TOLKIEN'S BOOKSHELF #9: THE STORY OF KING ARTHUR AND HIS KNIGHTS. J.R.R. Tolkien greatly enjoyed Arthurian stories, which he called 'powerful'. In fact, it was he who translated Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (a 14th-century romance about one of Arthur's knights) into modern English. So profoundly did the legends of King Arthur move Tolkien that a few years before he wrote 'The Hobbit' he began to compose a poem in alliterative verse, entitled 'The Fall of Arthur'. Literary researchers have found several parallels between the Arthurian legends and 'The Lord of the Rings'. It was 1903 when Howard Pyle's beautifully illustrated 'The Story of King Arthur and his Knights' was first published. J.R.R. Tolkien was an eleven year old boy. With what relish must he have seized upon this new version of the great legend, complete with captivating illustrations! And how eagerly must that young mind have soaked up the heroic visions that would later help shape Middle-earth and 'The Lord of the Rings'.