In his essay On Fairy Stories and his poem Mythopoeia, J.R.R. Tolkien describes the concept of sub-creation. The story Leaf by Niggle, published as a companion and complement to the essay, illustrates this concept and shows how it relates to Creation. In particular, the story presents Tolkien’s ideas about art, employment, and responsibility toward neighbors. It paints a perceptive portrait of the author himself. Moreover, it offers inspiration for artists, writers, scholars, and all who engage in constructive labor, and gives guidance to those who (like the author) feel the pressure of too much work. Perhaps most importantly, this fascinating tale conveys to the reader Truth inherent in Creation.
Hammond, J. Samuel and Hammond, Marie K.
"Creation and Sub-creation in Leaf by Niggle,"
Inklings Forever: Published Colloquium Proceedings 1997-2016: Vol. 7
, Article 7.
Available at: https://pillars.taylor.edu/inklings_forever/vol7/iss1/7