Subject and Keywords:
Tolkien as a researcher and expert on early medieval literature transferred his vision of culture, where orality and literacy coexisted, to the world described in his works. In the article the author tries to evaluate how Tolkien’s vision accords with present-day knowledge of oral culture. Tolkien was limited by the state of knowledge on this topic in his day, so his idea of how songs were created and received is far from being correct. However, in many issues he was ahead of his time, e.g. when he demonstrates the rank of stories and the multitude of their functions in oral culture. To some extent the author of The Lord of the Rings acts analogously to the author of Beowulf, creating a sui generis oral-derived text. An interesting manifestation of how he includes the compositional technique of oral epic in his narrative is allusiveness to the mythical world, which was accessible for the readers only after Silmarillion and other inedita were edited posthumously. Similarly we should perceive the multiformity of many of Tolkien’s stories (e.g. about Beren and Luthien), which are very often underestimated by his critics.