Studies on Tolkien

The field of Tolkien studies is ‘deep and wide’. This section provides a survey of the key scholarly works written in French and English as well as some essays reflecting on his artwork, the importance of nature, the difficulties of translation and the experience of reading Tolkien.

David Bratman, ‘Studies in English on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien’

David Bratman, independent library consultant, selects the key reference works in English, published up to 2007.

Studies in French on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien

A survey of the first fifty years of French scholarship and studies on J.R.R. Tolkien, following the publication of The Lord of the Rings in 1954 up to 2004, with a postscript on some works published in the last decade.

Christina Scull & Wayne G. Hammond, ‘Tolkien’s Art’

Scull and Hammond have published extensively on Tolkien’s art and can easily be considered the experts on his attainments as a visual artist. This brief survey covers the full range of his pictorial art, from his early visionary art, to his illustrations for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and his love of patterns and lettering.

Patrick Curry, ‘Tolkien and Nature’

Patrick Curry explores Tolkien’s deep feeling for nature, how this transpires in his work, its relevance in our modern world and the ecological challenges that we face every day.

Vincent Ferré, Daniel Lauzon and David Riggs, ‘Translating Tolkien’

Vincent Ferré, in charge of the translation into French of Tolkien’s works for Christian Bourgois éditeur, describes – in collaboration with Daniel Lauzon and David Riggs – the peculiar difficulties that arise in the attempt to translate Tolkien’s works, and the complexities that attend a French translation in particular.

Christian Bourgois, ‘Publishing Tolkien in France’

In this interview (2003), the late Christian Bourgois explains why he published the first French translation of The Lord of the Rings, in 1972, when Tolkien was still little known in France.

Maxime Hortense Pascal, ‘Reading J.R.R. Tolkien’

Maxime Hortense Pascal, novelist and poet, presents a personal and poetic interpretation of the profound effect of J.R.R. Tolkien’s work on the reader; shining an oblique light on the relation between readers and the act of reading, writers and the act of writing.




Tolkien was an accomplished amateur artist who painted for pleasure and relaxation. He excelled at landscapes and often drew inspiration from his own stories. 


Tolkien was a professor at the University of Leeds and later at the University of Oxford where he taught Old English, Middle English, Old Norse, Gothic, Medieval Welsh and Germanic philology. 


Tolkien began inventing languages as a child and continued to do so throughout his life. The languages he created underpin his literary work and were crucial in making his secondary world coherent and believable.