More Tolkien Books

Tolkien’s best-known works are from his legendarium, but he wrote a lot of other things as well, including fairy stories, poetry, translations, adaptations and, of course, academic essays. Discover some of Tolkien’s other incredible works here.

Fairy Tales & Children’s Stories

Fairy stories – that is, stories about the interaction of humans with the “Perilous Realm” – were often on Tolkien’s mind. Of course, his best-known fairy tales are The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, but he wrote others as well.

Tolkien also wrote some stories explicitly for children. While these may or may not fall under the genre of fairy stories (the line is a bit fuzzy), it makes sense to put them here as well. They are, of course, entirely suitable for adults, as well.

Tales from the Perilous Realm, by J.R.R. Tolkien

Tales from the Perilous Realm

This book collects five stories that every Tolkien enthusiast will want to read: “Farmer Giles of Ham,” “Smith of Wootton Major,” “Roverandom” and “The Adventures of Tom Bombadil”

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Letters from Father Christmas

A book of illustrated letters from Father Christmas that Tolkien wrote for his children as they grew up.

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Letters from Father Christmas, by J.R.R. Tolkien
Mr. Bliss, by J.R.R. Tolkien

Mr. Bliss

Here’s what we know about Mr. Bliss: He likes tall hats and his new motor car. Tolkien write this fun little story for his kids when they were young.

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Translations & Adaptations

Tolkien was a scholar of old languages and literatures. As such, over the years he made many translations and adaptations of older works. While translating and adapting are two very different activities – he’s very clear about that in his essay “On Translating Beowulf” – I’ve collected them under this single heading, because some of his translations and adaptations are collected in the same volume (such Beowulf).

A Middle English Vocabulary

Tolkien’s first book was a glossary for Kenneth Sisam’s Fourteenth Century Verse & Prose (later included with that volume). While not a translation itself, it’s a very useful reference for students interested in Middle English

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A Middle English Vocabulary, by J.R.R. Tolkien
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl & Sir Orfeo, by J.R.R. Tolkien

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl & Sir Orfeo

Tolkien wanted to make these Middle English poems accessible to readers, so he created Modern English poetic  translations for lovers of literature

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The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún

This alliterative verse adaptation of a classic story from the Edda was written by Tolkien while he was Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford

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The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún, by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Fall of Arthur, by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Fall of Arthur

Read Tolkien’s take on the story of King Arthur and his ultimate downfall

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Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary

Tolkien taught Beowulf in his classes for many years, and he even tried his hand at translating it. Includes his poetic adaptation “Lay of Beowulf,” and his own composition, “Sellic Spell.”

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Beowulf: Translation and Commentary, by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Story of Kullervo, by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Story of Kullervo

Not quite an adaptation, but not quite part of his legendarium either, the story of “hapless Kullervo” is sourced from the Kalevala and is the basis for the character Túrin Turambar in The Silmarillion

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The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun

Edited by Verlyn Flieger

The poem of Aotrou and Itroun (Breton for Lord and Lady) is a tragedy about lovers who seek help from a corrigan – a type of evil fairy – but end up with a cursed potion. Based loosely on a Breton song, Tolkien adds his own twists and ideas as well.

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Aotrou and Itroun, J.R.R. Tolkien

Essays & Academic Works

Tolkien wrote many essays and longer academic studies over the course of his career as English reader (lecturer) at Leeds and Oxford. Some of these have been collected and published in various volumes over the years.

Finn and Hengest

Edited by Alan Bliss

Commentary on two episodes of Old English poetry related to Finn Folcwalding, King of the Frisians, and the Anglo-Saxon Hengest. Essential for the student of Old English language and literature.

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Finn and Hengest, by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Monsters and the Critics, by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Monsters and the Critics, and Other Essays

Tolkien’s seminal essay “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics” changed the entire course of Beowulf studies – this book is essential for any student of Old English literature. Also included in this edition are Tolkien’s essays “On Translating Beowulf,” “On Fairy-Stories,” “A Secret Vice,” and “English and Welsh”

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Beowulf and the Critics

Edited by Michael D. C. Drout

An in-depth look at the development of Tolkien’s essay “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics,” including the much longer essay from which the final lecture was pared down

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Beowulf and the Critics, by J.R.R. Tolkien
On Fairy-Stories, by J.R.R. Tolkien

Tolkien on Fairy-Stories

Edited by Verlyn Flieger and Douglas A. Anderson

This critical edition of Tolkien’s classic essay “On Fairy-Stories” provides access to other drafts, notes, and commentary related to the Professor’s literary theory about the uses and usefulness of fairy tales.

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A Secret Vice

Edited by Dimitra Fimi and Andrew Higgins

Tolkien’s secret vice was his love of crafting constructed languages (“conlangs”). This volume presents his essay, “A Secret Vice,” along with its early drafts and a previously unpublished “Essay on Phonetic Symbolism.”

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A Secret Vice, by J.R.R. Tolkien