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

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Houghton Mifflin, 2001 - Biography & Autobiography - 347 pages
4 Reviews
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' FAIRIY 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.

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Review: JRR Tolkien: Author of the Century

User Review  - Summer Brennan - Goodreads

Slightly silly title, fantastic literary analysis of Tolkein. Maybe one of the nerdiest books I've read, but the prose was great and it was very moving. Highly recommend for anyone who enjoyed Tolkein. Read full review

Review: JRR Tolkien: Author of the Century

User Review  - Julie Davis - Goodreads

This book is finished only in that I went through and read the parts of interest to me, such as Shippey's commentary about Tolkien's representations of evil in the book, etc. I read some of everything ... Read full review

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About the author (2001)

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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