From the Back Cover
Recent polls have consistently declared that J.R.R. Tolkien is 'the most influential author of the century', and 'The Lord of the Rings' is 'the book of the century'. In light of this, the respected academic and world-renowned Tolkien scholar Professor Tom Shippey presents us with a fascinating companion to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien, in particular focussing on 'The Hobbit', 'The Lord of the Rings' and 'The Silmarillion.'
The core of 'Tolkien:Author of the Century' consists of three chapters that examine 'The Lord of the Rings' as a linguistic and cultural map, as a twisted web of story, and as a response to the meaning of myth. It presents a truly unique argument to explain the nature of evil and also gives the reader a compelling insight into the complex interlacing of the many strands of the story as the narrative moves between characters, and of the unparalleled level of skill necessary to construct such a rich and complex story. The other chapters examine 'The Hobbit', explaining the hobbits' anachronistic relationship to the heroic world of Middle-earth, the fundamental importance of 'The Silmarillion' to the canon of Tolkien's work, and an illuminating look at 'Farmer Giles, Leaf by Niggle' and other lesser-known works in their connection to Tolkien's own life.
Written in a clear and accessible style, 'Tolkien:Author of the Century' reveals why all of these books will be timeless, and shows how even such difficult works such as 'The Silmarillion' can be read enjoyably, as it examines the bitter feuds, murders and betrayals among the Elves as they journeyed to Middle-earth and waged war on Morgoth, the first Dark Lord. Taking issue with the uninformed criticism that has often been levelled at Tolkien and fantasy in general, Professor Shippey offers a new approach to Tolkien, to fantasy and to the importance of language in literature, and demonstrates how 'The Hobbit', 'The Lord of the Rings' and 'The Silmarillion' form part of a live and continuing tradition of storytelling that can trace its roots back through 'Grimm's Fairy Tales' to the 'Elder Edda' and 'Beowulf'.
'J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century' gives the reader a deeper understanding of both Professor Tolkien and his most important works. It also serves as a learned and entertaining introductory companion to some of the finest and most influential works of fantasy fiction ever written.