Synopses & Reviews
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.
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.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments -- Foreword : author of the century -- Hobbit : re-inventing middle-earth -- Lord of the rings (1) : mapping out a plot -- Lord of the rings (2) : concepts of evil -- Lord of the rings (3) : the mythic dimension -- Silmarillion : the work of his heart -- Shorter works : doubts, fears, autobiographies -- Afterword : the followers and the critics.