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A brilliant insight into how Middle-Earth was created
on 17 September 2003
The road to middle earth is one which Tolkein followed throughout his entire life. Shippey goes into great detail in describing how Tolkein created the Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, Silmarillion and all the other related works. He follows Tolkein's journey through life from his time in the trenches of world war 1 to his death nearly 60 years later still writing about middle-earth.
Shippey's work, similarly to 'Author of the Century', is compelling, rich and very educational. For anyone interested in history or language this is an excellent tool. Written by an Oxford scholar about the work of another Oxford scholar it contains numerous references to the great poems and sagas of the dark ages and how they were to influence a man who dealt with them as part of his everyday work. The way that Tolkein turned old, and sometimes meaningless, words into creatures and places and how he used the stories of old to create a modern myth is discussed in depth.
Indeed to read this book gives a greater insight into what Tolkein was trying to achieve and even how his books should be read. The stories alone are fascinating but they lead to a yearning for more information and greater knowledge which this book provides.
For anyone looking to expand their knowledge of writing, history or middle-earth itself this book is invaluable. 'Author of the Century' by the same author is very similar and sometimes overlapping but certainly the next step for anyone who enjoys this book and 'Realm of the Ring Lords' by Laurence Gardner is also a fascinating addition along the deconstucting history line. Read on and enjoy.