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Tree and Leaf: Includes Mythopoeia and The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  3,645 ratings  ·  176 reviews
This volume is a provocative and entertaining collection of works which reveals the diversity of J.R.R. Tolkien's imagination and the breadth of his talent as a creator of fantastic fiction.
Paperback, 150 pages
Published February 5th 2001 by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd (first published 1964)
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Ahmad Sharabiani
Tree and Leaf, J.R.R. Tolkien
Repackaged to feature Tolkien's own painting of the Tree of Amalion, this collection includes his famous essay, 'On Fairy-Stories' and the story that exemplifies this, 'Leaf by Niggle'. Fairy-stories are not just for children, as anyone who has read Tolkien will know. In his essay 'On Fairy-Stories', Tolkien discusses the nature of fairy-tales and fantasy and rescues the genre from those who would relegate it to juvenilia. The haunting short story, 'Leaf by Niggle',
Julie Davis
Nov 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Where do you go after The Lord of the Rings? To the heart of the matter ... Tolkien's famous essay on fairy stories, Leaf by Niggle, and Mythopoeia (which was written as a response to C.S. Lewis saying that myths were lies).

As one would expect the essay on fairy stories is rich and deep. I would really like to hear it read aloud but I don't see an audio version anywhere of the entire thing ... so I may just have to record it for myself. When paired with this essay, Leaf by Niggle takes on
Narges Moini
May 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Narges by: پگاه
Shelves: فانتزى
تالکین از نویسندههاییه که به قول هولدن
you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.
در طول کتاب هی به این فکر میکردم که چی میشد اگر تالکین پدربزرگم بود.
Jan 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
I've actually read everything except 'Mythopoeia' from this volume before: I needed it to do references to 'The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth'. 'Homecoming' is an interesting commentary on 'The Battle of Maldon'. I daren't comment more without plagiarising my essay, but it's definitely worth reading, and it's interesting to see so clearly how strongly his academic and creative work were bound together. 'Homecoming' is part-essay, part-drama, part-poetry.

'Mythopoeia' is lovely, too. 'Leaf by Niggle'
Jul 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Eustacia Tan
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nlb-ereads
I wanted to try challenging my mind a little so I picked up Tree and Leaf, a collection by Tolkien! It made me miss my literature days because I felt like I missed a lot. This collection consists of;

- On Fairy-Stories: Ive actually read this essay before but I found it so hard to read the first time round! Shows you how much my mind has rusted. It was much better the second time round and I managed to appreciate it.

This essay explores the definitions and origin of fairy tales in a fairly
This is a collection of 4 works by Tolkien:

- On Fairy-Stories Tolkien presents his argument of why fairy tales / stories are just as relevant, important and not just for children.
- Mythopoeia an argument in poetical form from Philomythus to Misomythus. The comment before the poem starts says To one who said that myths were lies and therefore worthless, even though breathed through silver and sets the themes and tone of the poem.
- Leaf by Niggle a short story told in that wonderful Tolkien
James M. Madsen, M.D.
There are various collections of Tolkien's shorter works, sometimes published under the same title but with different stories. Look carefully at the contents of any work that you choose, but find at least "The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm's Son" and "Leaf by Niggle." I give each of these my highest rating, the former because of Tolkien's excellent commentary on the Old English word (and concept) "overmod" and the latter because it's one of the few largely allegorical works that Tolkien ...more
Hermione Laake
Sep 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is now a little dated. However, it is an inspiring and interesting bite-sized look at fairy tales as literature. The second story: Leaf and Niggle is reminiscent of Oscar Wilde's The Selfish Giant. It is very well written and has some wonderful moments, which make those of us writers' who try to work alone smile and determine to hide away less.
Feb 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Contains "Leaf by Niggle" and "On Fairy Stories," two of the most important books I've ever read as a writer, a reader of novels, and an appreciator of humanity. These two writings of Tolkien really represent just why I deeply love this man.
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I didn't read On Fairy Stories- I will need to read that at another time. I read Leaf by Niggle (my version didn't have any other stories), and I loved it, but as I have just now finished it, I can't say why or how. It needs time to sink in. All I will say is that Tolkien is an excellent author, and it's clearer now why LOTR is my favorite story of all time.
Timothy Lawrence
Mar 15, 2020 rated it liked it
"Fantasy remains a human right: we make in our measure and in our derivative mode, because we are made: and not only made, but made in the image and likeness of a Maker."

