Tolkien's Lost Chaucer

From Tolkien Gateway
Tolkien's Lost Chaucer
Lost Chaucer.jpg
AuthorJohn M. Bowers
PublisherOxford University Press
Released10 October 2019

Tolkien's Lost Chaucer is a scholarly book by professor John M. Bowers, published in 2019 by Oxford University Press.

The book rediscovers and presents the many "lost" unpublished writings by J.R.R. Tolkien on his unfinished project "Clarendon Chaucer", or "Selections from Chaucer's Poetry and Prose".

The project was started in 1922 with Tolkien and George S. Gordon being the appointed editors, the aim was to produce a volume of selected works of Geoffrey Chaucer for the use of students in Oxford University. Tolkien, however, due to his obsession with minutiae, while compiling the notes and glossary for the book made them too long to be acceptable. Though requested to reduce them to a publishable length, Tolkien never managed to do so, and consequently the project was halted after 1928. And though small progress were still made after that, it was officially abandoned in 1951 when Tolkien regretfully returned all his material to OUP.[1]

As a result all Tolkien's material were left buried in the Oxford's archives, and remained unknown until very recent years. This present volume, hence, draws upon the Tolkien's annotated proofs of the Selections and its 160-page notes, as well as other unpublished writings, shows much of his thinking about language and storytelling, and how Chaucer was a major influence on Tolkien's literary works.

Contents[edit | edit source]

  • Acknowledgements
  • List of Illustrations
  • List of Abbreviation
  1. Prologue: Concerning Chaucer
  2. Unexpected Journeys
  3. Four Chaucerians: Walter W. Skeat, Kenneth Sisam,
    George S. Gordon, C. S. Lewis
  4. Tolkien as Editor: Text and Glossary
  5. The Chaucerian Incubus: The Notes
  6. Tolkien as a Chaucerian: The Reeve's Tale
  7. Chaucer in Middle-earth
  8. Coda: Fathers and Sons
  • Appendix I
  • Appendix II
  • Works Cited
  • Index

From the publisher[edit | edit source]

Tolkien's Lost Chaucer uncovers the story of an unpublished and previously unknown book by the author of The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien worked between 1922 and 1928 on his Clarendon edition Selections from Chaucer's Poetry and Prose, and though never completed, its 160 pages of commentary reveals much of his thinking about language and storytelling when he was still at the threshold of his career as an epoch-making writer of fantasy literature. Drawing upon other new materials such as his edition of the Reeve's Tale and his Oxford lectures on the Pardoner's Tale, this book reveals Chaucer as a major influence upon Tolkien's literary imagination.

External links[edit | edit source]


A J.R.R. Tolkien book guide
Books by or mainly by Tolkien
Of Arda Authored by
J.R.R. Tolkien
The Hobbit · The Lord of the Rings
(i.The Fellowship of the Ring · ii.The Two Towers · iii.The Return of the King) ·
The Road Goes Ever On · Bilbo's Last Song
Edited by Christopher Tolkien The Silmarillion · Unfinished Tales · The History of Middle-earth series
(i.The Book of Lost Tales: Part One · ii.The Book of Lost Tales: Part Two · iii.The Lays of Beleriand · iv.The Shaping of Middle-earth · v.The Lost Road and Other Writings · vi.The Return of the Shadow · vii.The Treason of Isengard · viii.The War of the Ring · ix.Sauron Defeated · x.Morgoth's Ring · xi.The War of the Jewels · xii.The Peoples of Middle-earth · Index) ·
The Children of Húrin · Beren and Lúthien · The Fall of Gondolin
Edited by others The Annotated Hobbit · The History of The Hobbit · The Nature of Middle-earth · The Fall of Númenor
Not of Arda Short stories
and poems
Leaf by Niggle · Farmer Giles of Ham · Smith of Wootton Major · The Adventures of Tom Bombadil ·
Letters from Father Christmas · Mr. Bliss · Roverandom ·
Tree and Leaf (compilation) · Tales from the Perilous Realm (compilation)
Fictional works The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún · The Fall of Arthur · The Story of Kullervo · The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun
Translations and academic works Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, and Sir Orfeo · Finn and Hengest ·
The Monsters and the Critics, and Other Essays · Beowulf and the Critics · Tolkien On Fairy-stories ·
Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary · A Secret Vice · The Battle of Maldon
Less known academic works A Middle English Vocabulary · Sir Gawain and the Green Knight · Ancrene Wisse · The Old English Exodus
Letters The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Books by other authors
Biographies J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography · The Inklings · Tolkien and the Great War
Reference works The Complete Guide to Middle-earth · The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide
Scholarly studies The Road to Middle-earth · The Keys of Middle-earth · The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion ·
The Ring of Words · A Companion to J.R.R. Tolkien · Tolkien's Lost Chaucer · Tolkien's Library
Scholarly journals Tolkien Studies · (The Chronology)
Other works by Tolkien
Linguistic journals Vinyar Tengwar various issues · Parma Eldalamberon issue 11-22
Collections of artwork
and manuscripts
Pictures by J.R.R. Tolkien · J.R.R. Tolkien: Life and Legend · J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator ·
The Art of The Hobbit · The Art of The Lord of the Rings · Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth ·
Tolkien: Treasures · J.R.R. Tolkien: The Art of the Manuscript
This list is only a selection of works, for a fuller bibliography of Tolkien see here or here. See also a timeline.