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J. R. R. Tolkien: Author of the Century Hardcover – 4 Sep 2000
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'Shippey's exploration of Tolkien's themes, especially the nature of evil, is superb' Independent 'A timely, erudite and eminently readable book' Evening Standard 'Shippey's research seems limitless. He writes with unusual clarity and presents his arguments well' Sunday Times 'Scholarly and thorough examination of Tolkien's work!a definitive study' Catholic Herald --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
From the Back Cover
Recent polls have consistently declared that J.R.R. Tolkien is 'the most influential author of the century', and 'The Lord of the Rings' is 'the book of the century'. In light of this, the respected academic and world-renowned Tolkien scholar Professor Tom Shippey presents us with a fascinating companion to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien, in particular focussing on 'The Hobbit', 'The Lord of the Rings' and 'The Silmarillion.'
The core of 'Tolkien:Author of the Century' consists of three chapters that examine 'The Lord of the Rings' as a linguistic and cultural map, as a twisted web of story, and as a response to the meaning of myth. It presents a truly unique argument to explain the nature of evil and also gives the reader a compelling insight into the complex interlacing of the many strands of the story as the narrative moves between characters, and of the unparalleled level of skill necessary to construct such a rich and complex story. The other chapters examine 'The Hobbit', explaining the hobbits' anachronistic relationship to the heroic world of Middle-earth, the fundamental importance of 'The Silmarillion' to the canon of Tolkien's work, and an illuminating look at 'Farmer Giles, Leaf by Niggle' and other lesser-known works in their connection to Tolkien's own life.
Written in a clear and accessible style, 'Tolkien:Author of the Century' reveals why all of these books will be timeless, and shows how even such difficult works such as 'The Silmarillion' can be read enjoyably, as it examines the bitter feuds, murders and betrayals among the Elves as they journeyed to Middle-earth and waged war on Morgoth, the first Dark Lord. Taking issue with the uninformed criticism that has often been levelled at Tolkien and fantasy in general, Professor Shippey offers a new approach to Tolkien, to fantasy and to the importance of language in literature, and demonstrates how 'The Hobbit', 'The Lord of the Rings' and 'The Silmarillion' form part of a live and continuing tradition of storytelling that can trace its roots back through 'Grimm's Fairy Tales' to the 'Elder Edda' and 'Beowulf'.
'J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century' gives the reader a deeper understanding of both Professor Tolkien and his most important works. It also serves as a learned and entertaining introductory companion to some of the finest and most influential works of fantasy fiction ever written.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The area in which I found this book to shine is Mr.Shippey's referrals to numerous books by many authors which support, or are dismisssed as they relate to, Tolkien and/or his works. Most of all he actually made me want to go and reread many of the books he references, which was both a delight & a burdomsome task. For all the books I've read that relate to J.R.R.Tolkien and/or his works I can honestly say that this one stands out as the best I've read in recent times & from the size of my library that's quite a praise to award.
Tolkien was a one-off, a master of language who could create wonderful worlds for our imaginations to inhabit. Many authors who followed in his wake have acknowledged his role in influencing them. He crafted imaginary countries and the people, cultures and languages needed to make them seem real. It would be difficult, well-nigh impossible, for anyone to better his literary achievement which had been many years in the making and was still not completed at the time of his death.
Any Tolkien fan will voraciously devour the pages of this fantastic biography of one of our most gifted British authors.
Even if you're not into literary criticism but just love the Tolkien books and worlds, I think you will enjoy this book too. You can tell Shippey deeply cares about the characters, stories, languages, poetry... as much as any fan. It doesn't pick apart or clinically analyse the books but only gives even more depth and perspective to your appreciation of them and Tolkien as a writer and creator.
If on the other hand you are looking for a rigorous critical study, this book fully achieves that too.
Shippey's own style of writing is pleasantly straight-forward and unpretentious, but with warmth and sensitivity, not forgetting humour.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An excellent book. Should be read by all fans of Tolkien and English people. The latter because Tolkien was trying to create (or discover) a new English mythology, as we English... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Kenneth Brown
I should, in the interests of transparency, declare an interest before proceeding to review this wonderful book. Read morePublished 17 months ago by James Brydon
An interesting survey of the major influences and the writing history of Professor Tolkien's major works. Read morePublished on 15 July 2014 by Nelsdorter
Tom Shippey's The Road To Middle Earth is so good that I found this in a bookshop and bought it, just like that.
What a disappointment. Read more
Really well written and incredibly informative, I learned a great deal about one of my favourite authors. Read morePublished on 6 Dec. 2013 by Alan Baxter
Shippey brings a tremendously erudite and accessible perspective on Tolkien's superlative and incomparable mythological cannon. Read morePublished on 16 July 2012 by Hill Walker