John Garth on Tolkien: publications
Biographical research, literary criticism, reviews and other articles

›Monographs
›Contributions to other books, original biographical research, literary criticism
›Newspaper reviews and articles
›Other reviews and articles
›Blog posts

 

1. Monographs (back to top↑)

Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-earth

London: HarperCollins, 2003; New York: Houghton Mifflin Co, 2003. Winner of the 2004 Mythopoeic Award for Scholarship. Read reviews...

ItalianTolkien e la Grande Guerra: La soglia della Terra di Mezzo (Milan: Marietti, 2007).
Chinese (Shanghai: Wenhui, 2008).
FrenchTolkien et la Grande Guerre: Au Seuil de la Terre du Milieu (Paris: Christian Bourgois, 2014).
GermanTolkien und der Erste Weltkrieg: Das Tor zu Mittelerde (Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 2014). Audiobook from Der Hörverlag.
SpanishTolkien y la Gran Guerra: El Origen de la Tierra Media (Barcelona: Minotauro, 2014).
Polish (brief excerpt) — Najstarsza wersja legendarium J.R.R. Tolkiena (‘The oldest version of Tolkien’s legendarium’), Aiglos 6 (Katowice: Śląski Klub Fantastyki, 2006).

Tolkien at Exeter College by John GarthTolkien at Exeter College: How an Oxford undergraduate created Middle-earth

(Oxford: Exeter College, 2014). Finalist for the Mythopoeic Award for Scholarship, 2015. A short book incorporating much fresh research to enlarge and clarify our picture of Tolkiens crucial years from 1911 to 1915, including the creative breakthrough that ultimately led to The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. 64 pages, with more than 40 images, many of them rare or previously unpublished. Buy here...

 

2. Contributions to other books, original biographical research, and literary criticism (back to top↑)

Tolkien l'EsperantistaPreface, Tolkien l’Esperantista (‘Tolkien the Esperantist’; Barletta: Cafagna Editore, 2015), with essays by J R R Tolkien, Oronzo Cilli, Arden R Smith and Patrick H Wynne. Read in Italian…

‘“The road from adaptation to invention”: How Tolkien came to the brink of Middle-earth in 1914’, in Tolkien Studies 11, ed. David Bratman, Michael D.C. Drout, and Verlyn Flieger (Morgantown: West Virginia University Press, 2014). Read via Project Muse...

Blackwell Companion to TolkienA Brief Biography, in A Companion to J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Stuart D. Lee (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2014), part of the Blackwell Companions to Literature and Culture series. Includes chapters by Tom Shippey, Verlyn Flieger, John D. Rateliff and other key figures in Tolkien scholarship. My opening chapter gives a detailed chronological overview of the life and work in 8,500 words, and is available as a downloadable excerpt at the Wiley website.

Exeter College, The First 700 YearsThe Undergraduate Tolkien, in Exeter College: The First 700 Years, ed. Frances Cairncross with Hannah Parham (London: Third Millennium, 2013) – a condensed and slightly revised form of my Tolkien, Exeter College and the Great War (see below).

Robert Quilter Gilson, T.C.B.S.: A brief life in letters, the fullest published account of the life of one of Tolkien’s key friends, in Tolkien Studies 8, ed. Douglas A. Anderson, Michael D.C. Drout, and Verlyn Flieger (WVUP, 2011). Read via Project Muse...

Tolkien Studies 7J.R.R. Tolkien and the boy who didn’t believe in fairies uncovers the incident which first taught the young Tolkien that fairy-stories are not kids’ stuff. When it was published in Tolkien Studies 7 (WVUP 2010), veteran Tolkien scholar David Bratman said, ‘I have never read a scholarly paper that left me more thoroughly charmed.’ It was voted best article of 2013 in the inaugural Tolkien Society Awards after being published (with previously unseen photographs) on my website here. Also available in Spanish.

