New Tolkien book to be published –and BEYOND (or maybe BACK)

Houghton Mifflin will soon publish a new book drawn from J. R. R. Tolkien’s unpublished materials. The Tolkien Society’s web site reports that the book, titled The Fall of Gondolin, is due to be published in August 2018.

Tolkien’s son Christopher has been revising and publishing tales from his father’s archives since 1977, starting with The Silmarillion:

Other new books edited and revised by Christopher Tolkien include 2012’s The Children of Húrin:


and 2017’s Beren and Lúthien:


This is the purchase I want to make, though–a boxed set including The Silmarillion, unfinished material from the Tolkien archives, and one of my favorite texts ever, Tolkien’s own translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight:

Gawain is the real stuff of medieval fantasy. Tolkien produced another great translation of an authentic work of Middle English fantasy, Sir Orfeo. Here it is in a volume which also includes Tolkien’s translations of Gawain and, by the same author as Gawain, a poem called Pearl:


Just as no one knows who wrote Orfeo, no one really knows who wrote Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. At least we know more about this person than we do about the author of Orfeo. Many call the author of Gawain by the name “Pearl poet,” after one of his other works, the allegorical poem Pearl. Other poems by the same man include Patience and the unappealingly titled Cleanness (which we might translate “Purity”).

File:Pearl Poet.jpg
The Pearl Poet. Image in the public domain. Source: via Wikimedia Commons.



















The best contemporary translation of the Pearl Poet’s most famous work, Gawain, may be Simon Armitage’s:


although I am also partial to Keith Harrison’s:


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