The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays

The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays

By: J. R. R. Tolkien
Edited by: Christopher Tolkien
Foreword by: Christopher Tolkien
Published by: Allen & Unwin
Publication Date: 1983

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During the course of his long life, Tolkien wrote a number of essays on philological and philosophical subjects, most of which were presented as formal lectures and some of which have appeared in scholarly journals. Although they were written with a primarily academic audience in mind, Tolkien could never confine his enthusiasm and warmth to a narrow or abstract treatment of whatever topic he was considering.

The result, therefore, is a lively and challenging collection of pieces dealing for the most part with medieval literature but including such topics as the invention of languages (his "secret vice"), the justification of fairy stories, and the tandem development of the English and Welsh languages. The book closes with Tolkien's farewell to professorship five years after the publication of The Lord of the Rings.

All of the essays have something to offer even the nonspecialist, but perhaps the most engaging is "Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics."

From the dust jacket of the first American edition
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