The paper is a somewhat science-fictional time-travel story, written at the same time as The Lord of the Rings was being developed. The story itself involves the minutes of the meetings of an arts discussion club at Oxford, a fictionalization of Tolkien's own club, the Inklings.
During these meetings, Alwin Arundel Lowdham discusses his lucid dreams about Númenor; through these dreams, he "discovers" much about the Númenor story and the languages of Middle-earth (notably Quenya, Sindarin, and Adûnaic). While not finished, at the end of the given story it becomes clear Lowdham himself is a reincarnation of sorts of Elendil. (Alwin is a modernisation of the name Ælfwine, Old English for Elf-friend, or Elendil in Quenya.) Other members of the Club also mention their vivid dreams of other times and places.
Tolkien not only created fictional meetings for these papers; he also created a fictional history for the manuscript of the papers. According to the papers, the meetings occurred in the 1980's; they even mention events that occurred in that and the prior decades. About one-quarter of the papers were found among sacks of waste paper in 2012 at Oxford by a "Mr. Green". Mr. Green published a first edition containing excerpts from these papers, indicating that they were written during the 1980's by one of the participants. Two scholars read the first edition, asked to examine the manuscripts, and then submitted a full report. The "Notes to the Second Edition" mentions contradictory evidence in dating it.
These papers, which make a number of comments on Lewis' Space Trilogy, remind one of C. S. Lewis' commentary on Tolkien's poem The Lay of Leithian, in which Lewis created a fictional history of scholarship of the poem and even referred to other manuscript tradition to recommend changes to the poem.
By an odd coincidence, The Notion Club Papers mentions a great storm occurring during 1987 in England, and indeed the fictional commentary notes that this provides evidence that it could not have been written in the 1940s. In real life the Great Storm of 1987 occurred in October of that year.
Translations around the worldEdit
|Foreign Language||Translated name|
|Arabic||أوراق نادي المفهوم|
|Azerbaijani||Konsepsiya klubunun sənədləri|
|Belarusian Cyrillic||Паняцце клубныя дакументы|
|Bulgarian Cyrillic||Понятието Клубни документи|
|Catalan||Els papers del Notion Club|
|Croatian||Pojam Kluba Dokumenata|
|Danish||Den Begreb Klubbdokumenter|
|Dutch||De Notie Vereniging Papieren|
|Esperanto||La koncepto Klubaj Paperoj|
|Filipino||Ang Paniwala Kapisanan mga Dokumento|
|Finnish||Konsepti klubi papereita|
|Gujarati||આ કલ્પના ક્લબ પેપર્સ|
|Hebrew||הקונספט מועדון מאמרים|
|Hindi||नोटियन क्लब कागजात|
|Kannada||ಅಭಿಪ್ರಾಯ ಕ್ಲಬ್ ಪೇಪರ್ಸ್|
|Kazakh||Тұжырымдаманың клубтық құжаттары (Cyrillic) Tujırımdamanıñ klwbtıq qujattarı (Latin)|
|Korean||개념 클럽 문서|
|Kyrgyz Cyrillic||Түшүнүгү клуб документтер|
|Marathi||नोटियन क्लब पेपर्स|
|Nepalese||अवधारणा क्लब कागजातहरू|
|Persian||مقالات باشگاه مفهوم|
|Polish||Dokumenty klubu koncepcyjnego|
|Portuguese||Os papéis de Clube de Noção|
|Punjabi||ਸੰਕਲਪ ਕਲੱਬ ਦਸਤਾਵੇਜ਼|
|Romanian||Concepeți documentele clubului|
|Sinhalese||සංකල්ප සමාජ ලිපිලේඛන|
|Spanish||Los papeles del Noción Club|
|Tajik Cyrillic||Клубҳои консептуалӣ коғазҳо|
|Telugu||ది నోషన్ క్లబ్ పేపర్స్|
|Turkish||Konsept kulübü kağıtları|
|Ukrainian Cyrillic||Поняття клубних документів|
|Yiddish||די קאָנסעפּט קלוב פּאַפּערס|