When in “On Fairy-stories” Tolkien expressed his Faërian wish to understand the proper speech of animals, he was longing to relate with animals in a way that combined communion with them and respect for their separate natures. But the exuberance with which Tolkien expressed this wish changed over time. His early writings are rampant with talking animals and other forms of human-animal condensation in which the animals nevertheless retain their own agency; later in life he grew uneasy with what he now believed to be unrealistic and un-Catholic formulations. Nevertheless, the Faërian wish was so important to him that he found quieter ways to continue expressing it. This developmental change is traced in Tolkien’s writings about foxes, bears, and wolves.



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