The range of Tolkien’s literary work may surprise those who have only read The Lord of the Rings. In addition to the vast body of work related to his legendarium, he also wrote stories for children; comic and elegiac tales set on the borders of faery; poetry and re-tellings of northern myth and legends.
‘The Hall at Bag-End, Residence of B. Baggins, Esquire’
‘In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.’
The Hobbit, ch. 1
Draft dust jacket design for The Fellowship of the Ring
THE LORD OF THE RINGS
‘One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them’
The Lord of the Rings, Book I, ch. 2
‘Tanaqui’, the city of the Elves in Valinor
‘The Silmarillion is the history of the War of the Exiled Elves against the Enemy, which all takes place in the North-west of the world (Middle-earth). Several tales of victory and tragedy are caught up in it; but it ends with catastrophe, and the passing of the Ancient World, the world of the long First Age.’
Letter from Tolkien to Milton Waldman, 1951
‘Beleg finds Flinding in Taur-na-Fúin’
Other stories from Middle-earth
‘The song I can sing is but shreds one remembers
Of golden imaginings fashioned in sleep,
A whispered tale told by the withering embers
Of old things far off that but few hearts keep.’
‘The Bidding of the Minstrel’, The Book of Lost Tales, II, p. 271
Content to follow
The Fall of Gondolin
‘House where Rover began his adventures as a toy‘
STORIES FOR CHILDREN
‘I had the habit while my children were still young of inventing and telling orally, sometimes of writing down, “children’s stories” for their private amusement … The Hobbit was intended to be one of them.’ Amongst these tales, created for his own children, are Roverandom, Mr. Bliss and Letters from Father Christmas.
In a letter to the publisher Milton Waldman, Tolkien described his passion for ‘myth (not allegory!) and for fairy-story, and above all for heroic legend on the brink of fairy-tale and history, of which there is far too little in the world’. This passion is clear in his literary work which ranges from tales of faerie and fantasy to re-tellings of myths and legends.
‘Ilu – The World: from Númen (West) to Rómen (East)’
Studies on Tolkien
The field of Tolkien studies is ‘deep and wide’. This section provides a survey of the key scholarly works written in English, French and Spanish as well as some essays reflecting on Tolkien’s artwork, the importance of nature, the difficulties of translation and the experience of reading Tolkien.