J.R.R. Tolkien's imagination, The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun, together with the two shorter `Corrigan' poems that lead up to it and which are also included, was the outcome of a comparatively short but intense period in Tolkien's life when he was deeply engaged with Celtic, and particularly Breton, myth and legend. Originally written in 1930 and long out of print, this early but seminal work is an important addition to the non-Middle-earth portion of his canon and should be set alongside Tolkien's other retellings of myth and legend, The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun, The Fall of Arthur and The Story of Kullervo. Like these works, it belongs to a small but important corpus of his ventures into `real-world' mythologies, each of which in its own way would be a formative influence on his own legendarium.

The Story of Kullervo

The Story of Kullervo

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: Hardback Release Date: 20/10/2016

The world first publication of a previously unknown work of fantasy by J.R.R. Tolkien, which tells the powerful story of a doomed young man who is sold into slavery and who swears revenge on the magician who killed his father. Kullervo son of Kalervo is perhaps the darkest and most tragic of all J.R.R. Tolkien's characters. `Hapless Kullervo', as Tolkien called him, is a luckless orphan boy with supernatural powers and a tragic destiny. Brought up in the homestead of the dark magician Untamo, who killed his father, kidnapped his mother, and who tries three times to kill him when still a boy, Kullervo is alone save for the love of his twin sister, Wanona, and guarded by the magical powers of the black dog, Musti. When Kullervo is sold into slavery he swears revenge on the magician, but he will learn that even at the point of vengeance there is no escape from the cruellest of fates. Tolkien wrote that The Story of Kullervo was `the germ of my attempt to write legends of my own', and was `a major matter in the legends of the First Age'; his Kullervo was the ancestor of Turin Turambar, tragic incestuous hero of The Silmarillion. In addition to being a powerful story in its own right, The Story of Kullervo - published here for the first time with the author's drafts, notes and lecture-essays on its source-work, The Kalevala, is a foundation stone in the structure of Tolkien's invented world.

The Hobbit Facsimile First Edition Boxed Set

The Hobbit Facsimile First Edition Boxed Set

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: Hardback Release Date: 22/09/2016

This sumptuous gift set includes a replica of the very rare first edition of The Hobbit, the only edition where one can now read the original version of the story before Tolkien re-edited it nearly 30 years later. The Hobbit was published on 21 September 1937 with a print run of 1,500 copies. With a beautiful cover design and nearly a dozen black & white drawings by the author himself, the book proved to be popular and was reprinted shortly afterwards, and history was already being made. The scarcity of the first edition has resulted in copies commanding huge prices, way beyond the reach of most Tolkien fans. In addition, subsequent changes to the text - particularly those to chapter five when Tolkien decided to expand the text to marry it up to events in The Lord of the Rings - mean that the opportunity to read the book in its original form and format has become quite difficult. This special printing reprints the first edition, so that Tolkien's story may be enjoyed in its original form.

Leaf by Niggle

Leaf by Niggle

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 28/07/2016

Published for the very first time in its own volume, Tolkien's remarkable tale about a painter whose obsession with detail prevents him from finishing his great work. Niggle is a painter. Not a very successful one, partly because he has so many other things to do. For some time he has been obsessed with one particular canvas - a curious picture of a tree with a vast landscape stretching out behind it. The painting keeps getting bigger and bigger, but Niggle has a journey to make. In 1939 Tolkien was despairing of ever bringing his great work The Lord of the Rings to a conclusion. One morning he woke up with the story Leaf by Niggle complete in his mind and wrote it down. This poignant story, about an artist on a curious journey, is often seen as an allegory of the writer's own creative process and life. Published to coincide with a new touring stage production of the story, this is the first time the story has been published in its own volume, enabling readers to savour one of Tolkien's most elegant, haunting and least-known short stories.

Smith of Wootton Major

Smith of Wootton Major

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: eBook Release Date: 28/07/2016

Tolkien's acclaimed modern classic 'fairie' tale, read by Derek Jacobi.Smith of Wootton Major journeys to the Land of Faery thanks to the magical ingredients of the Great Cake of the Feast of Good Children.

Leaf by Niggle

Leaf by Niggle

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: eBook Release Date: 23/06/2016

Tolkien's acclaimed modern classic 'fairie' tale, read by Derek Jacobi.Leaf by Niggle recounts the strange adventures of the painter Niggle, who sets out to paint the perfect tree. But he senses that he will be snatched away from his work long before it is finished - if indeed it could ever be finished in this world. For it is in another and brighter place that Niggle finds his tree is finished, and learns that it is indeed a real tree, a true part of creation.Written in the early 1940s at the same time as The Lord of the Rings was taking shape, 'Leaf by Niggle' is a passionate adult fairy tale about a man who has 'a long journey to make', thought to be an allegory of Tolkien's own life.