Sources of InspirationTolkien, Exeter College, and the Great War, in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings: Sources of Inspiration, ed. Stratford Caldecott and Thomas Honegger (Zurich: Walking Tree, 2008). Presented at the conference held at Exeter College, Oxford, 21 August 2006; cited in the Oxford English Dictionary. Now comprehensively revised, expanded and illustrated as a monograph, Tolkien at Exeter College: How an Oxford undergraduate created Middle-earth.

Tolkien: La Luce e l'Ombra‘As under a green sea’: visions of war in the Dead Marshes, in The Ring Goes Ever On: Proceedings of the 2005 Tolkien Conference, ed. Sarah Wells (Tolkien Society, 2008), and (in slightly expanded form) in Myth and Magic: Art according to the Inklings, ed. Eduardo Segura and Thomas Honegger (Zürich: Walking Tree, 2007). Italian translation, as ‘Visioni di guerra nelle Paludi Morte’, in Tolkien: La Luce e l'Ombra, ed. Giovanni Agnoloni (Ascoli Piceno: Senzapatria Editore).

J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: Scholarship and Critical Assessment, edited by Michael D.C. Drout (Routledge, November 2006): entries on Artists and Illustrators’ Influence on Tolkien, ‘English and Welsh’, R.Q. Gilson, Jennie Grove, Nazi Party, A Spring Harvest, the T.C.B.S., Francis Thompson, Christopher Wiseman and World War I. Now available in paperback and ebook, and at Routledge Literature Online via participating libraries and institutions.

Tolkien Marquette 2004 proceedingsFrodo and the Great War, in The Lord of the Rings, 1954–2004: Scholarship in Honor of Richard E. Blackwelder, ed. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, 2006). Presented at Marquette University, 2004. See here for one discussion of this paper. Revised version published as Volt egyszer egy földbe vájt lyuk – Tolkien és a lövészárkok in J.R.R. Tolkien: Fantázia és erköles, ed. Dr Pődör Dóra, Nagy Andrea and Füzessy Tamás (Budapest: Magyar Tolkien Társaság, 2012), the proceedings of the Hungarian Tolkien Society’s Budapest 2012 conference. Revised and abridged version published 14 December 2014 as Der wahre Krieg des Herrn der Ringe in Die Welt, based on my 2 November talk at Dresden’s Militär Historisches Museum.

MitopoiesiTolkien e la Grande Guerra: ‘orrore animalesco’ nella Terra di Mezzo, in Mitopoiesi: Fantasia e storia in Tolkien, ed. F. Manni (Brescia: Grafo, April 2005). Expanded and translated version of ‘Tolkien and the Great War: “animal horror” in Middle-earth’, a conference paper presented in Brescia, Italy, 2004.

 

3. Newspaper or magazine reviews and articles (back to top↑)

Garth Telegraph Alan LeeInterview with Oscar-winning artist Alan Lee about his work on Tolkien’s Beren and Lúthien, the Peter Jackson movies, and other highlights of his career, Telegraph Review section, 27 May 2017 (right).

J.R.R. Tolkien, Beren and Lúthien, in the New Statesman, 26 May 2017.

When JRR Tolkien bet CS Lewis: the wager that gave birth to The Lord of the Rings, Telegraph online (free registration required) on 8 December 2016 and as a double-page spread in the Sunday Telegraph (Living section) on 11 December. The article reveals for the first time the date Tolkien conceived his story of Númenor.

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun, Telegraph online (free registration required) on 16 November 2016 and in the newspaper’s Saturday Review on 12 November.

A Secret Vice: Tolkien on Invented Languages, edited by Dimitra Fimi and Andrew Higgins, New Statesman, 15 April 2016.

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Story of Kullervo, edited by Verlyn Flieger, in the Mail On Sunday, 6 September 2015.

The birth of a legend, article on Tolkien at Exeter College for the college’s Exon magazine (pdf), 13 August 2015.

Tolkien’s death of Smaug: American inspiration revealed, in the Guardian (9 December 2014) and South China Morning Post (20 December 2014).

Der wahre Krieg des Herrn der Ringe (‘The real war of The Lord of the Rings’), in Die Welt, 14 December 2014 – an abridged text of my 2 November talk to a capacity crowd at the Militär Historisches Museum in Dresden.

