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Tolkien and the Study of His Sources

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Tolkien and the Study of His Sources: Critical Essays
Publication Information
AuthorEdited by Jason Fisher
ReleasedAugust 2011

Tolkien and the Study of His Sources: Critical Essays,[note 1] edited by Jason Fisher, is a collection of essays — dealing with source criticism — on J.R.R. Tolkien's works. The book was awarded the Mythopoeic Society's 2014 Mythopoeic Scholarship Award for Inklings Studies.[1]

Tolkien and the Study of His Sources includes "new primary material: quotations from a handful of previously unpublished letters[note 2] as well as from Tolkien’s unpublished lecture notes on the 'Legends of the Goths'".[2]


  • "Introduction: Why Source Criticism?" (Tom Shippey)
  • "Source Criticism: Background and Applications" (E.L. Risden)
  • "Tolkien and Source Criticism: Remarking and Remaking" (Jason Fisher)
  • "The Stones and the Book: Tolkien, Mesopotamia, and Biblical Mythopoeia" (Nicholas Birns)
  • "Sea Birds and Morning Stars: Ceyx, Alcyone, and the Many Metamorphoses of Eärendil and Elwing" (Kristine Larsen)
  • "'Byzantium, New Rome!': Goths, Langobards, and Byzantium in The Lord of the Rings" (Miryam Librán-Moreno)
  • "The Rohirrim: 'Anglo-Saxons on Horseback'? An Inquiry into Tolkien's Use of Sources" (Thomas Honegger)
  • "William Caxton's The Golden Legend as a Source for J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings" (Judy Ann Ford)
  • "She and Tolkien, Revisited" (John D. Rateliff)
  • "Reading John Buchan in Search of J.R.R. Tolkien" (Mark T. Hooker)
  • "Biography as Source: Niggles and Notions" (Diana Pavlac Glyer and Josh B. Long)

From the publisher

Over the past four decades, source criticism--the analysis of a writer's source material--has emerged as one of the most popular approaches in exploring the work of J.R.R. Tolkien. Since Tolkien drew from a wide range of disparate sources in the construction of his legendarium--The Book of Lost Tales, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings trilogy and beyond--an understanding of the sources Tolkien used, as well as how and why he incorporated them, can enhance readers' appreciation of his works. This compendium by leading Tolkien scholars describes the theory and methodology for proper source criticism of Tolkien's works and then provides practical demonstrations of the approach. Ranging widely across Tolkien's writings, as well as across the periods and genres from which he took inspiration, the essays provide the most balanced and comprehensive demonstration of Tolkien source criticism available.

Further reading

External links


  1. The title was first announced as "The Bones of the Ox": J.R.R. Tolkien and Source Criticism.
  2. Among these formerly unpublished letters, is a 1973 letter to Campbell.


  1. "Mythopoeic Awards: 2014 Winners Announced" dated 10 August 2014, Mythopoeic Society (accessed 13 August 2014)
  2. The Bones of the Ox at Lingwë (accessed 6 February 2011)
  3. "Tolkien and the Study of His Sources" at (accessed 2 June 2011)