Publiced during his life:
The Hobbit or There and Back again (1937)
Leaf by Niggle (1945) included in 'Tales from the Perilous Realm' and 'Tree and Leaf'
Farmer Giles of Ham (1949) included in 'Tales from the Perilous Realm'
The Fellowship of the Ring, part 1 of The Lord of the Rings (1954)
The Two Towers, part 2 of The Lord of the Rings (1954)
The Return of the King, part 3 of The Lord of the Rings (1955)
The Adventures of Tom Bombadil and Other Verses from the Red Book (1962) included in 'Tales from the Perilous Realm'
Tree and Leaf (1964)
Smith of Wootton Major (1967) included in 'Tales from the Perilous Realm'
Letters from Father Christmas (1976)
The silmarillion (1979)
Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-Earth(1980)
The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien (1981)
Mr. Bliss (1982)
Finn and Hengest : The Fragment and the Episode (1982)
The Monsters and the Critics (1983)
Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics (1983)
Bilbo's last song : at the Grey Havens (1992)
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl and Sir Orfeo translations by J.R.R. Tolkien
Tales from the Perilous Realm (1997)
The History of Middle-Earth series edited by Christopher Tolkien:
The Book of Lost Tales 1 (1983)
The Book of Lost Tales 2 (1984)
The Lays of Beleriand (1985)
The Shaping of Middle Earth (1986)
The Lost Road and Other Writings (1987)
The Return of the Shadow (The History of the Lord of the Rings, part one) (1988)
The Treason of Isengard (The History of the Lord of the Rings, part two) (1989)
The War of the Ring (The History of the Lord of the Rings, part three) (1990)
Sauron defeated (The History of the Lord of the Rings, part four) (1992)
Morgoth's Ring (The later Silmarillion, part one) (1993)
The war of the jewels (The later Silmarillion, part two) (1994)
The Peoples of Middle-earth (1996)
The Fellowship of the Ring
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkeness bind them
In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell into the hands of Bilbo Baggins, as told in "The Hobbit".
In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose.
The Two Towers
Frodo and his Companions of the Ring have been beset by danger during their quest to prevent the Ruling Ring from falling into the hands of the Dark Lord by destroying it in the Cracks of Doom. They have lost the wizard, Gandalf, in a battle in the Mines of Moria. And Boromir, seduced by the power of the Ring, tried to seize it by force. While Frodo and Sam made their escape, the rest of the company was attacked by Orcs. Now they continue the journey alone down the great River Anduin -- alone, that is, save for the mysterious creeping figure that follows wherever they go.
The Return of the King
"The Return of the King" is the third part of JRR Tolkien's epic masterpiece "The Lord of the Rings". The climactic volume of the trilogy, wherein the little hobbit and his trusty companions make a terrible journey to the heart of the land of the Shadow in a final reckoning with the power of Sauron. Impossible to describe in a few words, JRR Tolkien's great work of imaginative fiction has been labelled both a heroic romance and a classic fantasy fiction. By turns comic and homely, epic and diabolic, the narrative moves through countless changes of scene and character in an imaginary world which is totally convincing in its detail. Tolkien created a vast new mythology in an invented world which has proved timeless in its appeal.
The Hobbit or There and Back again
J.R.R. Tolkien's own description for the original edition: If you care for journeys there and back, out of the comfortable Western world, over the edge of the Wild, and home again, and can take an interest in a humble hero (blessed with a little wisdom and a little courage and considerable good luck), here is a record of such a journey and such a traveler. The period is the ancient time between the age of Faerie and the dominion of men, when the famous forest of Mirkwood was still standing, and the mountains were full of danger. In following the path of this humble adventurer, you will learn by the way (as he did) -- if you do not already know all about these things -- much about trolls, goblins, dwarves, and elves, and get some glimpses into the history and politics of a neglected but important period.
For Mr. Bilbo Baggins visited various notable persons; conversed with the dragon , Smaug the Magnificent; and was present, rather unwillingly, at the Battle of the Five Armies. This is all the more remarkable, since he was a hobbit. Hobbits have hitherto been passed over in history and legend, perhaps because they as a rule preferred comfort to excitement. But this account, based on his personal memoirs, of the one exciting year in the otherwise quiet life of Mr. Baggins will give you a fair idea of the estimable people now (it is said) becoming rather rare. They do not like noise.
