The Monsters and the Critics
|The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays|
|Author||J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (editor)|
|Released||1983 (1st edition)|
Some of the essays included in The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays had been published before, while some appeared for the first time in print.
- Previously published:
- "Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics" (lecture delivered in 1936; published separately in 1937)
- "On Translating Beowulf" (published in 1940 as "Prefatory Remarks on Prose Translation of 'Beowulf'")
- "English and Welsh" (lecture delivered in 1955 and published in Angles and Britons: O'Donnell Lectures in 1963)
- "On Fairy-Stories" (lecture delivered in 1939 and published in Essays Presented to Charles Williams in 1947)
- Previously unpublished:
The book also contains a foreword by Christopher Tolkien.
Relation to the Legendarium
As these essays are of a scholarly nature, there are scarcely any direct references to the legendarium of Tolkien. However, the essay "A Secret Vice" contains a final section of Notes by Christopher Tolkien, where he points to references to The Book of Lost Tales and also reprints a later version of one of the Elvish poems, being "one of the major pieces of Quenya".
- 1983: The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays. London: George Allen & Unwin.
- 1984: The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
- 1997: The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays. HarperCollins. ISBN: 026110263X. Paperback, 256 pages.
From the cover/back
The seven 'essays' by J.R.R. Tolkien assembled in this new paperback 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.