on 12 May 2003
Myth & Middle Earth
I have for a long time been interested in Dark Age and Medieval history and the myths and legends that are a part of it. I read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings a few years ago to see what all the fuss was about, and, although I enjoyed the stories, I felt a little disappointed by the experience. I bought this book to see if I had missed something.
The Preface gives a brief overview of Tolkien, his works and the book's content.
The Preliminary Mythology Note mentions ancient works which have been used as reference in the comparisons.
Chapters 1 and 2 give an overview of Tolkien's life and his area of expertise respectively.
Chapters 3 to 14 concentrate on the races, characters, creatures and beings represented in Tolkien's books and compares them to those from myth and legend.
Chapter 15 summarises how these traditional folk tales fit into Tolkien's books. It also makes the important point that Tolkien didn't take the traditional tales and simply re-tell them, but that he used them for reference and influence to tell his own unique stories.
This book does a good job of explaining the influences on Tolkien's works, whilst allowing the reader to make up their own mind whether to agree with the comparisons. I'm glad that I bought and read this book. It has certainly made me regard Tolkien's works in a new light.