The Adventures of Tom Bombadil and Other Verses from the Red Book
This adventure book tells of Tom's encounters with the River-woman's beautiful daughter, Old Man Willow, the Badger-folk, the ghostly Barrowwight, a lovely princess, trolls, dwarves, and legendary beasts. A delightful volume of 16 songs, rhymes and poems from the acclaimed The Hobbit.
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight / Pearl / Sir Orfeo
This is a translation of three medieval tales. "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" and "Pearl" are two poems by an unknown author written in about 1400. "Sir Gawain" is a romance, a fairy-tale for adults, full of life and colour; but it is also much more than this, being at the same time a powerful moral tale which examines religious and social values. It's Christmas at Camelot and King Arthur won't begin to feast until he has witnessed a marvel of chivalry. A mysterious knight, green from head to toe, rides in and brings the court's wait to an end with an implausible challenge to the Round Table: he will allow any of the knights to strike him once, with a battle-axe no less, on the condition that he is allowed to return the blow a year hence. At the centre of the story of the challenge and its consequences is Arthur's brave favourite, Sir Gawain. This 14th-century poem about a mysterious green knight in King Arthur's court tells of love and sex, honour and integrity, chivalry and magic, and above all right and wrong.
"Pearl" tells the story of a man who goes into a graveyard to mourn the death of his baby daughter, whom he has lost like a pearl that slipped through his fingers into the grass. Worn out by his grief, he falls asleep and has a glorious vision of another, symbolically bejewelled, world, in which he meets his daughter again and discovers what has happened to her. "Pearl" is apparently an elegy on the death of a child, a poem pervaded with a sense of great personal loss: but, like "Gawain" it is also a debate on much less tangible matters.
In "Sir Orfeo", a minstrel retells, this time with an English setting, the age-old story of the love of Orpheus for Eurydice, a love so strong that it overcame death. "Sir Orfeo" is a slighter romance, belonging to an earlier and different tradition. It was a special favourite of Tolkien's. The three translations represent the complete rhyme and alliterative schemes of the original.
Tree and Leaf
- On Fairy Stories
- Leaf by Niggle
- The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth
Fairy-stories are not just for children, as anyone who has read Tolkien will know. In his essay "On Fairy-Stories", Tolkien discusses the nature of fairy-tales and fantasy and rescues the genre from those who would relegate it to juvenilia. This is aptly and elegantly illustrated in the haunting short story, "Leaf by Niggle", which recounts the story of the artist, Niggle, who has 'a long journey to make' and is seen as an allegory of Tolkien's life. Written in the same period when 'The Lord of the Rings' was beginning to take shape, these two works show Tolkien's mastery and understanding of the art of subcreation, the power to give fantasy 'the inner conscience of reality'. This edition also contains an introduction by Christopher Tolkien together with the poem "Mythopoeia" which relates an argument between two unforgettable characters as they discuss the making of myths. It also contains the translation of Tolkien's account of the Battle of Maldon, known as "The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth". 'Tree and Leaf' is an eclectic, provocative and entertaining collection of works which reveals the diversity of J.R.R. Tolkien's imagination, and the breadth of his talent as a creator of fantastic fiction.
On Fairy-Stories, Tolkien's best-known non-fictional work, was given as an Andrew Lang lecture at the University of St. Andrews in 1939 and later published with "Leaf by Niggle" as Tree and Leaf in 1964. That version appears here. This is Tolkien's central work explaining and presenting his beliefs on the nature of fairy tale, its significance and origins and the extent to which it is misunderstood by modern critics. He covers much ground on the development of fairy stories (and fairies) in human understanding; the difference between fairy and folk tales; the "cauldron of soup" in which tales develop and re-develop; the misconception that fairy tales are mainly for children; the creation of secondary worlds; Escape, Recovery and Consolation and the reflection in sub-creation of the "Great Eucatastrophe", the resurrection of Christ, which for Tolkien as a devoted Christian was the happy ending that transcended and hallowed all mythic dreams of happy ending. Yet the bit we humans remember most often is the gift of transformation: "The mind that thought of light, heavy, grey, yellow, still, swift, also conceived of magic that would make heavy things light and able to fly, turn grey lead to yellow gold and the still rock into swift water ... in such 'fantasy' as it is called, new form is made; Faerie begins."
