Sub-creating Arda

From Tolkien Gateway
Sub-creating Arda
World-building in J.R.R. Tolkien's Works, its Precursors, and Legacies
EditorDimitra Fimi and Thomas Honegger
IllustratorJay Johnstone (cover art)
PublisherWalking Tree Publishers
Released25 February 2019
SeriesCormarë Series
Preceded byMusic in Tolkien's Work and Beyond
Followed by"Something Has Gone Crack"

Sub-creating Arda: World-building in J.R.R. Tolkien's Works, its Precursors, and Legacies is a collection of essays edited by Dimitra Fimi and Thomas Honegger. It was published as No. 40 in the Cormarë Series.


  • Introduction by Dimitra Fimi and Thomas Honegger
  • "Concerning the 'Sub' in 'Subcreation': The Act of Creating Under" by Mark J.P. Wolf
  • "One Pair of Eyes: Focalisation and Worldbuilding" by Allan Turner
  • "Worldbuilding and Mythopoeia in Tolkien and post-Tolkienian Fantasy Literature" by Massimiliano Izzo
  • "Beyond Fantastic Self-indulgence: Aesthetic Limits to World-building" by Péter Kristóf Makai
  • "Worldbuilding Design Patterns in the Works of J.R.R. Tolkien" by N. Trevor Brierly
  • "Ilu's Music: The Creation of Tolkien's Creation Myth" by John Garth
  • "On No Magic in Tolkien: Resisting the Representational Criteria of Realism" by Gergely Nagy
  • "Tolkien the Tinkerer: World-building versus Storytelling" by Renée Vink
  • "Composition as Exploration: Fictional Development in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings" by Jonathan Nauman
  • "Temporal Topographies: Mapping the Geological and Anthropological Effects of Time in J.R.R. Tolkien's Legendarium" by Anahit Behrooz
  • "Sundering Seas and Watchers in the Water: Water as a Subversive Element in Middle-earth" by Robin Markus Auer
  • "Lyrics on Lost Lands: Constructing Lost Places through Poetry in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings" by Michaela Hausmann
  • "Mountain People in Middle-earth: Ecology and the Primitive" by Hamish Williams
  • "Then Smaug Spoke: On Constructing the Fantastic via Dialogue in Tolkien's Story Cosmos" by Timo Lothmann, Arndt Heilmann, Sven Hintzen
  • "Artefacts and Immersion in the Worldbuilding of Tolkien and the Brontës" by Maureen F. Mann
  • "Sub-creation by any Other Name: The Artist and God in the Early Twentieth Century" by Bradford Lee Eden
  • "A Mythology for Poland: Andrzej Sapkowski's Witcher Fantasy Series as a Tolkienian Subcreation" by Kristine Larsen
  • "More than Narrative: The Role of Paratexts in the World-building of Austin Tappan Wright, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Ursula K. Le Guin" by Andrew Higgins
  • "The Faërie World of Michael Swanwick" by Tom Shippey
  • "Absence of gods vs. Absence of God: The Spiritual Landscapes of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth and George R.R. Martin's Westeros" by Łukasz Neubauer

From the publisher

World-building in J.R.R. Tolkien's Works, its Precursors, and Legacies J.R.R. Tolkien's literary cosmos may not be the most elaborate of the imaginary worlds in existence, it is certainly the most influential. The posthumous editorial work of Tolkien's son Christopher has also shown that Arda remains unrivalled in its consistency and complexity. Additionally, the re-publication of Tolkien's Andrew Lang lecture 'On Fairy-stories' (originally delivered 1939) and its interpretation within the discourse of literary fantasy has further strengthened his position as one of the foremost proponents of literary world-building or, as he himself preferred to call it, (literary) subcreation.
The contributions to this volume by Tom Shippey, John Garth, Mark J.P. Wolf, Kristine Larsen, Andrew Higgins, Allan Turner, Gergely Nagy, Renée Vink, and a dozen other scholars, discuss not only Tolkien's theoretical concepts as well as his literary work but also explore the relationship between Tolkien’s approach with that of other 'literary world-builders' whose imaginary worlds have attracted readers and scholars alike.

External links

Cormarë Series volumes
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