12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
An essential book,
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This review is from: The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien (Paperback)
While one could argue - and some hardcore fans really do this - that the only places to search for something about Middle-Earth are in the stories themselves (and only the stories published while Tolkien was alive!) other find that the Author also has something to add from his private life. This collection of the Tolkien letters is centered around the fairy-tale author. It shows (but to a lesser degree) also fragments from the other world surrounding Tolkien, espc. World War II and his children.
But the most focus is naturally on the Author of "The Lord of the Rings" and the narrative process. We follow the process from the first letters suggestion that the sequel to "The Hobbit" is now beginning - and all the way to publication. And after publication, when first the reviews - then later on the letters from readers - are comming and discussed.
The first letter is a letter to Tolkiens fiancÃ© (his later wife) and she apears in and out of the letters, ending with the touching letters following her death. The last letter, written only a few days before Tolkien himself dies clearly shows an old and somewhat tired man, but still a man with the full intellectual potential.
The book is very essential for all readers of LOTR, but also for readers of the misc. biographies and analyses of Tolkien. My only complaint is that one of the editors - Christopher Tolkien - obviously took out some letters or removed parts from other letters that didn't "fit in". Only in that sense is this book crippled.