Tales from the Perilous Realm

Tales from the Perilous Realm

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: eBook Release Date: 23/06/2016

Combined into one volume, this is the definitive collection of Tolkien's five acclaimed modern classic 'fairie' tales in the vein of 'The Hobbit', read by Derek Jacobi.The five tales are written with the same skill, quality and charm that made The Hobbit a classic. Largely overlooked because of their short lengths, they are joined here in one volume which reaffirms Tolkien's place as a master storyteller for readers young and old.* Roverandom is a toy dog who, enchanted by a sand sorcerer, gets to explore the world and encounter strange and fabulous creatures;* Farmer Giles of Ham is fat and unheroic, but - having unwittingly managed to scare off a short-sighted giant - is called upon to do battle when a dragon comes to town;* The Adventures of Tom Bombadil tells in verse of Tom's many adventures with hobbits, princesses, dwarves and trolls;* Leaf by Niggle recounts the strange adventures of the painter Niggle who sets out to paint the perfect tree;* Smith of Wootton Major journeys to the Land of Faery thanks to the magical ingredients of the Great Cake of the Feast of Good Children.Taken together, this rich collection of work from the author of The Children of Hurin will provide the reader with a fascinating journey into lands as wild and strange as Middle-earth.

A Secret Vice Tolkien on Invented Languages

A Secret Vice Tolkien on Invented Languages

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: Hardback Release Date: 21/03/2016

First ever critical study of Tolkien's little-known essay, which reveals how language invention shaped the creation of Middle-earth and beyond, to George R R Martin's Game of Thrones. J.R.R. Tolkien's linguistic invention was a fundamental part of his artistic output, to the extent that later on in life he attributed the existence of his mythology to the desire to give his languages a home and peoples to speak them. As Tolkien puts it in `A Secret Vice', `the making of language and mythology are related functions''. In the 1930s, Tolkien composed and delivered two lectures, in which he explored these two key elements of his sub-creative methodology. The second of these, the seminal Andrew Lang Lecture for 1938-9, `On Fairy-Stories', which he delivered at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, is well known. But many years before, in 1931, Tolkien gave a talk to a literary society entitled `A Hobby for the Home', where he unveiled for the first time to a listening public the art that he had both himself encountered and been involved with since his earliest childhood: `the construction of imaginary languages in full or outline for amusement'. This talk would be edited by Christopher Tolkien for inclusion as `A Secret Vice' in The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays and serves as the principal exposition of Tolkien's art of inventing languages. This new critical edition, which includes previously unpublished notes and drafts by Tolkien connected with the essay, including his `Essay on Phonetic Symbolism', goes some way towards re-opening the debate on the importance of linguistic invention in Tolkien's mythology and the role of imaginary languages in fantasy literature.

Beowulf A Translation and Commentary, Together with Sellic Spell

Beowulf A Translation and Commentary, Together with Sellic Spell

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 28/01/2016

The translation of Beowulf by J.R.R. Tolkien was an early work, very distinctive in its mode, completed in 1926: he returned to it later to make hasty corrections, but seems never to have considered its publication. This edition is twofold, for there exists an illuminating commentary on the text of the poem by the translator himself, in the written form of a series of lectures given at Oxford in the 1930s; and from these lectures a substantial selection has been made, to form also a commentary on the translation in this book. From his creative attention to detail in these lectures there arises a sense of the immediacy and clarity of his vision. It is as if he entered into the imagined past: standing beside Beowulf and his men shaking out their mail-shirts as they beached their ship on the coast of Denmark, listening to the rising anger of Beowulf at the taunting of Unferth, or looking up in amazement at Grendel's terrible hand set under the roof of Heorot. But the commentary in this book includes also much from those lectures in which, while always anchored in the text, he expressed his wider perceptions. He looks closely at the dragon that would slay Beowulf `snuffling in baffled rage and injured greed when he discovers the theft of the cup'; but he rebuts the notion that this is `a mere treasure story', `just another dragon tale'. He turns to the lines that tell of the burying of the golden things long ago, and observes that it is `the feeling for the treasure itself, this sad history' that raises it to another level. `The whole thing is sombre, tragic, sinister, curiously real. The treasure is not just some lucky wealth that will enable the finder to have a good time, or marry the princess. It is laden with history, leading back into the dark heathen ages beyond the memory of song, but not beyond the reach of imagination.' Sellic Spell, a `marvellous tale', is a story written by Tolkien suggesting what might have been the form and style of an Old English folk-tale of Beowulf, in which there was no association with the `historical legends' of the Northern kingdoms.

