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A Secret Vice: Tolkien on Invented Languages is an extended version of a 1931 lecture given by J.R.R. Tolkien, joined with commentary by modern scholars Dimitra Fimi and Andrew Higgins.

The first edition was released to hardcover in 2016 by HarperCollins, with a second edition released in 2020, incorporating several revisions of Tolkien's lecture and a previously illegible name. The book's first edition won the Tolkien Society's Award for Best Book in 2017.


"In the 1930s Tolkien composed and delivered two lectures in which he explored these two key elements of his sub-creative methodology. In 1931 he gave a talk to a philological society entitled ‘A Hobby for the Home’. In this talk, later published as ‘A Secret Vice’, Tolkien unveiled for the first time to a listening public the art which he had both himself encountered and been involved with since his earliest childhood: ‘the construction of imaginary languages in full or outline for amusement’. ‘A Secret Vice’ would be edited by Christopher Tolkien for inclusion in The Monsters and the Critics and serves as the principal exposition of Tolkien’s art of inventing languages. But it has often been neglected by critics and this new critical edition will go some way towards re-opening the debate on the importance of linguistic invention in Tolkien’s mythology and the role of imaginary languages in fantasy literature."
From the publisher

Previously, the 1931 lecture (called "A Secret Vice") had been included by Christopher Tolkien as part of The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays, released in 2006.

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