The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth
The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth is Professor Tolkien's dramatic poem, which takes up the story following the disastrous Battle of Maldon in 991, where the English Commander Beorhtnoth was killed. The night after the fight two servants of the the Duke come to the battlefield to retrieve their master's body. Searching amongst the slain they converse in unheroic terms, about the battle, their 'needlessly noble' master and the wastefulness of war. In an illuminating essay accompanying the poem Tolkien wrote of the complex motives that inspred Beorhtnoth's conduct at Maldon.
Tales from the Perilous Realm
- Farmer Giles of Ham
- The Adventures of Tom Bombadil
- Leaf by Niggle
- Smith of Wootton Major
'Tales from the Perilous Realm' is the definitive collection of Tolkien's four acclaimed modern classic 'fairie' tales in the vein of 'The Hobbit'. "Farmer Giles of Ham" is fat and unheroic, but -- having unwittingly managed to scare off a short-sighted giant -- is called upon to do battle when the dragon Chrysophylax comes to town. "The Adventures of Tom Bombadil" tells by way of verse of Tom's many adventures with hobbits, princesses, dwarves and trolls. "Leaf by Niggle" recounts the strange adventures of the painter Niggle who sets out to paint the perfect tree. "Smith of Wootton Major" journeys to the Land of Faery thanks to the magical ingredients of the Great Cake of the Feast of Good Children. The four tales are written with the same skill, quality and hallmarks that made Tolkien's Hobbit a classic. Largely overlooked because of their short lengths, they are finally together in a volume which reaffirms Tolkien's place as a master storyteller for readers young and old.
Smith of Wootton Major
Wootton Major, a village larger than Wootton Minor, has a regional tradition: The Feast of Good Children - also called 'The Twenty-Four Feast', because each twenty-four years, twenty-four good children are invited. The greatness of the Master Cook is staked upon the feast's Great Cake, prepared usually only once during his tenure. In this story something happens to a young boy, by the name of Smith Smithson, whose slice of the glorious confection contains more than the usual trinkets...
Farmer Giles of Ham
Farmer Giles was fat and enjoyed a slow, comfortable life. Then one day a giant blundered on to his land. Farmer Giles managed to scare him away and instantly became a hero. So it was natural that when the dragon Chrysophylax visited the area, it was Farmer Giles who was to do battle with it. New in paperback, the golden anniversary edition including a new introduction, a map, Tolkien's unpublished short story which he expanded for publication, his notes for a sequel, and the original first edition illustrations by Pauline Baynes. Farmer Giles of Ham did not look like a hero. He was fat and red-bearded and enjoyed a slow, comfortable life. Then one day a rather deaf and short-sighted giant blundered on to his land. More by luck than skill, Farmer Giles managed to scare him away. The people of the village cheered: Farmer Giles was a hero. His reputation spread far and wide across the kingdom. So it was natural that when the dragon Chrysophylax visited the area it was Farmer Giles who was expected to do battle with it!
Leaf by Niggle
Niggle is an artist who works to please himself, living in a society that holds art in little regard. His main project is painting a great Tree in the middle of a forest, taking great care to bring out the beauty of each individual leaf. Niggle takes time off from his work to aid his neighbor, a gardener named Parish who is lame and has a sick wife. On an errand for Parish, Niggle catches a sickness.
Eventually he is forced to take a trip that has been on his mind a good while. He is ill prepared for it (partly due to his illness) and ends up in an institution of sorts where he must labour each day. He is paroled and sent to work as a gardener in the country. He realizes that he is in fact working in the forest of his painting, but the Tree is the true realization of his vision, not the flawed version in his art. Niggle is reunited with Parish, and together they make the forest even more beautiful. Finally Niggle travels to the far reaches of the forest, to places on the fringe of his canvas.
