I was wondering: Just when did elves and dwarves as most think of them today start featuring in fantasy fiction? I know they come from old myths, but did Tolkien introduce the familiar flavor?
You know; beautiful, elegant, artisan, aloof-but-decent nature-loving elves, often fading from ancient glory, and gruff, bearded, greedy, hardy dwarves, often with a dislike of elves.
I'm finding that I react a bit negatively when I come across "typical" elves and dwarves that seem directly inspired by Tolkien or D&D (itself inspired by Tolkien), and I'm wondering if it's fair of me. Genres do tend to have certain features and those features must start somewhere, and the "basic" elves and dwarves are undeniably fun and interesting characters when done well, but I can't quite shake this feeling. And it certainly makes me reluctant to use those stock races myself.
What do you folks think?