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4.0 out of 5 stars A passionate defence and intriguing exploration.
To enjoy reading this book, you must have read 'The Lord of the Rings', and you have to share the author's passion for Tolkien.

If you have and do, then you will love reading this author's impassioned defence of his hero. Curry covers his beliefs on Tolkien's intentions, Tolkien's inspiration and influences and Tolkien's relevance in modern society...
Published on 28 July 2012 by Adam

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19 of 34 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing
I was full of hope when I started this book. Being an open-minded non-fan of Tolkien's work - I can never get into the books, but I'm always interested to hear from people who can - I was hoping for a thoughtful, intelligent argument explaining what makes Tolkien so incredibly successful. No such luck.

Curry is a vehement life-long fan of Tolkien, which would...
Published on 25 Oct 2002 by Hello


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4.0 out of 5 stars A passionate defence and intriguing exploration., 28 July 2012
This review is from: Defending Middle-Earth: Tolkien, Myth and Modernity (Paperback)
To enjoy reading this book, you must have read 'The Lord of the Rings', and you have to share the author's passion for Tolkien.

If you have and do, then you will love reading this author's impassioned defence of his hero. Curry covers his beliefs on Tolkien's intentions, Tolkien's inspiration and influences and Tolkien's relevance in modern society.

Read as preliminary reading in a research project, 'Defending Middle Earth' provided a good overview of the issues surrounding the paganism and Catholicism inherent in 'The Silmarillion', 'The Hobbit' and 'The Lord of the Rings'.

But furthermore, Curry argues for Tolkien's continuing relevance in society, presenting his works as Universal Myth, a theory which he documents pleasingly coherently.

Don't buy if you aren't an avid Tolkien fan; by which I mean that you have read his books and agree with Tolkien's beliefs and worldview. Though you may have read Tolkien voraciously, without feeling a passion for the themes presented therein, this book will irritate you.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Critcs hate to be told they've missed the point, 11 Dec 2006
This review is from: Defending Middle-Earth: Tolkien, Myth and Modernity (Paperback)
The title of the book makes clear that it is designed to address the major criticisms of Tolkien's detractors, so expect that and nothing else. Hostile criticism of Tolkien's work has always focused upon what it isn't and as such is unhelpful; thus Patrick Curry makes no attempt to address what these critics wanted to see, and is often, as a result, criticised on equally spurious terms. But this is an excellent book written by a reader who has appreciated what the Lord of the Rings actually is. This book shows clearly that the ideological criticims of Tolkien's work are simply misguided. Tolkien's work is designed to function as mythology or saga and not as a modernist novel. It lacks the stylistic devices treasured by the readers of that genre and Tolkien was unashamedly aware of this in his own lifetime and wrote as much in a later Preface to that work. Medieval sagas did not care for the manner of characterisation found in the modern novel, nor, amazingly, for the literary sensibilities of 20th century theorists; they did, however, contain valuable truths about humanity and its experience of living and Patrick Curry shows us Tolkien's reproduction of this. If you want to be convinced that you know more about literature than the Professor then don't bother with this book. If you would like to expand your understanding of why the Lord of the Rings has touched you so deeply when it is so unlike the other novels you have read, then you'll love it.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well researched and meticulously articulated., 29 Dec 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Defending Middle-Earth: Tolkien, Myth and Modernity (Paperback)
Patrick Curry has obviously gone to great lengths to try and produce an intellectual and yet very readable analysis of the intentions - as he percieves them - with which JRR Tolkien set out to write 'The Lord of the Rings'. An interesting book which suffers only slightly from a partial lack of objectivity.
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19 of 34 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing, 25 Oct 2002
This review is from: Defending Middle-Earth: Tolkien, Myth and Modernity (Paperback)
I was full of hope when I started this book. Being an open-minded non-fan of Tolkien's work - I can never get into the books, but I'm always interested to hear from people who can - I was hoping for a thoughtful, intelligent argument explaining what makes Tolkien so incredibly successful. No such luck.

Curry is a vehement life-long fan of Tolkien, which would be fine if he didn't let him flavour the whole book with a kind of defensiveness and antagonism. He really hates critics, and scornfully brushes off Tolkien's detractors without properly engaging with their arguments. The trouble is, hating critics and writing criticism don't go together.

The whole argument of the book boils down to: modernism and capitalism have led to a violation of the natural world and a more frivolous-minded culture. Tolkien knew this, and implied it in his books, and he was right, therefore his books are works of genius. Sorry, but that doesn't convince me. Good politics do not a good book make. Tolkien was perfectly right that the destruction of the natural world is a bad thing, but that doesn't prove that his books were well executed, just well intentioned. And on the subject of how well executed they were, Curry is oddly silent: he makes sweeping statements about how great a writer Tolkien is, but somehow manages to avoid discussing Tolkien's style, portrayal of characters, plot development or any of the other things that go to making a book good or bad. All he discusses is Tolkien's world view. This is particularly awkward as he praises Tolkien to the skies for valuing "story" - and then says nothing at all about how the story is handled. For someone looking for a defence of Tolkien the writer, it's frustrating. After a while, it feels like a succession of statements rather than a thought-out defence.

The arguments are often slackly reasoned, and almost always repetitive. There's enough thought for an article here, but not a whole book's worth. I didn't learn a thing from this except that Patrick Curry adores Tolkien and thinks he had sound opinions - and that, I didn't especially need to know.

(Note - this review has been edited since the author pointed out the word 'Tolkien' was misspelled throughout, in which he was quite right. The spelling has been corrected accordingly, with apologies for the carelessness.)
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Response, 23 July 2006
By 
PMC (London Great Britain) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Defending Middle-Earth: Tolkien, Myth and Modernity (Paperback)
This is a brief response to the review posted by "Hello". One, I would be more impressed if "Hello" at least knew how to spell Tolkien's name. And two, for an alternative view, please see the positive opinions (not extracted under torture) of Ursula Le Guin, Tom Shippey and David Abram, viewable via the American (Houghton Mifflin) pb edition.

Patrick Curry
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A miserable and defensive book, 2 Dec 2010
This review is from: Defending Middle-Earth: Tolkien, Myth and Modernity (Paperback)
This is not a book for Tolkien-lovers so much as it's a book for those who harbour a pathological grudge against the modern world and the people in it. Curry's 'technique' - such as it is - is to venomously savage any critic of Tolkien who has argued that Tolkien was something of an old Tory who liked the countryside as long as he himself didn't have to work in it (probably worried about 'overpopulation' messing up his beautiful countryside as well). Maybe the critics were wrong. Maybe they were right. But there's adult discussion and debate, and then there's furious denunciation and personal attacks on the motives of those critics.

Tolkien WAS a great writer but not a saint. This is not a serious critique of his work, or even a useful defence of it, but rather a venting of spleen on Curry's part.
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Defending Middle-Earth: Tolkien, Myth and Modernity
Defending Middle-Earth: Tolkien, Myth and Modernity by Patrick Curry (Paperback - 16 Nov 1998)
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