Short works

Other information

Books : reviews

J. R. R. Tolkien.
The Hobbit.

rating : 2 : great stuff

J. R. R. Tolkien.
Farmer Giles of Ham, etc.


Farmer Giles of Ham. 1949
The Adventures of Tom Bombadil. 1961

J. R. R. Tolkien.
Tree and Leaf, etc.


On Fairy Stories. 1947
[Lecture 1939, enlarged for publication 1947]
Also printed in The Monsters and the Critics, there with the corrected lecture date.

Leaf by Niggle. 1947
Smith of Wootton Major. 1967
The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm's Son. 1975

J. R. R. Tolkien.
The Silmarillion.

J. R. R. Tolkien.
Unfinished Tales: of Numenor and Middle-earth.


Of Tuor and His Coming to Gondolin. 1980
Narn I Hin Hurin. 1980
A Description of the Island of Numenor. 1980
Aldarion and Erendis. 1980
The Line of Elros: Kings or Numenor. 1980
The History of Galadriel and Celeborn. 1980
The Disaster of the Gladden Fields. 1980
Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan. 1980
The Quest of Erebor. 1980
The Hunt for the Ring. 1980
The Battles of the Fords of Isen. 1980
The Druedain. 1980
The Istari. 1980
The Palantiri. 1980

J. R. R. Tolkien.
The Monsters and the Critics and other essays.

(read but not reviewed)

Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics. Lecture, 25 November 1936.

On Translating Beowulf. 1940.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Lecture, 15 April 1953.

On Fairy-Stories. Lecture, 8 March 1939, enlarged for publication 1947.

I have claimed that Escape is one of the main functions of fairy-stories, and since I do not disapprove of them, it is plain that I do not accept the tone of scorn or pity with which "Escape" is now so often used: a tone for which the uses of the word outside literary criticism give no warrant at all. In what the misusers are fond of calling Real Life, Escape is evidently as a rule very practical, and may even be heroic. In real life it is difficult to blame it, unless it fails; in criticism it would seem to be the worse the better it succeeds. Evidently we are faced by a misuse of words, and also by a confusion of thought. Why should a man be scorned, if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if, when he cannot do so, he thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison-walls? The world outside has not become less real because the prisoner cannot see it. In using Escape in this way the critics have chosen the wrong word, and, what is more, they are confusing, not always by sincere error, the Escape of the Prisoner with the Flight of the Deserter. Just so a Party-spokesman might have labelled departure from the misery of the Fürher's or any other Reich and even criticism of it as treachery. In the same way these critics, to make confusion worse, and so to bring into contempt their opponents, stick their label of scorn not only on to Desertion, but on to real Escape, and what are often its companions, Disgust, Anger, Condemnation, and Revolt. Not only do they confound the escape of the prisoner with the flight of the deserter; but they would seem to prefer the acquiescence of the 'quisling' to the resistance of the patriot. To such thinking you have only to say 'the land you loved is doomed' to excuse any treachery, indeed to glorify it.

English and Welsh. Lecture, 21 October 1955.

Most English-speaking people, for instance, will admit that cellar door is 'beautiful', especially if dissociated from its sense (and from its spelling). More beautiful than, say, sky, and far more beautiful than beautiful. Well then, in Welsh for me cellar doors are extraordinarily frequent, and moving to the higher dimension, the words in which there is pleasure in the contemplation of the association of form and sense are abundant.

A Secret Vice. Lecture, 1931.

The man next to me said suddenly in a dreamy voice: 'Yes, I think I shall express the accusative case by a prefix!'

Valedictory Address. Lecture, 5 June 1959.

The Lord of the Rings (series)

Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
    Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
    One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
    One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
    One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

J. R. R. Tolkien.
The Fellowship of the Ring.
Allen & Unwin. 1954

rating : 1 : unmissable

p7. Other arrangements could be devised according to the tastes or views of those who like allegory or topical reference. But I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence. I much prefer history, true or feigned, with its varied applicability to the thought and experience of readers. I think that many confuse 'applicability' with 'allegory'; but the one resides in the freedom of the reader, and the other in the purposed domination of the author.

J. R. R. Tolkien.
The Two Towers.
Allen & Unwin. 1954

rating : 1 : unmissable

J. R. R. Tolkien.
The Return of the King.
Allen & Unwin. 1955

rating : 1 : unmissable