Verlyn Flieger - There Would Always Be a Fairy Tale: More Essays on Tolkien On December 17th, Kent State University Press is releasing a new collection of essays from noted Tolkien scholar Verlyn Flieger. http://www.kentstateuniversitypress.c ... always-be-a-fairy-tale-2/
Devoted to Tolkien, the teller of tales and co-creator of the myths they brush against, these essays focus on his lifelong interest in and engagement with fairy stories, the special world that he called faërie, a world they both create and inhabit, and with the elements that make that world the special place it is. They cover a range of subjects, from The Hobbit to The Lord of the Rings and their place within the legendarium he called the Silmarillion to shorter works like “The Story of Kullervo” and “Smith of Wootton Major.” From the pen of eminent Tolkien scholar Verlyn Flieger, the individual essays in this collection were written over a span of twenty years, each written to fit the parameters of a conference, an anthology, or both. They are revised slightly from their original versions to eliminate repetition and bring them up to date. Grouped loosely by theme, they present an unpatterned mosaic, depicting topics from myth to truth, from social manners to moral behavior, from textual history to the micro particles of Middle-earth. Together these essays present a complete picture of a man as complicated as the books that bear his name―an independent and unorthodox thinker who was both a believer and a doubter able to maintain conflicting ideas in tension, a teller of tales both romantic and bitter, hopeful and pessimistic, in equal parts tragic and comedic. A man whose work does not seek for right or wrong answers so much as a way to accommodate both; a man of antitheses. Scholars of fantasy literature generally and of Tolkien particularly will find much of value in this insightful collection by a seasoned explorer of Tolkien’s world of faërie.
Paperback: 280 pages Publisher: The Kent State University Press Release Date: December 17, 2017 MSRP: $24.95 ISBN: 160635308X / 978-1606353080
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Style, Usage, and Abbreviations xiii
  • Note to the Reader xvii
  • Part One: “A Perilous Land”: Defining Faërie 1
  • “There Would Always Be a ‘Fairy-tale’”: J. R. R. Tolkien and the Folklore Controversy 5
  • But What Did He Really Mean? 17
  • Re-creating Reality 32
  • War, Death, and Fairy Stories in the Work of J. R. R. Tolkien 49
  • Eucatastrophe and the Dark 59
  • Part Two: “Faërie Begins”: The Nuts and Bolts of Sub-creation 67
  • Words and World-making: The Particle Physics of Middle-earth 71
  • Myth, History, and Time-travel: The Lost Road and The Notion Club Papers 76
  • Politically Incorrect Tolkien 90
  • The Jewels, the Stone, the Ring, and the Making of Meaning 100
  • Making Choices: Moral Ambiguity in Tolkien’s Major Fiction 113
  • Part Three: “Arresting Strangeness”: Making It Different 125
  • The Forests and the Trees: Sal and Ian in Faërie 129
  • How Trees Behave—Or Do They? 145
  • Myth and Truth in Tolkien’s Legendarium 157
  • Fays, Corrigans, Elves, and More: Tolkien’s Dark Ladies 165
  • Part Four: Boiling Bones; Serving Soup 179
  • Tolkien, Kalevala, and Middle-earth 183
  • Tolkien’s Celtic Connection 196
  • Tolkien’s French Connection 203
  • Drowned Lands 213
  • Voyaging about : Tolkien and Celtic Navigatio 221
  • Permissions and Acknowledgments 229
  • Notes 231
  • Works Cited 240
  • Index 248