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Tolkien, Race and Cultural History Paperback – 15 Sep 2010

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; 2008 edition (15 Sept. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230272843
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230272842
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.4 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 881,317 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


'Accessible, sensible, and intellectually rich.' - Janice M. Bogstad, Seven: An Anglo-American Literary Review

Winner of the 2010 Mythopoeic Scholarship Award in Inklings Studies

Short listed for the Katharine Briggs Award 2009

'Dimitra Fimi's Tolkien, Race and Cultural History traces the evolution of the legendarium with admirable care...This scholarly yet approachable book is filled with...surprising fragments.'
- Jon Barnes, Times Literary Supplement

'Fimi's book reads so well that it's hard to believe that it's an academic tome.'
- Henry Gee, Mallorn

'Fimi's study is well worth reading for the specialist as well as (or even more so) for the general reader...Fimi's book has given us some answers but has also opened up some avenues for future research.What more can we ask for?'
- Thomas Honegger, Friedrich-Schiller-Universitat, Germany

'This book is a fantastic and original work on Tolkien and I highly recommend it to all serious Tolkien fans and lovers.'

'...a rich study into Tolkien's creative impulses and the influences that worked on those impulses in the course of a long creative life...any reader interested in the work of J. R. R. in for a treat. The book is intelligently argued and full of interesting ideas and approaches, offering fresh insights into Tolkien's will find plenty of stimulating and thought-provoking material to make the book well worth reading.'
- Nils-Lennart Johannesson, English Today

'Until now, Tolkien as generally been studied in isolation, or as the father of modern fantasy-writing, but this book shows how his work was rooted in the mental world of his contemporaries and the immediately preceding generation. As Tolkien scholarship becomes more analytical, Fimi's study provides essential new insights.' - Jacqueline Simpson, Folklore

'Fimi's book is one of the most interesting and original analyses of Tolkien's subcreation that has been published for a long time...[and] should form part of the reading of any serious student of Tolkien.' - Charles E. Noad, Festival in the Shire Journal

Book Description

An accessible exploration of the evolution of Tolkien's mythology within the framework of its cultural and historical context

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Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent new book by Dr Dimitra Fimi. The author explores the cultural underpinnings behind the work of one of the twentieth century's greatest and most loved authors.

Dr Fimi provides an original analysis of Tolkien's earliest influences, backed by insightful new research exploring the development of elves from fairy-like creatures, to how they were eventually depicted in his books. I now know a lot more about the development of the elvish languages, and the elves cultural place in the history of middle-earth. This book has inspired me to revisit those parts of the books that I have perhaps glossed over before. I have just started re-reading the Lord of the Rings for the fifth time, and I have Dr Fimi's book open by my side. I will now endeavour to tackle the Silmarillion, something I have been a little daunted about until now.

This is, of course, an academic book, and should appeal to devout Tolkienists, but it will nevertheless be a great gift for all Tolkien fans - I couldn't quite wait, so Christmas came early for me this year!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dr. Fimi is a world recognized expert in Tolkien, all things Middle-Earth, and the background mythology used to create this world. She brings that world to clear light in her writings. Thoroughly readable and enlightening.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x8a12dee8) out of 5 stars 2 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8a137a80) out of 5 stars The Evolution Of A Masterwork 9 Dec. 2015
By John D. Cofield - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien's life work was the creation of "a mythology for England." Beginning in his school days before the First World War and continuing until a few months before his death in 1973, he wrote and rewrote a constantly evolving series of tales and poems. The works which are most familiar are "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings," but they make up only a small part of his overall efforts, which now include the posthumously published "The Silmarillion," "Unfinished Tales," and the twelve volume "History of Middle-earth." Dimitra Fimi has produced an invaluable study of the processes by which Tolkien's works developed and their roots in nineteenth and twentieth century literature, folklore, and history.

Fimi begins with an examination of the Victorian and Edwardian fascination with fairy culture and its influence on the young Tolkien. In later life Tolkien heaped scorn on the idea of fairies and elves as precious, fluttering, and silly creatures, but Fimi demonstrates that Tolkien's earliest writings were very much part of the "fairy cult." Next Fimi examines the effect Tolkien's lifelong passion for language had on his fiction. As a philologist or linguist he was fascinated by the development of languages and their influences on the cultures of the peoples who spoke them. Anyone who has read any of Tolkien's works with their passages written in his invented tongues and writing systems will be aware of that fascination, and Fimi does an admirable job of analysis. Part III, "From Myth to History," is the section I most enjoyed. Here Fimi discusses the changes Tolkien made to his cosmology as his story advanced beyond the First Age of Middle-earth struggles of the Elves against Morgoth into the Second and Third Ages, in which Morgoth's servant Sauron battled not only the Elves but also Men, Dwarves, and Hobbits. Although Tolkien despised allegorical writing, nevertheless the outside world inevitably intruded upon and influenced his creative processes, as Fimi makes clear in her discussions of Tolkien's views on history, race, and culture. Then in her Epilogue "From Fairies to Hobbits" Fimi returns to the fairies with a brief but very charming reference to Tolkien's last tale published in his lifetime, "Smith of Wootton Major," in which he acknowledged the influence of those scorned sprites.

Dimita Fimi is a lecturer in English Literature at the University of Wales Institute in Cardiff. This is a very scholarly work with many fascinating footnotes and an extensive bibliography. However, it is by no means unapproachable to the general reader. Any lover of Middle-earth will find much to savor here.
HASH(0x8ccf1798) out of 5 stars Four Stars 16 Mar. 2016
By Andie Jakubczyk - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
nicely informative
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