Tolkien On Fairy-stories

From Tolkien Gateway
Tolkien On Fairy-stories
On Fairy-stories (expanded edition).jpg
AuthorJ.R.R. Tolkien
EditorVerlyn Flieger, Douglas A. Anderson
IllustratorJ.R.R. Tolkien (cover)
PublisherHarperCollins
Released1 July 2008
FormatHardcover
Pages320
ISBN0007244665

Tolkien On Fairy-stories is a book edited by Verlyn Flieger and Douglas A. Anderson, published in 2008. The work is an extended edition of J.R.R. Tolkien's essay On Fairy-stories, which explains Tolkien's philosophy on fantasy and thoughts on mythopoiesis.

Publication history[edit]

The essay first appeared in print, with some enhancement, in 1947, in Essays Presented to Charles Williams, compiled by C. S. Lewis. However it received little attention, and was out of print by 1955.[1][2]

On Fairy-Stories began to receive much more attention in 1964, when it was published in Tree and Leaf.[3] Since then Tree and Leaf has been reprinted several times, and On Fairy-Stories itself has been reprinted in other compilations of Tolkien's works, such as The Tolkien Reader in 1966 and The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays in 1983.

In 2008, expanded and commentated, it was published in its own volume.

Contents[edit]

This expanded edition includes:

  • The final published version of the essay.
  • Two manuscript versions of the essay.
  • Commentaries by the editors.
  • A history detailing the evolution of the essay.
  • Newspaper reports of the 1939 lecture.
  • A bibliography of works cited or consulted by Tolkien during his work on the essay.
Cover art

The front cover is a watercolor illustration by J.R.R. Tolkien, "The Shores of Faery", made in 1915.

From the publisher[edit]

‘On Fairy-stories’ comprises about 18,000 words. What is little-known is that when Tolkien expanded the essay in 1943, he wrote many more pages of his views that were originally condensed into or cut from the published version. An estimate is difficult, but these unpublished passages perhaps amount to half again as much writing as the essay itself. These passages contain important elaborations of his views on other writers, and their publication represents a significant addition to Tolkien studies. Included in this new critical study of the work are:

  • An introductory essay setting the stage for Tolkien's 1939 lecture (the origin of the essay) and placing it within a historical context.
  • A history of the writing of ‘On Fairy-stories’, beginning with coverage of the original lecture as delivered, and continuing through to first publication in 1947.
  • The essay proper as published in corrected form in Tree and Leaf (1964).
  • Commentary on the allusions in the text, and notes about the revisions Tolkien made to the text as published in Tree and Leaf.
  • Important material not included in the essay as published, with commentary by the editors.

Contained within ‘On Fairy-stories’ are the roots of the tree of tales that bore such glittering fruit in Tolkien's published and unpublished work. Here, at last, Flieger and Anderson reveal through literary archaeology the extraordinary genesis of this seminal work and discuss, in their engaging commentary, how what Tolkien discovered during the writing of the essay would shape his writing for the rest of his life.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References

  1. Hammond, Wayne G.; Scull, Christina, The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
  3. Hammond, Wayne G.; Scull, Christina, The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide
A J.R.R. Tolkien book guide
Books by Tolkien or based on his writings
Of Arda Authorized 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)
Fictions 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 Fragment and the Episode ·
Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary · The Monsters and the Critics, and Other Essays ·
Tolkien On Fairy-stories · A Secret Vice: Tolkien on Invented Languages
Other The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Books by other authors
Reference book The Complete Guide to Middle-earth
Scholarly books containing Tolkien's writings J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography · The Inklings · The Road to Middle-earth ·
A Question of Time · Tolkien and the Great War ·
The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion · The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide
Scholarly journal containing Tolkien's writings Tolkien Studies various issues
Other published works by Tolkien
Linguistic journals Vinyar Tengwar issues 1-50 · Parma Eldalamberon issues 1-22
Collections of artwork
and manuscripts
Pictures by J.R.R. Tolkien · 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 only includes the major published works, for the full bibliography of Tolkien, see here or here