Tolkien and Oxford, article in German for TV magazine Arte, 28 November 2014.

Birth of a new world: the Tolkien poem that marks the genesis of Middle-earth: I outline the results of a full-scale investigation I’ve written for Tolkien Studies 11. The Guardian, 24 September 2014.

Secrets of the Hydra, Oxfordshire Limited EditionWhy World War One Is at the heart of Lord of the Rings – for The Fellowship of the Ring’s 60th anniversary. Daily Beast, 29 July 2014. Also in Portuguese.

Secrets of The Hydra: How my Tolkien research uncovered lost Wilfred Owen magazines: in Oxfordshire Limited Edition, 12 June 2014, and on my blog.

Tolkien’s Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary, together with Sellic Spell: Review in the New Statesman, 30 May 2014, and preview feature in the Guardian, 22 March 2014.

Battle of the Somme: the ‘animal horror’ that inspired JRR Tolkien, in the Sunday Telegraph’s First World War supplement, 6 October 2013.

The magical books of Alan Garner, JRR Tolkien and other fantasy author, feature previewing the Bodleian Library’s summer exhibition Magical Books, in The Times, 8 June 2013 (subscribers only). Reproduced by Oxford Today as ‘The Magical Books of the Bodleian’ (open access).

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fall of Arthur, in The Daily Beast, 23 May 2013, ‘Tolkien’s unfinished epic’. My review is also available in French and Portuguese.

Mark Atherton, There and Back Again: J.R.R. Tolkien and the origins of The Hobbit, Oxford Today, March 2013.

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún, in The Times, 29 April 2009, ‘A time before Hobbits’. Read…

From page to stage, review of the Lord of the Rings musical at London’s Theatre Royal, Evening Standard, 18 May 2007. Reprinted in The Scotsman, 1 June 2007, as It’s a hard hobbit to break – the expert’s verdict. Read...

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Children of Húrin, in The Sunday Telegraph, 26 April 2007, ‘A last, sombre visit to Middle-earth’. Read…

J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: Scholarship and Critical Assessment, ed. Michael D.C. Drout, and The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide, by Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond, in The Times Literary Supplement, 22/29 December 2006, ‘Where’s what, Gollum?’ Read...

Peter Gilliver, Jeremy Marshall and Edmund Weiner, The Ring of Words: Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary, in The Times Literary Supplement, 23 June 2006, ‘S for Smial’. Read...

Triumph of the Tolkien Magic, op-ed, Evening Standard, 12 December 2003. Appeared as ‘No more Tolkien gestures’, The Scotsman, 15 December 2003. Read...

Tolkien fantasy was born in trenches of the Somme, Evening Standard, 13 December 2001. Read…
— Also in Portuguese at the Tolkien Brasil website.

T.A. Shippey, J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century, in the Evening Standard, 27 November 2000, ‘Far too successful — can’t be any good’.
— Reprinted in La Rivista, journal of Endóre (Italian Tolkien Society), issue 5 (September 2002).


4. Other reviews and articles (back to top↑)

‘How Tolkien discovered fairy-tale through Beowulf and war’, published at the launch of the Sci-Fi and Fantasy Network, 27 March 2015. Previously presented at‘Tolkien’s Beowulf: A Roundtable’, a Medieval English Research Seminar with the Faculty of English at Oxford University, 22 October 2014.

J.R.R. Tolkien, Qenya Noun Structure, ed. Christopher Gilson, Patrick H. Wynne, and Arden R. Smith; J.R.R. Tolkien, Qenyaqetsa: The Qenya Phonology and Lexicon, together with The Poetic and Mythologic Words of Eldarissa, ed. Gilson, Carl F. Hostetter, Wynne and Smith; Proceedings of the Third International Conference on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Invented Languages, Omentielva Nelya, Whitehaven, 2009, ed. Anders Stenström. In Tolkien Studies 11, ed. David Bratman, Michael D.C. Drout and Verlyn Flieger (Morgantown: West Virginia University Press, 2014). Read via Project Muse...