J.R.R. Tolkien's 'Unfinished Tales' is a collection ranging from the time of 'The Silmarillion', the Elder Days of Middle-earth – to the end of the War of the Ring in The Lord of the Rings. Its many treasures include Gandalf's lively account of how he came to send the Dwarves to the celebrated party at Bag-End, the emergence of the sea-god Ulmo before the eyes of Tuor on the coast of Beleriand, and a description of the military organisation of the Riders of Rohan.
Lovers of Tolkien's mythology will also be fascinated to read the only story from the long ages of Numénor before its downfall, and all that is known of such matters as the Five Wizards, the Palantiri, and the legend of Amroth. The collection has been edited by Christopher Tolkien, who provides a commentary placing each of the Tales in the context of his father's work.
The Silmarillion is an account of the Elder Days, of the First Age of Tolkien’s world. It is the ancient drama to which the characters in The Lord of the Rings look back, and in whose events some of them such as Elrond and Galadriel took part. The tales of 'The Silmarillion' are set in an age when Morgoth, the first Dark Lord, dwelt in Middle-Earth, and the High Elves made war upon him for the recovery of the Silmarils, the jewels containing the pure light of Valinor. Included in the book are several shorter works. The Ainulindale is a myth of the Creation and in the Valaquenta the nature and powers of each of the gods is described. The Akallabeth recounts the downfall of the great island kingdom of Númenor at the end of the Second Age and Of the Rings of Power tells of the great events at the end of the Third Age, as narrated in 'The Lord of the Rings'.
While on holiday in 1925, four-year-old Michael Tolkien lost his beloved toy dog on the beach at Filey in Yorkshire. To console him, his father, J.R.R.Tolkien, improvised a story about Rover, a real dog who is magically transformed into a toy and is forced to seek out the wizard who wronged him in order to be returned to normal. This charming tale, peopled by a sand-sorcerer and a terrible dragon, by the king of the sea and the Man-in-the-Moon, went through several drafts over the years. Now, more than 70 years on, the adventures of Rover -- or, for reasons that become clear in the story, 'Roverandom' -- are published in A format for the first time. Rich in wit and wordplay, Roverandom is edited and introduced by Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond and includes Tolkien's own delightful illustrations.
Letters from Father Christmas
My dear children,
I am more shaky than usual this year. The North Polar Bear's fault. It was the biggest bang in the world, and the most monstrous firework there has ever been. It turned the North Pole black!
Can you imagine writing to Father Christmas and actually getting a reply?
For over twenty years, the children of J.R.R. Tolkien received letters from the North Pole – from Father Christmas himself! They told wonderful stories, of mischief and disaster, adventures and battles.
The Book of Lost Tales 1, The History of Middle Earth 1
The first of a two-book set that contains the early myths and legends which led to the writing of Tolkien's epic tale of war, 'The Silmarillion'. 'The Book of Lost Tales' stands at the beginning of the entire conception of Middle-earth and Valinor for the Tales were the first form of the myths and legends that came to be called 'The Silmarillion'. Embedded in English legend and English association, they are set in the narrative frame of a great westward voyage over the Ocean by a mariner named Eriol to the lonely Isle where the Elves dwelt; from them he learned their true history, the Lost Tales of Elfinesse. In the Tales are found the earliest accounts of Gods and Elves, Dwarves, Balrogs and Orcs; of the Silmarils and the Two Trees of Valinor; of the geography and cosmology of Tolkien's invented world.
The Book of Lost Tales 2, The History of Middle Earth 2
The second of a two-book set that contains the early myths and legends which led to the writing of Tolkien's epic tale of war, 'The Silmarillion'. This second part of 'The Book of Lost Tales' includes the tale of Beren and Luthien, Turin and the Dragon, and the only full narratives of the Necklace of the Dwarves and the Fall of Gondolin, itself the finest and most exciting depiction of a battle that Tolkien ever wrote. Each tale is followed by a commentary in the form of a short essay, together with texts of associated poems, and contains extensive information on names and vocabulary in the earliest Elvish languages.