A lovely little collection of Tolkien's works. "On Fairy Stories" is a bit technical for my tastes, but contains some really keen insights (like the one quoted above) on the weight and value of fantasy. "Leaf By Niggle" is the real gem here, though it's the most profound and potent expression of Tolkien's philosophy of
Adela Bezemer-Cleverley
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
What an odd book. It starts out with Tolkien's famous essay "On Fairy Stories" which I found quite fascinating (but also very long and complicated and a bit pretentious, as is a lot of Tolkien's non-fiction writing, a fact which only makes me like it more). I'll include a couple of interested quotes from that at the end.

Then it went into the poem "Mythopeia" which Tolkien apparently wrote out of spite when he disagreed with a colleague who called fairy tales "lies", and while I love the fact
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read it before, of course. But the first half of this is pure gold: On Fairy-Stories. Nobody who reads LOTR should miss this. This is where it all comes from and is explained.
David Raz
I'm sorry to say I did not enjoy this one much. It feels wrong to "review" Tolkien's work, but I guess this is more about how I felt reading it than about what it is worth. For me, the only palatable part was "Smith of Wootton Major" which is a nice fairy-tale which survived the time. The rest was barely readable.
The essay "On Fairy Stories" was archaic and dry. I also found it hard to relate to the Christian elements. "Leaf by Niggle" started as a charming fairy-tale, supposedly exemplifying
Mar 25, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
First let me clearly state, hats off to Mr. Tolkien. The man is simply brilliant and so immersed himself in his art that I one could reasonably argue that he is the father of the modern fantasy.

If you choose to read this book, I think you'll enjoy it if you want to understand this great author's way of approaching his craft. If you're just looking for another good Tolkien story, just read "Leaf by Niggle" and skip the other parts.

Tree and Leaf is composed of four parts. An essay - "On Fairy
Jan 08, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection is a great companion to J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-Earth saga. The book offers a valuable glimpse into the author's storytelling philosophy, and provides details on the context surrounding some of Tolkien's most beloved work. I recommend this edition to anyone who is a fan of The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings.

The book is split into three sections of varying relation and intrigue to the Tolkien fan. "Tree and Leaf" includes the essay "On Fairy Stories" and the delightful short
Mairéad (is roaming the Undying Lands)
***Read for University***

4.75 stars.

I found the first part dealing with Faerie Stories was rather spot on with the thinkings of what I've always wondered about. Certainly is a thrill to see someone, especially when that someone happens to be Tolkien who crafted the world of MiddleEarth and its inhabitants, that they share similar views on certain aspects. It only made my heart swell with something deep and heartfelt since I've been working on a 5 year project that questions where everything
"Tree and Leaf" contains Tolkien's profound and moving short story, "Leaf by Niggle," and Tolkien's academic essay "On Fairy-Stories," notably a rather poor essay in some regards yet one of Tolkien's most quoted sources (the essay's content and structure is highly idiosyncratic, and yet where Tolkien's points are good and well-constructed they are VERY good, and stated with tremendous force). This volume also collects two other works: Tolkien's poem "Mythopoeia," which as verse is just fine, and ...more
tonia peckover
Jan 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
This rather odd collection of poetry, story and essay is a gem. It begins with Tolkien's exposition on what makes a fairy story and why such stories are for all of us (as always, I'm taken with his clarity and vision) and then moves into "Mythopoeia", a response to CS Lewis' assertion that myths and fairy tales are "breathing a lie through silver." (Tolkien insists that myths and fairy tales are True.) The end of the book is a translation of another mythic poem, quite interesting. But the real ...more
Dec 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Tree and Leaf brings together a few shorter works that help illuminate Tolkien's thoughts on the uses and purposes of myth and story. The essay "On Fairy-stories" outlines Tolkien's thoughts on what exactly makes up a fairy-story, as opposed to a fairy-tale, etc, and how story does not tell a beautiful lie, but a better truth that speaks to who we are. Mythopoeia, a poem in response to detractors, is in many ways the same thoughts from Tolkien's essay but in poetic form. "Leaf by Niggle" draws ...more
Jordan Lahn
Jul 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Finally read the "Leaf by Niggle" section of this book. Hauntingly beautiful, rich in symbolism and allegory. Especially after reading so many of Tolkien's private letters, it's easy to see the parallels in his life. While it is sad that Tolkien was never able to complete his Picture, and disappointing that in so many places he did "not have time now to do more than hint at what he wanted," I think Tolkien would have been pleased that his work has been "the best introduction to the Mountains" ...more
Feb 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"But fairy-stories offer also, in a peculiar degree or mode, these things: Fantasy, Recovery, Escape, Consolation, all things which children have, as a rule, less need than older people."

