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Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-earth Kindle Edition
|Length: 432 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled|
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Top Customer Reviews
Garth is familiar with Tolkien, his closest friends, and the broad context of World War I and the British Army's role in France and Belgium.
What emerges is a clear outline of the earliest fragments of Tolkien's mythology.
I had always thought Middle-earth, along with Tolkien's created languages of elves and dwarves and others, was a response to the losses of the Great War. Instead, it was beginning even before Tolkien joined the Army.
There may be more detailed, and more extended explorations of Tolkien's war experience. (I have seen examples listed in Amazon, with helpful reviews.)
But Garth's study is readable, convincing, freshly insightful, and profoundly satisfying, as a standalone monograph for a general readership in Tolkieniana.
Very highly recommended!
John Gough - Deakin University - email@example.com
With Peter Jackson's multi-million dollar Hobbit trilogy mid-way through and the centenary of WWI - the 'Great War' - rapidly approaching, John Garth's book on Tolkien's early life and his experiences in that conflict, is ripe for the reading, both for admirers of Tolkien and his literary and imaginative work, those generally interested in the continuing evolution of our culture, and perhaps especially those who think of Tolkien as a reactionary and escapist. Personally I think Garth does a splendid job of examining these early formative years of Tolkien's life and their complex interweaving into some of the most traumatic episodes of the previous troubled and bloody century.
Admirers of Tolkien's achievements, and Garth is clearly one such, will doubtless find themselves largely in agreement with his sympathetic and nuanced readings of both the author's evolving corpus and it's broader context. Certainly he succeeds in his stated aim of giving 'Tolkien's early poetry and prose the serious consideration they deserve'. He's frequently at pains to counter the increasingly common views from certain quarters that Tolkien is merely a backwards looking nostalgic escapist. I think Garth succeeds in making a solid case to rebut the most simplistic of such charges of this type as are laid at Tolkien's door, also noting that 'No one has defended Tolkien more eloquently against the charge of 'escapism' than Tolkien himself.Read more ›
Garth also links what Tolkien was creating with his languages, poetry and growing mythology with the events in his life, providing insight into how he transformed his experiences into literature and language. For anyone interested in the evolution of Tolkien's mythology and how Tom Shippey could justifiably call him one of the traumatised authors from the Great War, then this book provides that story. The postscript, in particular, shows how his later more famous works - The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings - were invigorated and directed by his wartime experiences. Garth wonders that, if there had been no Great War, if Tolkien's legacy would have been merely one of a minor craftsman (like William Morris) or a brilliant academic? "Middle-earth, I suspect, looks so engagingly familiar to us, and speaks to us so eloquently, because it was born with the modern world and marked by the same terrible birth pangs". Garth overwhelmingly demonstrates the truth of this statement.
John Garth narrates his own book and proves to be an excellent reader, bringing the words and descriptions to life. Incredibly detailed, often moving, it is not always an easy listen, but it is a much-needed supplement to Humphrey Carpenter's authorised biography from thirty years ago.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Persevere with this book, author tends to go off in a tangent and it is difficult to take the writing all in. Definetly best to read in a quiet room with no noise 😗Published 7 months ago by fran
Totally awesome. I advise very Tolkien fan to buy it. Explains lots of what shaped Tolkien's legendarium.Published 9 months ago by Paola
I took the book to a meeting on 11 11 2014 and John signed it for me with the date. I will give this to yank friend .He will wet himself when he looks at the book.PeterPublished 18 months ago by peter cousin
Having only read Humphrey Carpenter's biography of JRR Tolkien prior to this one I don't think I came to a full appreciation of how deep the Great War's influence on Tolkien was... Read morePublished on 18 Nov. 2004
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