Lays of Beleriand, The History of Middle Earth 3
The third volume that contains the early myths and legends which led to the writing of Tolkien's epic tale of war, 'The Silmarillion'. This, the third volume of 'The History of Middle-earth', gives us a priviledged insight into the creation of the mythology of Middle-earth, through the alliterative verse tales of two of the most crucial stories in Tolkien's world -- those of Turien and Luthien. The first of the poems is the unpublished 'Lay of The Children of Hurin', narrating on a grand scale the tragedy of Turin Turambar. The second is the moving 'Lay of Leithian', the chief source of the tale of Beren and Luthien in 'The Silmarillion', telling of the Quest of the Silmaril and the encounter with Morgoth in his subterranean fortress. Accompanying the poems are commentaries on the evolution of the history of the Elder Days. Also included is the notable criticism of 'The Lay of The Leithian' by CS Lewis, who read the poem in 1929.
The Shaping of Middle-Earth, The History of Middle Earth 4
The fourth volume that contains the early myths and legends which led to the writing of Tolkien's epic tale of war, 'The Silmarillion'. In this fourth volume of 'The History of Middle-earth', the shaping of the chronological and geographical structure of the legends of Middle-earth and Valinor is spread before us. We are introduced to the hitherto unknown Ambarkanta or "Shape of the World", the only account ever given of the nature of the imagined Universe, ccompanied by maps and diagrams of the world before and after the cataclyusms of 'The War of the Gods' and the 'Downfall of Numenor'. The first map of Beleriend is also reproduced and discussed. In 'The Annals of Valinor' and 'The Annals of Beleriend' we are shown how the chronology of the First Age was moulded: and the tale is told of Aelfwine, the Englishman who voyaged into the True West and came to Tol Eressea, Lonely Isle, where he learned the ancient history of Elves and Men. Also included are the original 'Silmarillion' of 1926, and the Quenta Noldorinwa of 1930 -- the only version of the myths and legends of the First Age that J R R Tolkien completed to their end.
The Return of the Shadow, The History of Middle-earth 6 (The History of The Lord of the Rings 1)
In this sixth volume of The History of Middle-earth the story reaches The Lord of the Rings. In The Return of the Shadow (an abandoned title for the first volume) Christopher Tolkien describes, with full citation of the earliest notes, outline plans, and narrative drafts, the intricate evolution of The Fellowship of the Ring and the gradual emergence of the conceptions that transformed what J.R.R. Tolkien for long believed would be a far shorter book, 'a sequel to The Hobbit'. The enlargement of Bilbo's 'magic ring' into the supremely potent and dangerous Ruling Ring of the Dark Lord is traced and the precise moment is seen when, in an astonishing and unforeseen leap in the earliest narrative, a Black Rider first rode into the Shire, his significance still unknown. The character of the hobbit called Trotter (afterwards Strider or Aragorn) is developed while his indentity remains an absolute puzzle, and the suspicion only very slowly becomes certainty that he must after all be a Man. The hobbits, Frodo's companions, undergo intricate permutations of name and personality, and other major figures appear in strange modes: a sinister Treebeard, in league with the Enemy, a ferocious and malevolent Farmer Maggot.
The story in this book ends at the point where J.R.R. Tolkien halted in the story for a long time, as the Company of the Ring, still lacking Legolas and Gimli, stood before the tomb of Balin in the Mines of Moria. The Return of the Shadow is illustrated with reproductions of the first maps and notable pages from the earliest manuscripts.
The Treason of Isengard, The History of Middle-earth 7 (The History of The Lord of the Rings 2)
The Treason of Isengard is the seventh volume in Christopher Tolkien's History of Middle-earth and the second in his account of the evolution of The Lord of the Rings. In this book, following the long halt in the darkness of the Mines of Moria with which The Return of the Shadow ended, is traced the great expansion of the tale into new lands and new peoples south and east of the Misty Mountains; the emergence of Lothlorien, of Ents, of the Riders of Rohan, and of Saruman the White in the fortress of Isengard.
