Not to be denied by a simple thing like death, J.R.R. Tolkien has a new book coming out later this year
J.R.R. Tolkien is apparently such a prolific writer, that even death won’t stop him from releasing a new book later this year. On August 27 in the U.K. and October 27 in the U.S., one of Tolkien’s earliest, and unfinished works, The Story of Kullervo will be released complete with the author’s notes and more.
The novel is based on one of Tolkien’s first attempts at fantasy fiction. He worked on it in 1914, back when Tolkien was still focusing on poetry. During his studies he came across the Finnish epic poem, Kalevala about warring wizards, which inspired him to write this story. Rather than keeping the poetical format though, Tolkien elected to write the novel in prose.
Tolkien never actually finished the novel, but the release coming later this year contains his original manuscript. His notes will also be included, along with several essays about it. Tolkien scholar Verlyn Flieger also added additional commentary.
If you are looking for more Lord of the rings you’ll be disappointed, but if you are a fan of the literary works and how they were made, this book is for you.
The Story of Kullervo wasn’t initially meant as part of Middle-earth, but diehard Tolkien fans will be able to see the process that helped give birth to the Lord of the Rings series and the massive amount of backstory Tolkien created along with it. Those that count themselves Tolkien scholars will probably be able to see some examples of how World War I colored the way he saw the world between this work and his later pieces.
This won’t be the first time The Story of Kullervo has been released, but it will be the first time it will be released as a standalone novel, and it will include all of Tolkien’s notes.
“The germ of my attempt to write legends of my own to fit my private languages was the tragic tale of the hapless Kullervo in the Finnish Kalevala,” Tolkien wrote. “It remains a major matter in the legends of the First Age (which I hope to publish as The Silmarillion)“
On the one hand, it is absolutely a cash grab, building on the current resurgence in Tolkien popularity thanks to the recent movies. On the other hand though, Tolkien’s estate is fairly notorious about its dedication to protecting the legacy of the author. This book, and especially the accompanying material, should be a fascinating look inside the mind of one of the most influential authors of the 20th century, and further our understanding of him.
The book will be out soon, or you can just wait for New Line Cinema to make it into three, very long films.