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Tree and Leaf: Including MYTHOPOEIA Paperback – 5 Mar 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (5 Mar. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007105045
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007105045
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 172,287 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

J.R.R. Tolkien was born on 3rd January 1892. After serving in the First World War, he became best known for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, selling 150 million copies in more than 40 languages worldwide. Awarded the CBE and an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Oxford University, he died in 1973 at the age of 81.

Product Description

Review

‘A haunting and successful demonstration of the qualities of faerie’
New York Times

‘The book must be read… it goes far to explain the nature of his art and justify his success’
The Cambridge Review

‘While springing from deep-rooted convictions, his art has imaginative magic of a very rare quality’
Birmingham Post

About the Author

J R R Tolkien (1892-1973) was a distinguished academic, though he is best known for writing The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion, plus other stories and essays. His books have been translated into over 40 languages and have sold many millions of copies world wide.


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88 of 93 people found the following review helpful By Vladimir Cvetkovic Sever on 30 Dec. 2001
Format: Paperback
The book was originally a publishing concoction consisting of only two items, short story 'Leaf by Niggle' and essay 'On Fairy-Stories'; both have since become readily available in other editions. But even if you already have the texts in your collection, know that 'Tree and Leaf' has sprouted new branches since its first publication in 1964, as is only fitting. First, in 1988, Tolkien's poetic dialogue 'Mythopoeia' was added; this new 2001 edition also includes 'The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth' - the only sequel to another author's work by JRRT that I know of (albeit one nameless, and dead for a milennium). The four works now form a strong whole: the essay lays out the groundwork for virtually all of Tolkien's fiction and sheds much light on the value system underlining his creative choices. This is literary theory of a sort that is almost extinct in university courses nowadays - and feels like a breath of fresh inspiration after so many postmodern dead ends, frankly. 'Mythopoeia' brings this argument with modernity out in a style reminiscent of classical dialectics (in verse and quite amusing to boot); but then 'Leaf by Niggle' explodes in a flash of what the book has previously only talked about: it is the real thing, one of Tolkien's most poignant works, and the sheer concentration of emotion in it rivals his best mythological stories. 'Beorhtnoth' now gives the end of the book a sombre tone, an elegy of times and heroes gone and on the way to be forgotten - written in a prime example of Old English verse.
Maybe not meant to be experienced in this order, the four items certainly form a strong whole, one essential to the understanding of the author - more so than anything you might see in cinema these days...
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 Dec. 1998
Format: Paperback
I bought this in my "Must read everything by Tolkien" phase having just read Lord of the Rings. It is essentially an essay on Fairy Tales, but it has some wonderful theories and concepts. When I re-read the book years later, it hit me so hard I'll never be the same, as it dawned on me just what amazing things Tolkien was saying. The ideas from this have doubled my enjoyment of every book I have read since.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By The bookloving Norman on 26 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although the other texts included in "Tree and leaf" (Mythopoeia, Leaf by Niggle and the Homecoming of...) are interesting and valuable, the reason to purchase this slim volume lies in the essay "On fairy-stories": in this terse piece of writing, originally meant for a lecture, Tolkien defends the right of writers to create beautiful stories with little or no apparent connection to "The real world", and the right of readers to find consolation in the healing power of beauty. This way he doesn't only justify the work of his entire life, the creation of Middle Earth and the stories of men, hobbits and magical rings, but he claims its connection to ancient mythology and especially to the world of heroes such as Beowulf.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lucinda on 13 May 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
`Tree and Leaf' (2001 edition) also contains Mythopoeia, the Homecoming of Beorhtnoth, on fairy stories and Leaf by Niggle. *Note: some of which you can find in the book titled "Tales from the Perilous Realm" *In Tolkien's world fairy stories are not just for children and the magic of the fantasy genre is exquisitely captured, in such a way as to delight and dazzle many a reader (who may have cause to call it juvenile). This beautifully illustrated, elegant volume gives fantasy `the inner consistence of reality'. This edition also contains a preface by Christopher Tolkien (regarding the poem Mythopoeia) and additional information on other books by JRR Tolkien, including the extensive history of Middle Earth.

Leaf by Niggle ~ recounts the story of the artist, Niggle, who has `a long journey to make' and is seen interestingly as an allegory of Tolkien's life. Written concurrently as `the Lord of the Rings' was taking shape, it shows Tolkien's mastery and understanding of the art of sub-creation.

Mythopoeia ~ the author Philomythus (lover of myth), confounds the opinion of misomythus (hater of myth).

The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth ~ Professor Tolkien's dramatic poem which takes up the story following the disastrous battle of Maldon in 991, where the English Commander Beorhtnoth was killed.

This indisputably exceptional book is a must-read for all devoted Tolkien fans and ardent admirers of this intriguing Professor's life, for it goes as far as to explain the nature of his art and to justify his success. Tolkien's love for the common fairytale is expressed through his fantasy works, and it is fascinating to read in this book how they have inspired his work to such an extent.
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Format: Paperback
Smith of Wootton Major, written between 1964 and 1966* and published in 1967, is a meditation on the gift of fantasy. It originally was to be a very short story to be included to a preface of George MacDonald's famous faerie story The Golden Key. The story soon began a life of its own, and though altogether brief gives an insightful view into Tolkien's life.

The story is about Smith, who is a normal boy of all accounts. In his village are great feasts, and the Feast of Twenty Four is held. A star, little more than thought a Trinket by the Master Cook, is placed within tie cake, and he eats it unknowing. Then beauty comes upon him, and after he grows up begins to wonder in Faery. This is much the life of Tolkien. Born in South Africa in 1892, he was a little British boy that came to live in England. He became immersed in two things: mythology and language. Soon, so in love with language, he began inventing his own. In the end, he wished to have people speak his languages, to have a history behind it: thus arose Middle-earth. Then, as time went on, just as Smith, Tolkien explored the fantastic worlds, and was accustomed to strange lands.

In the story it is stated he spoke little of it to anyone OUTSIDE of his family. This is also true of Tolkien. Although his (deeply loved) wife was not real involved in his writing, he shared his stories with his family, and it is not to far to say that had it not been for his four children The Lord of the Rings would never have been written. (To understand this statement, one must first realise who The Hobbit was written for. It was written for his children. This, along with Farmer Giles, Roverandom (newly published), the Father Christmas Letters, and Mr. Bliss, his children's picture book personally illustarted by him.
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