In brief outlines and pencilled drafts dashed down on scraps of paper are seen the first entry of Galadriel, the earliest ideas of the history of Gondor, the original meeting of Aragorn and Eowyn, its significance destined to be wholly transformed. Conceptions of what lay ahead are seen dissolving as the story took its own paths, as in the account of the capture of Frodo and his rescue by Sam Gmgee from Minas Morgul, written long before J.R.R. Tolkien actually came to that point in the writing of The Lord of the Rings. A chief feature of the book is a full account of the original Map, with re-drawings of successive phases, which was long the basis and accompaniment of the emerging geography of Middle-earth. An appendix to the book describes the Runic alphabets as they were at that time, with illustrations of the forms and an analysis of the Runes used in the Book of Mazarbul found beside Balin's Tomb in Moria.
The War of the Ring, The History of Middle-earth 8 (The History of The Lord of the Rings 3)
In The War of the Ring Christopher Tolkien takes up the story of the writing of The Lord of the Rings with the Battle of Helm's Deep and the drowning of Isengard by the Ents. This is followed by an account of how Frodo, Sam and Gollum were finally brought to the Pass of Kirith Ungol, at which point J.R.R. Tolkien wrote at the time: 'I have got the hero into such a fix that not even an author will be able to extricate him without labour and difficulty'. Then comes the war in Gondor, and the book ends with the parley between Gandalf and the ambassador of the Dark Lord before the Black Gate of Mordor.
In describing his intentions for The Return of the King J.R.R. Tolkien said that 'It will probably work out very
differently from this plan when it really gets written, as the thing seems to write itself once it gets going'; and in The
War of the Ring totally unforeseen developmenst that would become central to the narrative are seen at the moment of their
emergence: the palantir bursting into fragments on the stairs of Orthanc, its nature as unknown to the author as to those
who saw it fall, or the entry of Faramir into the story ('I am sure I did not invent him, though I like him, but there he
came walking into the woods of Ithilien').
The book is illustrated with plans and drawings of the changing conceptions of Orthanc, Dunharrow, Minas Tirith and the tunnels of Shelob's Lair.
The Sauron Defeated, The History of Middle-earth 9 (The History of The Lord of the Rings 4)
In the first part of Sauron Defeated, Christopher Tolkien completes his account of the writing of The Lord of the Rings, beginning with Sam's rescue of Frodo from the Tower of Kirith Ungol, and giving a very different account of the Scouring of the Shire. This part ends with versions of the previously unpublished Epilogue, an alternate ending to the masterpiece in which Sam attempts to answer his children's questions years after the departure of Bilbo and Frodo from the Grey Havens. The second part introduces The Notion Club Papers, now published for the first time. Written by J.R.R. Tolkien in the interval between The Two Towers and The Return of the King (1945-1946), these mysterious Papers, discovered in the early years of the twenty-first century, report the discussions of a literary club in Oxford in the years 1986-1987. Those familiar with the Inklings will see a parallel with the group whose members included J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. After a discussion of the possiblities of travel through space and time through the medium of 'true dream," the story turns to the legend of Atlantis, the strange communications received by members of the club out of remote past, and the violent irruption of the legend into northwestern Europe. Closely associated with the Papers is a new version of the Numenorean legend, The Drowning of Anadune, which constitutes the third part of the book. At this time the language of the Men of the West, Adunaic, was first devised - Tolkien's fifteenth invented language. The book concludes with an elaborate account of the structure of this language by Arundel Lowdham, a member of the Notion Club, who learned it in his dreams. Sauron Defeated is illustrated with the changing conceptions of the fortress of Kirith Ungol and Mount Doom, previously unpublished drawings of Orthanc and Dunharrow, and fragments of manuscript written in Numenorean script.
Morgoth's Ring, The History of Middle-earth 10 (The Later Silmarillion 1)
In "Morgoth's Ring", the tenth volume of "The History of Middle-earth" and the first of two companion volumes, Christopher Tolkien describes and documents the legends of the Elder Days, as they were evolved and transformed by his father in the years before he completed The Lord of the Rings. The text of the Annals of Aman, the "Blessed Land" in the far West, is given in full. And in writings never before published, we can see the nature of the problems that J.R.R. Tolkien explored in his later years as new and radical ideas, portending upheaval in the heart of the mythology. At this time Tokien sought to redefine the old legends, and wrote of the nature and destiny of Elves, the idea of Elvish rebirth, the origins of the Orcs, and the Fall of Men. His meditation of mortality and immortality as represented in the lives of Men and Elves led to another major writing at this time, the "Debate of Finrod and Andreth," which is reproduced here in full. "Above all," Christopher Tolkien writes in his foreward, "the power and significance of Melkor-Morgoth...was enlarged to become the ground and source of the corruption of Arda." This book indeed is all about Morgoth. Incomparably greater than the power of Sauron, concentrated in the One Ring, Morgoth's power (Tolkien wrote) was dispersed into the very matter of Arda: "The whole of Middle-earth was Morgoth's Ring."
