Tolkien Gateway


I was thinking of putting this into Category:Tolkien studies and have this category be for the academic study of the work of Tolkien. This would be different, but related to Tolkien Studies the annual journal devoted to Tolkien studies.

Category:Concepts I think is really a place to be concepts that are mentioned in his fictional works. This category falls under the larger Category:Arda which is about the fictional universe Tolkien created. Category:Tolkien studies would fall under Category:Real-world since it is a field of study in the real-world.

What is everyones opinion on this? --Pinkkeith 19:08, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

This article definately needs expansion. I agree on the Concepts category; Tolkien research needs an article of its own too. I've got a very brief outline of that in my head, but I don't think I have time to conjure up anything big. The question that needs to be asked, of course, is how does the legendarium relate to the canon? --Ederchil (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 20:14, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
I also agree. In-universe and Elvish concepts separated from literary real-world concepts. Sage 21:05, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
I believe that legendarium would refer to the actual body of texts that JRR Tolkien wrote while canon would refer to the interpretation of the work as set by Tolkien Enterprises. Personally, I think that JRR Tolkien would cringe at the use of the word canon since he was always rewriting his understand of his legendarium throughout his lifetime. I also don't think that Tolkien Enterprises address this notion as Paramount Pictures does with Star Trek. I think most of the canon notion is actually done by fans more than anything when it comes to Tolkien's lengendarium. --Pinkkeith 16:58, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
"Canon" is definately a fan-derived concept; Tolkien himself was apparently very fond of retconning stuff. Canon creates many problems (such as "published Sil" v. "HoMe X and XI", Hobbit-only mentions, et cetera). Legendarium is the cover all term for any text relating to Arda, distinguishing it from other fiction (Farmer Giles, Father Christmas Letters, Roverandom et cetera). -- Ederchil (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 17:43, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
I suppose we might reasonably define "the canon" (as a noun, there's the adjective canon ~ 'canonicity') as a subset of the legendarium (which is literally everything ever relating to Ea)... but what exactly constitutes that subset is much trickier. Anyway, I agree this is a critical article that is in need of attention. It should be a jumping-off point for everything this wiki has about what Tolkien called his "main mythology": a quasi-in-universe account of the major concepts (cosmology, ages, races, languages), how that's supposed to relate to our world, an account of the sources and how they fit together (there's canon again), the history of its development, and probably more things I haven't thought of. Basically I think that, perhaps with the exception of J.R.R. Tolkien (that's his name up there), this should be the most important article in the wiki. —Aulë the Smith (Tk·Cb) 19:56, 14 August 2010 (UTC)
May I give a reluctant and polite warning against Pinkkeith’s linking of canon with any interpretations by or licensed by Tolkien Enterprises, now Middle-earth Enterprises. I can understand that such a link might seem natural to those used to the concept of canon as commonly used in the world of tv serials and movie franchises, but it is totaly foreign to Tolkien fandom. When a tv series or movie franchise is an original creation, the limits of canon are naturally set by its producers, but is Tolkien’s creation and no-one else’s.
In Tolkien fandom, any discussion of canon can only be in terms of Tolkien’s own writings (whether or not posthumously edited and published by his son, by John D. Rateliff or by the editorial team). The movies licensed by Middle-earth Enterprises, whether Ralph Bakshi’s animated one or Peter Jackson’s live action ones, may show Middle-earth, but one of their own making, standing in an awkward relationship to the one descernible from Tolkien’s writings. They have no bearing on what, in the context of the legendarium, may or may not be canon.
Tolkien scholarship is reluctant to use the concept of canon, but will sometimes discuss its use in fandom. But e.g. Charles S. Noad’s article ‘On the Construction of “The Silmarillion”’ in Tolkien’s Legendarium is certainly setting parameters for a scholarly attempt at describing canon. — Mithrennaith 03:46, 27 May 2011 (UTC)

[edit] Roverandom

I removed "Roverandom (includes a piece of Valmaric script)" for the moment. Seems like the piece was only included in JRRT: Artist and Ilustrator, and not in Roverandom proper. I'll check my copies later. --Morgan 07:23, 23 May 2010 (UTC)

[edit] Scope

After looking into it a little (or maybe a little too much) I'm now not sure what the scope of 'legendarium' really should be. The Wikipedia article is adamant that Tolkien's legendarium is only the stuff from the Elder Days, and others references Tolkien as well as 'Tolkien scholars' including CJRT using it as such. I think that article is a little disingenuous though. The 'scholars' aren't half as strict in their usage as it implies. From what I can Tolkien actually uses it, along with mythology, quite straightforwardly as "a collection of legends" (and a "collection of myth", respectively). When he talks about his legendarium he is usually referring to the Silmarillion, but not exclusively. A few times he uses legendarium to mean everything but LotR, i.e. the stuff that forms the "impression of depth". CJRT refers to the Silmarillion as the 'primary legendarium' in HoME, at the same time reflecting Wikipedia's usage but implying there are secondary and tertiary legendariums. Clearly common usage on this wiki up til now, and I think among the 'fandom' generally, is that legendarium=everything. I would like us to use it that way, there certainly aren't many alternative terms that are as useful, but can we claim to be following Tolkien in that? —Aulë the Smith (Tk·Cb) 21:17, 14 August 2010 (UTC)

I still stand by my earlier thought that legendarium refers to the actual body of texts that Tolkien wrote that center around the world of Arda. I think that in Letter 163 of The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien he mentions that The Lord of the Rings is part of the lengendarium. I do agree that this article does need to be expanded and for all view points to be represented in it. -- User:Pinkkeith 20 October 2010
I agree with Pinkkeith on this point, like in many things Tolkien was not consistent in his usage, but in Letter 163 he certainly explicitly stated that The Lord of the Rings is part of the legendarium, also in Letter 153 he clearly hints at the same. Similar use of the term mythology can also be found, e.g. in Letter 181 and Letter 229. It is also certainly the sense in which legendarium is used, not only by fandom, but also in the field of Tolkien studies.
The volume Tolkien’s Legendarium uses the term in this sense in its title, and in its Introduction Verlyn Flieger and Carl F. Hostetter use it as apparently synonymous with “J.R.R. Tolkien’s invented mythology”, stating that “the story of Frodo and the Ring was in fact only one story (albeit an important one) in a wider collection of mythological and heroic tales” and quoting Tolkien’s own description as “a body of more or less connected legend, ranging from the large and cosmogonic, to the level of romantic fairy-story”. That quote comes from Letter 131, and in that letter also he clearly states that everything, from Ainulindalë to The Lord of the Rings (and one may presume beyond) belongs to one great cycle. So when we continue to use the term legendarium to refer to that cycle of “more or less connected legend”, as we have done, we are in good and knowledgeable company. — Mithrennaith 03:11, 27 May 2011 (UTC)

[edit] Capital letter

Even though Tolkien wrote about "his legendarium" or "a legendarium", we as readers always talk about "the Legendarium", so I guess it is fine to have it always capitalized.--LorenzoCB 12:41, 25 March 2020 (UTC)