Roberto Arduini and Claudio A. Testi (eds.), The Broken Scythe: Death and Immortality in the Works of J.R.R. Tolkien, in Tolkien Studies 10, ed. Bratman et al. (WVUP, 2013). Read via Project Muse...

J.R.R. Tolkien, Quenya Phonology: Comparative Tables, Outline of Phonetic Development (Parma Eldalamberon 19, ed. Christopher Gilson), in Tolkien Studies 8, ed. Anderson et al (WVUP, 2011). Read via Project Muse...

J.R.R. Tolkien, Tengwesta Qenderinwa and Pre-Fëanorian Alphabets Part 2 (Parma Eldalamberon 18, ed. Christopher Gilson, Patrick H. Wynne and Arden R. Smith), in Tolkien Studies 7, ed. Anderson et al (WVUP, 2010). Read via Project Muse…

Hilary Tolkien, Black and White Ogre Country: The Lost Tales of Hilary Tolkien, ed. Angela Gardner, in Mallorn 48, October 2009. Read…

Guest editorial, Mallorn 48, October 2009.

J.R.R. Tolkien, Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings (Parma Eldalamberon 17, ed. Gilson), in Tolkien Studies 6, ed. Anderson et al (WVUP, 2009). Read via Project Muse…

J.R.R. Tolkien, Early Elvish Poetry and Pre-Fëanorian Alphabets (Parma Eldalamberon 16, ed. Gilson, Smith, Wynne, Carl F. Hostetter and Bill Welden), in Tolkien Studies 5, ed. Anderson et al (WVUP, 2008). Read via Project Muse…

Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond, The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide, in Tolkien Studies 4, ed. Anderson et al (WVUP, 2007). Read via Project Muse…

J.R.R. Tolkien, Sí Qente Feanor and other writings (Parma Eldalamberon 15, ed. Smith, Gilson, Wynne and Welden), in Tolkien Studies 3, ed. Anderson et al (WVUP, 2006). Read…

Janet Brennan Croft, War and the Works of J.R.R. Tolkien, in Tolkien Studies 3. Read via Project Muse…

J.R.R. Tolkien, Smith of Wootton Major, extended edition edited by Verlyn Flieger, 2005. This previously unpublished review can be read here.

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Alphabet of Rúmil and Early Noldorin Fragments and Early Qenya and the Valmaric Script (Parma Eldalamberon 13 and 14, ed. Gilson, Smith, Welden, Hostetter and Wynne), in Tolkien Studies 2, ed. Anderson et al (WVUP, 2005). Read…


5. Blog posts (back to top↑)

Several of these posts are also available in Portuguese via Tolkien Brasil.

Tolkien’s “immortal four” meet for the last time (25 September 2015): A discovery in the archives marks the final gathering of the TCBS. Named Best Article in the Tolkien Society Awards 2016. Also available in Spanish.

A friend of Tolkien’s TCBS tells a neglected truth of war (25 May 2015): The tragic fate of a Great War survivor.

Dragon scale: Why it’s impossible to size up Tolkien’s Middle-earth (18 January 2015): I question attempts to treat the legendarium as if it were fact.

Middle-earth turns 100 (24 September 2014): uncovers the evidence that Tolkien saw this date as the foundation of his legendarium.

Tolkien at fifteen, a warrior-to-be (5 March 2014): the lowdown on a unique, newly discovered photograph of Tolkien with his school Cadet Corps.

Sam Gamgee and Tolkien’s batmen (13 February 2014): the biographical and literary implications of a fascinating Tolkien letter up for auction.

Tolkien, the Somme and scholarship (29 January 2014): report from an Oxford lecture on Tolkien’s battlefield verse-drama The ‘Homecoming of Beorhtnoth, Beorhthelm’s Son’.

100 years of Middle-earth (25 January 2014): how the undergraduate Tolkien limbered up for his career as a writer.

 

 

 

 

 

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