Latin Literature: From the Library of J.R.R. Tolkien.

J.R.R. Tolkien's schoolboy copy of Mackail's Latin Literature; with two of the young Tolkien's ownership signatures from 1907 and 1909

Latin Literature: From the Library of J.R.R. Tolkien.

MACKAIL, J.W. [J.R.R. Tolkien].

$9,500.00

Item Number: 103541

London: John Murray, 1906.

First edition, early impression of Mackail’s standard Latin textbook. J.R.R. Tolkien’s copy with two ownership inscriptions to the front free endpaper, the first of which is in an early hand in all capital letters, “J.R.R. Tolkien Class I. KEHS October 1st 1907” and a later inscription with a cursive signature, “Oct. 1909 J.R.R. Tolkien.” Octavo, original cloth with gilt titles to the spine. Tolkien was raised in Edgbaston, Birmingham and attended King Edward’s School from 1900-1911. The dates of the inscriptions are of particular importance as they mark the flowering of Tolkien’s interest in language; during these years he would begin the development of his first fictional languages, based largely on his studies of Anglo-Saxon and Latin with the present volume. In very good condition. The text has been crossed out by a subsequent owner. A scarce a desirable illustration of the young Tolkien’s early linguistic education, interest, and development.

Both Tolkien's academic career and his literary production are inseparable from his love of language and philology. He specialized in English philology at university and in 1915 graduated with Old Norse as his special subject. Parallel to Tolkien's professional work as a philologist, and sometimes overshadowing this work, to the effect that his academic output remained rather thin, was his affection for constructing languages. The most developed of these are Quenya and Sindarin, the etymological connection between which formed the core of much of Tolkien's legendarium. Language and grammar for Tolkien was a matter of esthetics and euphony, and Quenya in particular was designed from "phonaesthetic" considerations; it was intended as an "Elvenlatin", and was phonologically based on Latin, with ingredients from Finnish, Welsh, English, and Greek.

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We ship worldwide and all packages will be sent via UPS or Federal Express unless another carrier is requested. Next-day or second-day air service is available upon request. Shipping and insurance charges are additional.