Tales Before Narnia: The Roots of Modern Fantasy and Science Fiction

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In his acclaimed collection Tales Before Tolkien, Douglas A. Anderson illuminated the sources, inspirations, and influences that fired J.R.R. Tolkien’s genius. Now Anderson turns his attention to Tolkien’s colleague and friend C. S. Lewis, whose influence on modern fantasy, through his beloved Narnia books, is second only to Tolkien’s own.

In many ways, Lewis’s influence has been even wider than Tolkien’s. For in addition to the Narnia series, Lewis wrote groundbreaking works of science fiction, urban fantasy, and religious allegory, and he came to be regarded as among the most important Christian writers of the twentieth century. It will come as no surprise, then, that such a wide-ranging talent drew inspiration from a variety of sources. Here are twenty of the tributaries that fed Lewis’s unique talent, among them:

“The Wood That Time Forgot: The Enchanted Wood,” taken from a never-before-published fantasy by Lewis’s biographer and friend, Roger Lancelyn Green, that directly inspired The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; E. Nesbit’s charming “The Aunt and Amabel,” in which a young girl enters another world by means of a wardrobe; “The Snow Queen,” by Hans Christian Andersen, featuring the abduction of a young boy by a woman as cruel as she is beautiful; and many more, including works by Charles Dickens, Kenneth Grahame, G. K. Chesterton, and George MacDonald, of whom Lewis would write, “I have never concealed the fact that I regarded him as my master.”

Full of fascinating insights into Lewis’s life and fiction, Tales Before Narnia is the kind of book that will be treasured by children and adults alike and passed down lovingly from generation to generation.

INCLUDING SEVENTEEN MORE WORKS BY THE PROGENITORS OF MODERN FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION:
“Tegnér’s Drapa” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“The Magic Mirror” by George MacDonald
“Undine” by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué
“Letters from Hell: Letter III” by Valdemar Thisted
“Fastosus and Avaro” by John Macgowan
“The Tapestried Chamber; or, The Lady in the Sacque” by Sir Walter Scott
“The Story of the Goblins Who Stole a Sexton” by Charles Dickens
“The Child and the Giant” by Owen Barfield
“A King’s Lesson” by William Morris
“The Waif Woman: A Cue—From a Saga” by Robert Louis Stevenson
“First Whisper of The Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame
“The Wish House” by Rudyard Kipling
“Et in Sempiternum Pereant” by Charles Williams
“The Dragon’s Visit” by J.R.R. Tolkien
“The Coloured Lands” by G. K. Chesterton
“The Man Who Lived Backwards” by Charles F. Hall
“The Dream Dust Factory” by William Lindsay Gresham
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About the author

Douglas A. Anderson, a leading American Tolkien scholar, is acknowledged as the worldwide expert on the textual history of The Hobbit. He has contributed the text notes for all Houghton Mifflin Tolkien editions for more than a decade. He is also a bookseller, formerly in Ithaca, New York, now in northern Indiana.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Del Rey
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Published on
Mar 25, 2008
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Pages
352
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ISBN
9780345504432
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Anthologies (multiple authors)
Fiction / Fantasy / Collections & Anthologies
Fiction / Literary
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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A PBS Great American Read Top 100 Pick

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell by chance into the hands of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins.

From Sauron's fastness in the Dark Tower of Mordor, his power spread far and wide. Sauron gathered all the Great Rings to him, but always he searched for the One Ring that would complete his dominion.

When Bilbo reached his eleventy-first birthday he disappeared, bequeathing to his young cousin Frodo the Ruling Ring and a perilous quest: to journey across Middle-earth, deep into the shadow of the Dark Lord, and destroy the Ring by casting it into the Cracks of Doom.

The Lord of the Rings tells of the great quest undertaken by Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring: Gandalf the Wizard; the hobbits Merry, Pippin, and Sam; Gimli the Dwarf; Legolas the Elf; Boromir of Gondor; and a tall, mysterious stranger called Strider.

This new edition includes the fiftieth-anniversary fully corrected text setting and, for the first time, an extensive new index.

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973), beloved throughout the world as the creator of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion, was a professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford, a fellow of Pembroke College, and a fellow of Merton College until his retirement in 1959. His chief interest was the linguistic aspects of the early English written tradition, but while he studied classic works of the past, he was creating a set of his own.
Terry Brooks. David Eddings. George R. R. Martin. Robin Hobb. The top names in modern fantasy all acknowledge J. R. R. Tolkien as their role model, the author whose work inspired them to create their own epics. But what writers influenced Tolkien himself? Here, internationally recognized Tolkien expert Douglas A. Anderson has gathered the fiction of authors who sparked Tolkien’s imagination in a collection destined to become a classic in its own right.

Andrew Lang’s romantic swashbuckler, “The Story of Sigurd,” features magic rings, an enchanted sword, and a brave hero loved by two beautiful women— and cursed by a ferocious dragon. Tolkien read E. A. Wyke-Smith’s “The Marvelous Land of Snergs” to his children, delighting in these charming tales of a pixieish people “only slightly taller than the average table.” Also appearing in this collection is a never-before-published gem by David Lindsay, author of Voyage to Arcturus, a novel which Tolkien praised highly both as a thriller and as a work of philosophy, religion, and morals.

In stories packed with magical journeys, conflicted heroes, and terrible beasts, this extraordinary volume is one that no fan of fantasy or Tolkien should be without. These tales just might inspire a new generation of creative writers.

Tales Before Tolkien: 22 Magical Stories

“The Elves” by Ludwig Tieck
“The Golden Key” by George Macdonald
“Puss-Cat Mew” by E. H. Knatchbull-Hugessen
“The Griffin and the Minor Canon” by Frank R. Stockton
“The Demon Pope” by Richard Garnett
“The Story of Sigurd” by Andrew Lang
“The Folk of the Mountain Door” by William Morris
“Black Heart and White Heart” by H. Rider Haggard
“The Dragon Tamers” by E. Nesbit
“The Far Islands” by John Buchan
“The Drawn Arrow” by Clemence Housman
“The Enchanted Buffalo” by L. Frank Baum
“Chu-bu and Sheemish” by Lord Dunsany
“The Baumhoff Explosive” by William Hope Hodgson
“The Regent of the North” by Kenneth Morris
“The Coming of the Terror” by Arthur Machen
“The Elf Trap” by Francis Stevens
“The Thin Queen of Elfhame” by James Branch Cabell
“The Woman of the Wood” by A. Merritt
“Golithos the Ogre” by E. A. Wyke-Smith
“The Story of Alwina” by Austin Tappan Wright
“A Christmas Play” by David Lindsay
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