The Tolkien Treasury Roverandom, Farmer Giles of Ham, the Adventures of Tom Bombadil, Smith of Wootton Major

The Tolkien Treasury Roverandom, Farmer Giles of Ham, the Adventures of Tom Bombadil, Smith of Wootton Major

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: Mixed media product Release Date: 19/11/2015

De luxe boxed gift set of Tolkien's most popular and charming tales; full of wit and humour, giants, dragons, magic and more, they are collected together for the first time and will delight readers of all ages. Farmer Giles did not look like a hero. He was fat and red-bearded and enjoyed a slow, comfortable life. Then one day a rather deaf and short-sighted giant blundered on to his land... The Adventures of Tom Bombadil collects hobbit-verses from the `Red Book' and other poems relating legends and jests of the Shire at the end of the Third Age. Smith of Wootton Major tells of the preparation of the Great Cake to mark the Feast of Good Children and the magical events which follow. Roverandom is a real dog who is magically transformed into a toy and is forced to seek out the wizard who wronged him in order to be returned to normal. The story was written to console Tolkien's four-year-old son, Michael, who lost a beloved toy dog on the beach.

Hobbit

Hobbit

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: eBook Release Date: 29/10/2015

Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable and quiet life. His contentment is disturbed one day when the wizard, Gandalf, and the dwarves arrive to take him away on an adventure.Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely travelling further than the pantry of his hobbit-hole in Bag End.But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard, Gandalf, and a company of thirteen dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an unexpected journey 'there and back again'. They have a plot to raid the treasure hoard of Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon...The prelude to The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit has sold many millions of copies since its publication in 1937, establishing itself as one of the most beloved and influential books of the twentieth century.

Silmarillion

Silmarillion

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: eBook Release Date: 29/10/2015

The Silmarillion is an account of the Elder Days, of the First Age of Tolkien's world. It is the ancient drama to which the characters in The Lord of the Rings look back, and in whose events some of them such as Elrond and Galadriel took part.The tales of The Silmarillion are set in an age when Morgoth, the first Dark Lord, dwelt in Middle-Earth, and the High Elves made war upon him for the recovery of the Silmarils, the jewels containing the pure light of Valinor.Included in the book are several shorter works. The Ainulindale is a myth of the Creation and in the Valaquenta the nature and powers of each of the gods is described. The Akallabeth recounts the downfall of the great island kingdom of Numenor at the end of the Second Age and Of the Rings of Power tells of the great events at the end of the Third Age, as narrated in The Lord of the Rings.

The Story of Kullervo

The Story of Kullervo

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: Hardback Release Date: 24/08/2015

The world first publication of a previously unknown work of fantasy by J.R.R. Tolkien, which tells the powerful story of a doomed young man who is sold into slavery and who swears revenge on the magician who killed his father. Kullervo son of Kalervo is perhaps the darkest and most tragic of all J.R.R. Tolkien's characters. `Hapless Kullervo', as Tolkien called him, is a luckless orphan boy with supernatural powers and a tragic destiny. Brought up in the homestead of the dark magician Untamo, who killed his father, kidnapped his mother, and who tries three times to kill him when still a boy, Kullervo is alone save for the love of his twin sister, Wanona, and guarded by the magical powers of the black dog, Musti. When Kullervo is sold into slavery he swears revenge on the magician, but he will learn that even at the point of vengeance there is no escape from the cruellest of fates. Tolkien wrote that The Story of Kullervo was `the germ of my attempt to write legends of my own', and was `a major matter in the legends of the First Age'; his Kullervo was the ancestor of Turin Turambar, tragic incestuous hero of The Silmarillion. In addition to being a powerful story in its own right, The Story of Kullervo - published here for the first time with the author's drafts, notes and lecture-essays on its source-work, The Kalevala, is a foundation stone in the structure of Tolkien's invented world.

The Fall of Arthur

The Fall of Arthur

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 21/05/2015

The world first publication of a previously unknown work by J.R.R. Tolkien, which tells the extraordinary story of the final days of England's legendary hero, King Arthur. The Fall of Arthur, the only venture by J.R.R. Tolkien into the legends of Arthur King of Britain, may well be regarded as his finest and most skilful achievement in the use of the Old English alliterative metre, in which he brought to his transforming perceptions of the old narratives a pervasive sense of the grave and fateful nature of all that is told: of Arthur's expedition overseas into distant heathen lands, of Guinevere's flight from Camelot, of the great sea-battle on Arthur's return to Britain, in the portrait of the traitor Mordred, in the tormented doubts of Lancelot in his French castle. Unhappily, The Fall of Arthur was one of several long narrative poems that he abandoned in that period. In this case he evidently began it in the earlier nineteen-thirties, and it was sufficiently advanced for him to send it to a very perceptive friend who read it with great enthusiasm at the end of 1934 and urgently pressed him `You simply must finish it!' But in vain: he abandoned it, at some date unknown, though there is some evidence that it may have been in 1937, the year of the publication of The Hobbit and the first stirrings of The Lord of the Rings. Years later, in a letter of 1955, he said that `he hoped to finish a long poem on The Fall of Arthur'; but that day never came. Associated with the text of the poem, however, are many manuscript pages: a great quantity of drafting and experimentation in verse, in which the strange evolution of the poem's structure is revealed, together with narrative synopses and very significant if tantalising notes. In these latter can be discerned clear if mysterious associations of the Arthurian conclusion with The Silmarillion, and the bitter ending of the love of Lancelot and Guinevere, which was never written.