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J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century

J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century Cover

ISBN13: 9780618127641
ISBN10: 061812764x
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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 support of these claims, Tom Shippey, the prominent medievalist and scholar of fantasy, now presents us with a fascinating companion to the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, focusing in particular on The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. The core of the book 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. Shippey presents a unique argument to explain the nature of evil and gives readers a compelling insight into the complicated interweaving of many strands as the narrative moves between characters and into the remarkable skill behind the construction of such a rich and complex story.

Other chapters examine The Hobbit, explaining the hobbits' anachronistic relationship to the heroic world of Middle-earth; the fundamental importance of The Silmarillion to Tolkien's canon; and an illuminating look at Farmer Giles of Ham, Leaf by Niggle, and other lesser-known works in connection to Tolkien's life. With a clear and accessible style, Shippey offers a new approach to Tolkien, to fantasy, and to the importance of language in literature. He 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 Grimms' fairy tales to Beowulf. J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century not only gives readers a deeper understanding of Tolkien and his work, but also serves as a learned and entertaining introduction to some of the finest and most influential works of fantasy ever written.

Review:

"Shippey makes the convincing — and obvious, now that I think about it — case that The Lord of the Rings has much in common with Ulysses, in that it will take scholars years to parse out its sources and themes." Adrienne Miller, Esquire (read Esquire's entire review)

Book News Annotation:

Shippey, who taught at Oxford U. at the same time and with the same syllabus as Tolkien, argues in favor of Tolkien's literary merits and offers a unique and revealing reading of the books that introduced the imaginary world of Middle-earth. A meditation on the evolution of a modern myth that expanded our view of the ongoing struggle between good and evil, this study examines the criticisms leveled against Tolkein as well as how his influence has extended beyond literature.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

The definitive critical study of Tolkien's greatest works and a timely companion to the world of Middle-earth. The core of the book examines Tolkien's novels as linguistic maps with meaning and myth, and products of Tolkien's experiences as a combat veteran and artist.

Synopsis:

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 support of these claims, the prominent medievalist and scholar of fantasy Professor Tom Shippey now presents us with a fascinating companion to the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, focusing in particular on The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.

The core of the book examines The Lord of the Rings as a linguistic and cultural map and as a response to the meaning of myth. It presents a unique argument to explain the nature of evil and also gives the reader a compelling insight into the unparalleled level of skill necessary to construct such a rich and complex story. Shippey also examines The Hobbit, explaining the hobbits' anachronistic relationship to the heroic world of Middle-earth, and shows the fundamental importance of The Silmarillion to the canon of Tolkien's work. He offers as well an illuminating look at other, lesser-known works in their connection to Tolkien's life.

About the Author

Tom Shippey taught at Oxford University at the same time as J.R.R. Tolkien and with the same syllabus, which gives him an intimate familiarity with the works that fueled Tolkien's imagination. He subsequently held the chair of English language and medieval literature at Leeds University that Tolkien had previously held. He currently holds the Walter J. Ong Chair of Humanities at St. Louis University in Missouri.

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

crowyhead, August 22, 2006 (view all comments by crowyhead)
This book really brought home to me that what I love about J.R.R. Tolkien is the sheer geekiness of his works -- Tolkien totally speaks to what a friend of mine would call my "inner tweed." I mean, I love the stories and everything, and I probably wouldn't be into him if it weren't for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. But what really holds my attention and spurs me to read things like The Silmarillion and makes me keep coming back to Tolkien is the sheer depth of impossible detail. What Shippey does in this book is call attention to that detail; he brings out the things that one notices half-consciously while reading the novels. His discussion of the Council of Elrond demonstrates that Tolkien gave each character a style of speaking based on the history of the race and the construction of that race's language. For example, of all the characters who take part in the council, Elrond has the most archaic mode of speech -- which makes sense, as (possibly barring Gandalf) he is by far the oldest person present. These are all things that don't consciously register while you read the scene, but once they're pointed out you really come to appreciate Tolkien's abilities.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780618127641
Subtitle:
Author of the Century
Author:
Shippey, T. A.
Author:
Shippey, Tom
Author:
Shippey, T. A.
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Location:
Boston
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
Subject:
History and criticism
Subject:
Middle earth (Imaginary place)
Subject:
Criticism and interpretation
Subject:
Fantasy fiction, English
Subject:
Middle Earth
Subject:
Tolkien, J. R. R. (John Ronald Reuel), 1892-1
Subject:
Literary Criticism : General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Series Volume:
94-15
Publication Date:
May 2001
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 x 1 in 1.24 lb

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » A to Z

J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 384 pages Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - English 9780618127641 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Shippey makes the convincing — and obvious, now that I think about it — case that The Lord of the Rings has much in common with Ulysses, in that it will take scholars years to parse out its sources and themes." (read Esquire's entire review)
"Synopsis" by , The definitive critical study of Tolkien's greatest works and a timely companion to the world of Middle-earth. The core of the book examines Tolkien's novels as linguistic maps with meaning and myth, and products of Tolkien's experiences as a combat veteran and artist.
"Synopsis" by ,
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 support of these claims, the prominent medievalist and scholar of fantasy Professor Tom Shippey now presents us with a fascinating companion to the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, focusing in particular on The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.

The core of the book examines The Lord of the Rings as a linguistic and cultural map and as a response to the meaning of myth. It presents a unique argument to explain the nature of evil and also gives the reader a compelling insight into the unparalleled level of skill necessary to construct such a rich and complex story. Shippey also examines The Hobbit, explaining the hobbits' anachronistic relationship to the heroic world of Middle-earth, and shows the fundamental importance of The Silmarillion to the canon of Tolkien's work. He offers as well an illuminating look at other, lesser-known works in their connection to Tolkien's life.

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