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An Absorbing and Essential Volume.
on 15 August 2003
One of the greatest literary figures of modern times, Tolkien is principally known as a novelist, scholar, mythologist, poet, essayist and philologist. However an element of the man that tends to go unnoticed is the fact that, on the basis of this volume at least, he was one of the greatest letter writers of the 20th century. Whether the reader is an avid consumer of all things Tolkien, or is just looking for an enjoyable book, this collection of letters will not fail to delight. There is much intriguing information on his writings to be gleaned from 'The Letters of JRR Tolkien' but there is a lot more besides. Even if one were to skip all letters refering to Middle Earth there would remain a large and fascinating chunk of the book to explore. We knew that Tolkien's literary imagination was remarkable, but what is revealed here is the staggering depth and breath of Tolkien's thought on all matters. The letters deal with an immense range of topics: religion, language, politics, art, literature, philosophy, current affairs, theology, history - the list is endless and wonderfully diverse. His style is lively and never bland or cumbersome to read. Original ideas and phrases that stick in the mind, seem to flow from his pen without effort.
The author that emerges from 'The Letters of JRR Tolkien' is a very human man, deeply religious, humble, affectionate and witty.
This is a delightful volume, relevant to anyone who has the remotest interest in literature or indeed any aspect of human affairs. It will provide enormous pleasure through many readings and re-readings