The War of the Jewels, The History of Middle-earth 11 (The Later Silmarillion 2)
In volumes ten and eleven of "The History of Middle-earth", Christopher Tolkien recounts from the original texts the evolution of his father's work on "The Silmarillion", the legendary history of the Elder Days or First Age, from the completion of the "Lord of the Rings" in 1949 until J.R.R. Tolkien's death. In volume ten, "Morgoth's Ring", the narrative was taken only as far as the natural dividing point in the work, when Morgoth destroyed the Trees of Light and fled from Valinor bearing the stolen Silmarils. In "The War of the Jewels", the story returns to Middle-earth and the ruinous conflict of the High Elves and the Men who were their allies with the power of the Dark Lord. With the publication in this book of all of J.R.R. Tolkien's later narrative writing concerned with the last centuries of the First Age, the long history of "The Silmarillion", from its beginnings in "The Book of Lost Tales", is completed; the enigmatic state of the work at his death can now be understood. A chief element in "The War of the Jewels" is a major story of Middle-earth, now published for the first time - a continuation of the great "saga" of Turin Turambar and his sister Nienor, the children of Hurin the Steadfast. This is the tale of the disaster that overtook the forest people of Brethil when Hurin came among them after his release from long years of captivity in Angband, the fortress of Morgoth. The uncompleted text of the Grey Annals, the primary record of "the War of the Jewels", is given in full; the geography of Beleriand is studied in detail, with redrawings of the final state of the map; and a long essay on the names and relations of all the peoples of Middle-earth shows more clearly than any writing yet published the close connection between the language and history in Tolkien's world. The text also provides new information, including some knowledge of the divine powers, the Valar.
The Peoples of Middle-Earth, The History of Middle-earth 12
Throughout this vast and intricate mythology, says Publishers Weekly, "one marvels anew at the depth, breadth, and persistence of J.R.R. Tolkien's labor. No one sympathetic to his aims, the invention of a secondary universe, will want to miss this chance to be present at the creation." In this capstone to that creation, we find the chronology of Middle-earth's later Ages, the Hobbit genealogies, and the Western language or Common Speech. These early essays show that Tolkien's fertile imagination was at work on Middle-earth's Second and Third Ages long before he explored them in the Appendices to The Lord of the Rings . Here too are valuable writings from Tolkien's last years: " The New Shadow," in Gondor of the Fourth Age, and" Tal-elmar," the tale of the coming of the Nœmen-rean ships.
The Monsters and the Critics, The Essays of J.R.R. Tolkien
- Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics
- On Translating Beowulf
- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
- On Fairy-Stories
- English and Welsh
- A Secret Vice
- Valedictory Address to the University of Oxford
The seven ‘essays’ by J.R.R. Tolkien assembled in this edition were with one exception delivered as general lectures on
particular occasions; and while they mostly arose out of Tolkien’s work in medieval literature, they are accessible to all.
Two of them are concerned with "Beowulf", including the well-known lecture whose title is taken for this book, and one
with "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight", given in the University of Glasgow in 1953.
Also included in this volume is the lecture "English and Welsh"; the "Valedictory Address to the University of Oxford" in 1959; and a paper on Invented Languages delivered in 1931, with exemplification from poems in the Elvish tongues. Most famous of all is "On Fairy-Stories", a discussion of the nature of fairy-tales and fantasy, which gives insight into Tolkien’s approach to the whole genre. The pieces in this collection cover a period of nearly thirty years, beginning six years before the publication of "The Hobbit", with a unique ‘academic’ lecture on his invention (calling it 'A Secret Vice') and concluding with his farewell to professorship, five years after the publication of 'The Lord of the Rings'.
