J.R.R. Tolkien On Myths

J.R.R. Tolkien was not just a novelist, he deeply cared about mythology. He wanted to build his own and certainly, the tales of Middle Earth were building a legendarium. It was deep in his writings, novels, and even his letters to family and friends. Here are my top 10 Tolkien quotes about myths:

“The only just literary critic,” he concluded, “is Christ, who admires more than does any man the gifts He Himself has bestowed.” – The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien

“Faërie contains many things besides elves and fays, and besides dwarfs, witches, trolls, giants, or dragons; it holds the seas, the sun, the moon, the sky; and the earth, and all things that are in it: tree and bird, water and stone, wine and bread, and ourselves, mortal men, when we are enchanted.” – On Fairy-stories

“The significance of a myth is not easily to be pinned on paper by analytical reasoning.” – The Monsters And The Critics And Other Essays

“A safe fairyland is untrue to all worlds.” – The Hobbit

“If you really come down to any large story that interests people – holds the attention for a considerable time … human stories are practically always about one thing, aren’t they? Death. The inevitability of death.” – Tolkien in Oxford

“Fantasy is a higher form of Art, indeed the most nearly pure form, and so (when achieved) the most potent.” – On Fairy-stories

“A story must be told or there’ll be no story, yet it is the untold stories that are most moving.” – The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien

“Blessed are the legend-makers with their rhyme of things not found within recorded time.” – Mythopoeia

“For myth is alive at once and in all its parts, and dies before it can be dissected.” – The Monsters And The Critics And Other Essays

“The story-maker proves a successful ‘sub-creator’. He makes a Secondary World which your mind can enter. Inside it, what he relates is ‘true’: it accords with the laws of that world. You therefore believe it, while you are, as it were, inside. The moment disbelief arises, the spell is broken; the magic, or rather art, has failed.” – On Fairy-stories

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