Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and His Concept of Native Language: Sindarin and British-Welsh1 YOKO HEMMI 1. The Lord of the Rings and its "paratexts" n a letter written in June 1955, four months before the publication of the final part of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien made an extremely elusive remark that the book was to him "largely an essay in `linguistic aesthetic'" (Letters 220). This is one among many, consistent and somewhat baffling assertions maintained by Tolkien that the histories of Middle-earth grew out of his predilection for inventing languages. These assertions also indicate that by 1955 Tolkien came to consider The Lord of the Rings as a story finished so long ago that he could take a "largely impersonal view of it" (211). He points out that the "interpretations" he might make himself are "mostly post scriptum": he had "very little particular, conscious, intellectual, intention in mind at any point" (211). However for us readers, those post scriptum interpretations could be regarded, if we apply Gérard Genette's term, as crucial "paratexts" or "epitexts" to The Lord of the Rings; they present an authorial interpretive key to his own work that it is "philological"
Tolkien Studies – West Virginia University Press
Published: Aug 25, 2010