English and Welsh
This paper was read in Oxford on 21 October 1955, the day after the publication of the long-awaited Return of the King, Tolkien's "large 'work' ... which contains, in the way of presentation that I find most natural, much of what I personally have received from the study of things Celtic." Much of the lecture is about the mutual influence of the English/Germanic language and the British/Welsh languages on place names and personal names, and on some of the intimate details of verb-formation. And here is the good tale of how the ancient Keltoi of the Greeks accidentally acquired a special relationship with the letter C thanks to the scholar William Salesbury, compiler of A Dictionary in Englyshe and Welshe for King Harry VIII. Tolkien also relates his personal response to languages and the special place among them of Welsh, his inspiration for Sindarin. "It is the native language," he says, "to which in unexplored desire we would still go home."
A Secret Vice
In this early essay (1931) Tolkien readers will recognise the combination of ready self-deprecation and unrepentant enthusiasm, to the degree of including substantial extracts of his elvish poetry (much earlier than those of "The Lord of the Rings"). The author capable of building towering mythologies on the foundations of his invented languages was clear-sighted and humorous enough to name one of his early creations Nevbosh - "new nonsense". Anyone who doubts the strength of his obsession with the beauty and mystery of word-sounds or the extent of its influence on his world-creation should read this and discover that it was more than a "mere pastime" but a need as profound as the need for music.
At Merton College, Oxford, in 1959, "I am now about 34 years behind", wrote Tolkien, of his (yet undelivered) Oxford inaugural lecture. " ... and I still have nothing special to say." True to form he delivers 16 pages illuminated by those 34 years on the importance of philology, the much-regretted split between the study of literature and language, and his long and devoted efforts to close that gap in his academic career. ("There was knifework, axe-work, out there between the barbed wire of Lang and Lit in days not so far back.") Hands up ex-students who recognise this: "Some take the chance of using much of their time in reading what they wish, with little reference to their supposed task ..." And loath to leave without a good quote, he gives us the lines from Anglo-Saxon Wanderer that lie behind the song of the Rohirrim: "Hwaer cwom mearh, hwaer cwom mago? ... genap under niht-helm, swa heo no waere!"
Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics
The most important essay in the history of Beowulf scholarship, J.R.R. Tolkien's "Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics" has, rightly, been much studied and discussed. But scholars of both Beowulf and Tolkien have to this point been unaware that Tolkien's essay was a redaction of a much longer and more substantial work, Beowulf and the Critics, which Tolkien wrote in the 1930s and probably delivered as a series of Oxford lectures. This critical edition of Beowulf and the Critics presents both unpublished versions of Tolkien's lecture ('A' and 'B'), each substantially different from the other and f rom the final, published essay. The edition includes a description of the manuscript, complete textual and explanatory notes, and a detailed critical introduction that explains the place of Tolkien's Anglo-Saxon scholarship both in the history of Beowulf scholarship and in literary history. Beowulf and the Critics will be of interest not only to Anglo-Saxonists, but also to scholars of Tolkien's works and general readers.
Finn and Hengest
Professor J.R.R.Tolkien is most widely known as the author of ''The Lord of the Rings, but he was also a distinguished scholar in the field of Mediaeval English language and literature. In Anglo-Saxon studies, his celebrated lecture "Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics" is widely recognized as a turning point in the criticism of the poem.
The story of Finn and Hengest, two fifth-century heroes in northern Europe, is told both in Beowulf and in a fragmentary Anglo-Saxon poem known as The Fight at Finnsburg, but so obscurely and allusively that its interpretation had been a matter of controversy for over 100 years. Bringing his unique combination of philological erudition and poetic imagination to the cask, however, Tolkien revealed a classic tragedy of divided loyalties, of vengeance, blood and death. The story has the added attraction that it describes the events immediately preceding the first Germanic invasion of Britain which was led by Hengest himself.
This book will appeal not only to students of Old English and all those interested in the history of northern Europe and Anglo-Saxon England, but also admirers of The Lord of the Rings who will be fascinated to see how Tolkien handled a story which he did not invent.