"Fantasy is, I think, not a lower but a higher form of Art, indeed the most nearly pure form, and so (when achieved) the most potent."

Nick gave this to me as a Valentine's Day present. He found it browsing the shelves and knew I would love it. Beautiful and very interesting, I recommend to anyone who is as
Oct 03, 2010 rated it it was ok
Not too too bad. "On Faerie Stories" was a little hard to follow because there were so many different definitions given that it was hard to keep track of what was what.
I did like Niggle's short story though. The protagonist grows on you and becomes another one of Tolkien's very memorable characters.
Feb 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
Tolkien's exegesis on the fairy tale, the realm of Faerie, its inhabitants, their magic, the origin of fairy tales, and who the stories are intended for. A must-read for anyone who desires to write fantasy.
Nikiforos Rigas
Nov 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Inside this there are wonderfull opinions about its subject (which you might need to read again to understand 'em better), plus an unexpectedly stuning tale: Leaf by Niggle! No need to praise the author...
Aug 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: tolkien literature lovers
Shelves: the-uk, jrr-tolkien
my best pick from this book would be Tolkien's poem, "Mythopoeia", and of course Tolkien's story about death, "Leaf by Niggle" ...
Sep 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A mixed bag - but a solid one!
(Longer review to follow)
May 23, 2007 added it
Shelves: fiction
Leaf by Niggle. Excellent.
Mar 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Tolkien's philosophical treatment of the importance of myth.

Part 1: essay
Part 2: short story
Part 3: poem
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John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE was an English writer, poet, WWI veteran (a First Lieutenant in the Lancashire Fusiliers, British Army), philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the high fantasy classic works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings .

Tolkien was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford from 1925 to 1945, and Merton Professor of English

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“Man, Sub-creator, the refracted light
through whom is splintered from a single White
to many hues, and endlessly combined
in living shapes that move from mind to mind.
Though all the crannies of the world we filled
with Elves and Goblins, though we dared to build
Gods and their houses out of dark and light,
and sowed the seed of dragons, 'twas our right
(used or misused). The right has not decayed.
We make still by the law in which we're made.”
“Not long ago-incredible though it may seem-I heard a clerk of Oxford declare that he 'welcomed' the proximity of mass-production robot factories, and the roar of self-obstructive traffic, because it brought his university into 'contact with real life.' He may have meant that the way men were living and working in the twentieth century was increasing in barbarity at an alarming rate, and that the loud demonstration of this in the streets of Oxford might serve as a warning that it is not possible to preserve for long an oasis of sanity in a desert of unreason by mere fences, without actual offensive action (practical and intellectual). I fear he did not. In any case the expression 'real life' in this context seems to fall short of academic standards. The notion that motor-cars are more 'alive' than, say, centaurs or dragons is curious; that they are more 'real' than, say, horses is pathetically absurd. How real, how startlingly alive is a factory chimney compared with an elm tree: poor obsolete thing, insubstantial dream of an escapist!” 9 likes
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