A Secret Vice: Tolkien on Invented Languages

A Secret Vice: Tolkien on Invented Languages

By: J. R. R. Tolkien
Edited by: Andrew Higgins, Dimitra Fimi
Foreword by: Andrew Higgins, Dimitra Fimi
Published by: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: 2016

View on Amazon View Kindle
Description

J.R.R. Tolkien's linguistic invention was a fundamental part of his artistic output, to the extent that later on in life he attributed the existence of his mythology to the desire to give his languages a home and peoples to speak them. As Tolkien puts it in ‘A Secret Vice’, ‘the making of language and mythology are related functions’’.

In the 1930s, Tolkien composed and delivered two lectures, in which he explored these two key elements of his sub-creative methodology. The second of these, the seminal Andrew Lang Lecture for 1938–9, ‘On Fairy-Stories’, which he delivered at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, is well known. But many years before, in 1931, Tolkien gave a talk to a literary society entitled ‘A Hobby for the Home’, where he unveiled for the first time to a listening public the art that he had both himself encountered and been involved with since his earliest childhood: ‘the construction of imaginary languages in full or outline for amusement’.

This talk would be edited by Christopher Tolkien for inclusion as ‘A Secret Vice’ in The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays and serves as the principal exposition of Tolkien’s art of inventing languages. This new critical edition, which includes previously unpublished notes and drafts by Tolkien connected with the essay, including his ‘Essay on Phonetic Symbolism’, goes some way towards re-opening the debate on the importance of linguistic invention in Tolkien’s mythology and the role of imaginary languages in fantasy literature.

From the dust jacket
Want more? Paid membership includes:
  • Time period, genre, location, reading level, full descriptions, content considerations, reprint information, and more
  • Search across our entire database of books
  • Lists of books by author and illustrator
  • Keep track of which books you already own from our database
  • Create a wish list of books you're searching for
  • Create your own custom lists of books from our database
Enter your email to receive our monthly newsletter, The Alexandrian Scribe

We will use your email in accordance with our privacy policy.