A work by JRR Tolkien that has remained untouched for 80 years will be published for the first time next year.

The Fall of Arthur recounts in verse the last days of King Arthur, when, on the threshold of Mirkwood he was summoned to return to Britain by the news of Mordred’s treachery.

Tolkien, below, put the work aside to focus on The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings in the 1930s, but Harper Collins will now publish it for the first time along with three essays by Tolkien’s son Christopher on the literary world of King Arthur.

A Harper Collins spokesman said: “Powerful, passionate and filled with vivid imagery, The Fall of Arthur reveals Tolkien’s gift for storytelling at its brilliant best. Originally composed by JRR Tolkien in the 1930s, this work was set aside for The Hobbit and has lain untouched for 80 years.

“Now it has been edited for publication by Tolkien’s son, Christopher, who contributes three illuminating essays that explore the literary world of King Arthur, reveal the deeper meaning of the verses and the painstaking work that his father applied to bring it to a finished form, and the intriguing links between The Fall of Arthur and his greatest creation, Middle Earth.”

The news comes as fans around the world celebrate the 75th anniversary of the publication of The Hobbit, which is also due to be released as a series of films by Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson later this year.

The new book is set for release in May 2013.

Tolkien was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Pembroke College, Oxford, from 1925 to 1945 and Merton Professor of English Language and Literature there from 1945 to 1959. He passed away in 1973, aged 81.