The Monsters and the Critics, and Other Essays (Advance Uncorrected Proof)
J.R.R. Tolkien; edited by Christopher Tolkien
Published Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1983
This Book is in Near Fine Condition. 240 pp.
Pages remain clean and unmarked; spine, uncreased. Just some smudges on the paper cover, rest fine.
The Monsters and the Critics, and Other Essays is a collection of J.R.R. Tolkien's scholarly linguistic essays and lectures. The book was edited by Christopher Tolkien and published posthumously in 1983.
All of them were initially delivered as lectures to academics, with the exception of On Translating Beowulf, which Christopher Tolkien notes in his foreword is not addressed to an academic audience.
The essays are:
"Beowulf: the Monsters and the Critics" looks at the critics' understanding of Beowulf, and proposes instead a fresh take on the poem.
"On Translating Beowulf" looks at the difficulties in translating the poem from Old English.
"On Fairy-Stories," the 1939 Andrew Lang lecture at St Andrew's University, is a defence of the fantasy genre.
"A Secret Vice" talks about creating imaginary languages, giving background to Tolkien's Quenya and Sindarin.
"Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" is a study of the medieval poem of the same name.
"English and Welsh," the inaugural O'Donnell Memorial Lecture (1955), is a survey of the historical relationship between the two tongues, including an analysis of the word Welsh.
"Valedictory Address to the University of Oxford", given upon his retirement in 1959.
From the Publisher: The seven 'essays' by J.R.R. Tolkien assembled in this new paperback edition were with one exception delivered as general lectures on particular occasions; and while they mostly arose out of Tolkien's work in medieval literature, they are accessible to all. Two of them are concerned with Beowulf, including the well-known lecture whose title is taken for this book, and one with Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, given in the University of Glasgow in 1953.
Also included in this volume is the lecture English and Welsh; the Valedictory Address to the University of Oxford in 1959; and a paper on Invented Languages delivered in 1931, with exemplification from poems in the Elvish tongues. Most famous of all is On Fairy-Stories, a discussion of the nature of fairy-tales and fantasy, which gives insight into Tolkien's approach to the whole genre.
The pieces in this collection cover a period of nearly thirty years, beginning six years before the publication of The Hobbit, with a unique 'academic' lecture on his invention (calling it A Secret Vice) and concluding with his farewell to professorship, five years after the publication of The Lord of the Rings.
A phenomenal adjunct to any Tolkien collection.
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