Leaf by Niggle
|Leaf by Niggle|
|Released||28 July 2016|
Leaf by Niggle is very much an allegory of Tolkien's own creative process, and, to an extent, of his own life. Although Tolkien actively defended against being allegorical. He admitted having been just that in Leaf by Niggle in a letter to Caroline Everett (24 June 1957):
"I should say that, in addition to my tree-love (it was originally called The Tree), it arose from my own pre-occupation with the Lord of the Rings, the knowledge that it would be finished in great detail or not at all, and the fear (near certainty) that it would be 'not at all'. The war had arisen to darken all horizons. But no such analyses are a complete explanation even of a short story..."
Niggle is an artists who paints to please himself, living in a society that holds art in little regard. His main occupation is a huge painting of great tree. He started with one single leaf and the painting grows around it. Niggle hopes to draw every leaf in detail. Soon Niggle finds birds in the trees, hills that are visible true the branches. And so the painting grows and takes up all time from the painter. Niggle takes time off from his work, because of politeness, to aid his neighbor, a gardener named Parish who is lame and has a sick wife. In the process of helping Niggle catches a sickness.
Then he is forced to take a trip, but was 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, his neighbour, 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.
 Publication history and gallery
- Burns, Oates & Washbourne Ltd. paperback (1945)
- The Trinity Forum paperpback (2003) ISSN 1062-2527
- HarperCollins paperback (2016), pp. 64. ISBN 0008205531
 See also
- Leaf by Niggle by Priscilla Tolkien at tolkienestate.com
- Leaf by Niggle - a symbolic story about a small painter
- The Workhouse - Tolkien's Purgatory, discussion of Leaf by Niggle at The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum
- “Leaf by Niggle” to be published in its own volume' (announcement by The Tolkien Society)
- ↑ Interesting eBay Auctions (accessed 12 June 2022)
- ↑ Leaf by Niggle - a symbolic story about a small painter (accessed 12 June 2022)
|Tales from the Perilous Realm|
|Farmer Giles of Ham · The Adventures of Tom Bombadil · Leaf by Niggle · Smith of Wootton Major|
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