I thought it might be fun to see an example of Tolkien criticism over a longer period - so here is a publication from each of the 20 years from 1954 to 1973:

1954 - Review of FOTR in Country Life - Howard Spring - "There has been some foolish correspondence in the Press of late, advancing the opinion that the day of creative fiction is done with and that we must content ourselves with the sere grubbing of scholarly research. Well, here’s an answer. If this is not a fine work of literary creation in our own day, I don’t know one."

1955 - Review of FOTR in Saturday Review - Louis J. Halle - "The scientific historians are bound to point out that [the] Hobbit chronicles...must be rejected on the grounds that they have nowhere been corroborated in the chronicles of Men (let alone Elves). Students who recognize that history is a branch of literature, however, will take a different view."

1956 - Review of ROTK in The Month - Derek Traversi - "It is doubtful...whether the conditions which made such an achievement possible can be reproduced, or whether the work itself can serve as a model for future literary creations."

1957 - A short biographical sketch of Tolkien appeared in the Wilson Library Bulletin.


1958 - Anthony Boucher notes a report from Allen & Unwin that Tolkien is "working as best he can on The Silmarillion, which might best be desribed as the source book for The Lord of the Rings. We cannot hold out any hope that it will be published this year."

1959 - Critique - containing the essay "Ethical Pattern in The Lord of the Rings" by Patricia M. Spacks.

1960 - Okay so this is a bit of a stretch, but this issue of the SF Times refers to a raffle prize at PITTCON in Pittsburgh being all 3 volumes of LOTR plus The Hobbit and FGH – all contributed ”by a BNF” (explained as a ”Big Name Fan”).

1961 - The excellent essay "There And Back Again" by W. R. Irwin on the work of Tolkien, Lewis and Williams.


1962 - A review of ATB in the BBC magazine The Listener - "In The Adventures of Tom Bombadil the talent can be seen to be something close to genius. In a period when poets and critics talk much of technique, the poem ’Errantry’, for instance, should be much admired."

1963 - A brief review in Notes and Queries of Tolkien's edition of "The English Text of the Ancrene Riwle: Ancrene Wisse."

1964 - Another essay looking at Tolkien, Lewis and Williams, this time by Roger Sale under the name "England's Parnassus" and appearing in The Hudson Review.

1965 - Loren Eiseley reviews Tree and Leaf for The Horn Book (with comment too on LOTR).


1966 - Peter Beagle's article in Holiday magazine entitled "Tolkien's Magic Ring" - this would be reprinted in The Tolkien Reader.

1967 - An essay on Tolkien's work by Samuel H. Woods Jr. in the first issue of The Cimarron Review.

1968 - Auden's essay "Good and Evil in The Lord of the Rings" in Critical Quarterly.

1969 - The notable inclusion of Tolkien in the series "Columbia Essays on Modern Writers" - though Catherine Stimpson is far from complimentary.


1970 - Bruce Beatie writes about "The Tolkien Phenomenon" for the Journal of Popular Culture.

1971 - A fairly scathing examination of Tolkien by M. John Harrison under the name "By Tennyson out of Disney" appeared in the collection New Worlds 2.

1972 - The special issue of the Tolkien Journal published to commemorate his 80th birthday.

1973 - Mythlore #9.