- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins; First Edition edition (1 July 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0007244665
- ISBN-13: 978-0007244669
- Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 3 x 22.2 cm
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,710,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Tolkien On Fairy-Stories Hardcover – 1 Jul 2008
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A new expanded edition of Tolkien's most famous, and most important essay, which defined his conception of fantasy as a literary form, and which led to the writing of The Lord of the Rings. Accompanied by a critical study of the history and writing of the text. J.R.R. Tolkien's "On Fairy-stories" is his most-studied and most-quoted essay, an exemplary personal statement of his views on the role of imagination in literature, and an intellectual tour de force vital for understanding Tolkien's achievement in the writing of The Lord of the Rings. "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 An estimate is difficult, but these unpublished passages perhaps amount to half again as much writing as the essay itself.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within "On Fairy-stories" are the roots of the tree of tales that bore such glittering fruit in Tolkien's published and unpublished work.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.
About the Author
Verlyn Flieger and Douglas A. Anderson are both well-known Tolkien scholars, co-founders (with Michael Drout) of Tolkien Studies. Flieger's most recent books include Interrupted Music: The Making of Tolkien's Mythology (2005) and the Extended Edition of Smith of Wootton Major (HarperCollins UK, 2005). Anderson's most recent books include The Annotated Hobbit (HarperCollins UK, 2003) and the anthology Tales before Tolkien: The Roots of Modern Fantasy (Ballantine US, 2003; mass market edition 2005).
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Even more interesting, and surely new to many, is the way the development of 'On Fairy-Stories' interleaves with that of 'The Lord of the Rings' itself. Two key ideas prove to have been added during a mid-War hiatus in the composition of the latter: the definitive concept of Fantasy with its all-important "inner consistency", and the "Elvish craft" of Enchantment. This aspect, above all, makes 'Tolkien on Fairy-stories' an essential resource in studying the ideas so magnificently embodied. The editors deserve our thanks for the very thorough and competent job they have done in making these materials available.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I almost rated this four stars: the volume would certainly be that if used and clean. But clipped signatures mean that only glue on the edge of each page holds it in the book. I'm not a book collector, but a fairy tale and Tolkien scholar, and for a critical edition of "On Fairy Stories," I expect more. I expect a library-quality volume or nearly so: certainly one that will last through continual use: the thing isn't meant to look pretty on a shelf or for later resale at a much higher price: I mean to use it in my current and future research. When pages begin falling out of this one, I shall repurchase it as a paperback. Disappointing and/or disheartening quality of production, and needlessly so at that: which cost the book two stars in my rating.
In 1939 JRR Tolkien was invited to take part in a series of lectures designed to honor Andrew Lang. Tolkien chose to speak on Fairy Stories. His lecture explored the nature of fantasy and of what was, and more importantly was not, essential to the Art and Literature of Faery.
The heart of this work is the lecture itself, extensively annotated with fascinating notes. The lecture has been published in The Tolkien Reader and in Tales From The Perilous Realm, but this is the definitive, corrected version. The editors have also provided us with much material that Tolkien considered and then rewrote or rejected completely. Faithful Tolkien readers will find much that echoes and amplifies themes in his published works. Thus it is an essential addition to their libraries.