legendarium n.

a body or system of myths, legends, stories, etc., concerning or relating to a particular fictional world; a work or body of work containing this

Originally and chiefly in or with reference to the writings of J. R. R. Tolkien.

[after the earlier sense ‘a collection of saints’ lives’ (OED: 1848), < post-classical Latin]

SF Criticism

  • ?1951 J. R. R. Tolkien Letter in H. Carpenter Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien (1981) 149 J. R. R. Tolkien

    This legendarium [sc. the Silmarillion] ends with a vision of the end of the world, its breaking and remaking, and the recovery of the Silmarilli.

  • 1954 J. R. R. Tolkien Letter Sept. in H. Carpenter Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien (1981) 189 J. R. R. Tolkien

    My legendarium…, which lies immediately behind The Lord of the Rings, is based on my view: that Men are essentially mortal and must not try to become ‘immortal’ in the flesh.

  • 1984 Amon Hen (Tolkien Society) (#83) 12

    The….subsequent stages…through which Tolkien’s legendarium evolved throughout his life permits us to watch him labouring at the sub-creation of his Middle-earth.

  • 1986 S. Lee Best of Spider-Man i. 10 page image Stan Lee

    He’s [sc. Dr. Doom] appeared countless times in our Marvel comicbooks, menacing virtually every hero we’ve ever featured, including the Incredible Hulk, Dr. Strange, Daredevil, The Avengers, Iron Man, Silver Surfer, and so on ad legendarium.

  • 1995 W. G. Hammond & C. Scull J. R. R. Tolkien: Artist & Illustrator 69 page image Wayne G. Hammond Christina Scull bibliography

    Tolkien’s imagination seems to have been without bounds…. It was also a well-spring of tales to entertain his children…. The stories he told them were simpler than his legendarium (though by no means simple).

  • 2011 G. Reiter ‘An Age-Old Memory’: Arthur Machen’s Celtic Redaction of the Welsh Revival in A. L. Becker & K. Noone Welsh Mythology & Folklore in Popular Culture 78 page image Geoffrey Reiter

    Iltyd can be associated with the image of the altar; and in Machen’s own legendarium, Ilar can be associated with any of the three symbols—altar, bell, or cup.

  • 2021 D. Bratman Practical Geography of Always Coming Home in Mythlore (vol. 39, no. 138) (Spring/Summer) 125

    His legendarium is full of annals and chronologies, marked by dates and the passage of precisely-marked Ages.

  • 2022 R. Douthat ‘House of the Dragon’ and ‘The Rings of Power’ Both Use Diverse Casting in N.Y. Times 28 Oct. (electronic ed.)

    It’s true that Tolkien’s legendarium is a self-conscious attempt to invent a mythology for his beloved England.

Research requirements

antedating 1951

Earliest cite


Research History
suggested by Jarkko Hietaniemi

Last modified 2023-06-22 15:03:36
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.