On Fairy Stories

Some people have asked me if they can read Tolkien’s essay online, and I promised to post a link. So here it is: On Fairy Stories. This is a .pdf file so it’s easy enough to work with.

It is perhaps worth noting too, since we didn’t get to talk about it in the plenary session, that this essay was first published in a set of essays in honour of Charles Williams, edited by C. S. Lewis. Williams died unexpectedly before the volume came out. However, the piece had begun as a lecture given in 1939 and it seems likely that Tolkien’s developing ideas about fairy stories had been an ongoing source of discussion among the Inklings. The connections between these key writers of fantasy continued to be both creative and productive in ways which then became significant far beyond their own small group.

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