12 Pre-Tolkien Fantasy Novels to Try

By Nicole Rosenbluth, Young Adult Librarian
February 25, 2021

Although they have been remarkably influential in its development, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, published in 1937, and The Lord of the Rings, published in 1954, were not the start of the genre of modern fantasy literature. As far back as the middle of the nineteenth century, authors were writing fantasy novels, each with a unique flavor. Although by no means an exhaustive listing, these twelve books give a taste of what fantasy was like before the arrival of J.R.R. Tolkien onto the literary scene. Why not try a few for a different view of fantasy!