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A 1914 manuscript that formed the early basis for J.R.R. Tolkien’s works of epic fantasy will be widely published for the first time this summer.
“The Story of Kullervo,” which Tolkien wrote while at Oxford University, has previously only been published in the journal “Tolkien Studies: Volume 7.” It will be widely distributed for the first time in the U.K. on Aug. 27 and in the U.S. on April 5, 2016, according to Amazon.
The book follows the story of an orphan seeking revenge on the dark magician who killed his father. Tolkien based the book on the Finnish epic poem “The Kalevala,” which was published in English for the first time in 1888.
Tolkien never finished “Kullervo,” but wrote that it was an early exploration of epic fantasy that formed the basis for his later work “The Silmarillion”:
“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. It remains a major matter in the legends of the First Age (which I hope to publish as The Silmarillion).”
His reference to the “First Age” also links the story to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Daily Dot pointed out.
An earlier version of this post stated that the book would be published in the U.S. on Oct. 27.
Corinne is the Senior Multimedia Web Editor for NewsHour Weekend. She serves on the advisory board for VIDA: Women in Literary Arts.
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