J.R.R. Tolkien is a literary legend thanks to the global success of his epic Lord of the Rings. Now one of his first novel’s, The Story of Kullervo, is set to be published in August.
If you’ve ever been interested in how Tolkien started his journey to becoming one of the shining icons of literacy, then The Story of Kullervo should hold some answers. The previously unpublished first draft is going to be released in August, complete with Tolkien’s original notes.
Reportedly written in 1914 whilst Tolkien was studying poetry at college, the story was his first significant attempt at writing fantasy. Tolkien’s love of Finnish folklore and poetry in particular led him to write the book which was never finished, but did directly result in his writing of The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings.
The story is a retelling of The Kullervo Cycle – a section of the 19th-century Finnish epic the Kalevala. The story also influenced Tolkien’s The Silmarillian, with the story of Túrin Turambar being heavily based on Kullervo. Both Kullervo and Túrin are unjustly bullied until they seek bloody vengeance on their tormentors, whilst unknowingly seducing their own sister’s (as you do) before ending in suicide.
J.R.R. Tolkien spoke about The Story of Kullervo and how it led to the creation of Middle-Earth:
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).
While the manuscript for The Story of Kullervo has been available to read for many years, this is the first time it will be published as a stand-alone book. Already available for preorder on Kindle, the book will be published by HarperCollins on August 27th in the UK and October 27th in the US.