The Road to Middle-Earth: How J. R. R. Tolkien Created a New Mythology

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“Uniquely qualified to explicate Tolkien’s worldview,” this journey into the roots of the Lord of the Rings is a classic in its own right (Salon.com).

From beloved epic fantasy classic to record-breaking cinematic success, J.R.R. Tolkien's story of four brave hobbits has enraptured the hearts and minds of generations. Now, readers can go deeper into this enchanting lore with a revised edition of Tom Shippey's classic exploration of Middle-earth.
 
From meditations on Tolkien's inspiration to analyses of the influences of his professional background, The Road to Middle-earth takes a closer look at the novels that made Tolkien a legend. Shippey also illuminates Tolkien's more difficult works set in the same world, including The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, and the myth cycle, and examines the remarkable twelve-volume History of Middle-earth, written by J.R.R.'s son Christopher Tolkien.
 
At once a celebration of a beloved classic and a revealing literary study, The Road to Middle-earth is required reading for fantasy fans and English literature scholars alike.
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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.
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Additional Information

Publisher
HMH
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Published on
Apr 8, 2014
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Pages
416
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ISBN
9780547524412
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Criticism / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
Literary Criticism / Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology
Literary Criticism / Science Fiction & Fantasy
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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The definitive Tolkien companion—an indispensable guide to The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and more, from the author of The Road to Middle-earth.
 
This “highly erudite celebration and exploration of Tolkien’s works [is] enormous fun,” declared the Houston Chronicle, and Tom Shippey, a prominent medievalist and scholar of fantasy, “deepens your understanding” without “making you forget your initial, purely instinctive response to Middle-earth and hobbits.”
 
In a clear and accessible style, Shippey offers a new approach to Tolkien, to fantasy, and to the importance of language in literature. He breaks down The Lord of the Rings as a linguistic feast for the senses and as a response to the human instinct for myth. Elsewhere, he examines The Hobbit’s counterintuitive relationship to the heroic world of Middle-earth; demonstrates the significance of The Silmarillion to Tolkien’s canon; and takes an illuminating look at lesser-known works in connection with Tolkien’s life. Furthermore, he ties all these strands together in a continuing tradition that traces its roots back through Grimms’ Fairy Tales to Beowulf.
 
“Shippey’s commentary is the best so far in elucidating Tolkien’s lovely myth,” wrote Harper’s Magazine. J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century is “a triumph” (Chicago Sun-Times) that not only gives readers a deeper understanding of Tolkien and his work, but also serves as an entertaining introduction to some of the most influential novels ever written.
The definitive guide to the origin of J.R.R. Tolkien’s books, from The Hobbit to The History of Middle-earth series – includes unpublished Tolkien extracts and poetry.

The Road to Middle-Earth is a fascinating and accessible exploration of J.R.R.Tolkien’s creativity and the sources of his inspiration. Tom Shippey shows in detail how Tolkien’s professional background led him to write The Hobbit and how he created a work of timeless charm for millions of readers. He discusses the contribution of The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales to Tolkien’s great myth-cycle, showing how Tolkien’s more ‘complex’ works can be read enjoyably and seriously by readers of his earlier books, and goes on to examine the remarkable 12-volume History of Middle-earth by Tolkien’s son and literary heir Christopher Tolkien, which traces the creative and technical processes through which Middle-earth evolved. The core of the book, however, concentrates on The Lord of the Rings as a linguistic and cultural map, as a twisted web of a story, and as a response to the inner meaning of myth and poetry.

By following the routes of Tolkien’s own obsessions – the poetry of languages and myth – The Road to Middle-earth shows how Beowulf, The Lord of the Rings, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, the Elder Edda and many other works form part of a live and continuing tradition of literature. It takes issue with many basic premises of orthodox criticism and offers a new approach to Tolkien, to fantasy, and to the importance of language in literature.

This new edition is revised and expanded, and includes a previously unpublished lengthy analysis of Peter Jackson’s film adaptations and their effect on Tolkien’s work.

Since its debut in 1990, The Wheel of Time® by Robert Jordan has captivated millions of readers around the globe with its scope, originality, and compelling characters.

Over the course of fifteen books and millions of words, the world that Jordan created grew in depth and complexity. However, only a fraction of what Jordan imagined ended up on the page, the rest going into his personal files.

Now The Wheel of Time Companion sheds light on some of the most intriguing aspects of the world, including biographies and motivations of many characters that never made it into the books, but helped bring Jordan's world to life.

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The Wheel of Time Companion will be required reading for The Wheel of Time's millions of fans.

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At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

The definitive Tolkien companion—an indispensable guide to The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and more, from the author of The Road to Middle-earth.
 
This “highly erudite celebration and exploration of Tolkien’s works [is] enormous fun,” declared the Houston Chronicle, and Tom Shippey, a prominent medievalist and scholar of fantasy, “deepens your understanding” without “making you forget your initial, purely instinctive response to Middle-earth and hobbits.”
 
In a clear and accessible style, Shippey offers a new approach to Tolkien, to fantasy, and to the importance of language in literature. He breaks down The Lord of the Rings as a linguistic feast for the senses and as a response to the human instinct for myth. Elsewhere, he examines The Hobbit’s counterintuitive relationship to the heroic world of Middle-earth; demonstrates the significance of The Silmarillion to Tolkien’s canon; and takes an illuminating look at lesser-known works in connection with Tolkien’s life. Furthermore, he ties all these strands together in a continuing tradition that traces its roots back through Grimms’ Fairy Tales to Beowulf.
 
“Shippey’s commentary is the best so far in elucidating Tolkien’s lovely myth,” wrote Harper’s Magazine. J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century is “a triumph” (Chicago Sun-Times) that not only gives readers a deeper understanding of Tolkien and his work, but also serves as an entertaining introduction to some of the most influential novels ever written.
The definitive guide to the origin of J.R.R. Tolkien’s books, from The Hobbit to The History of Middle-earth series – includes unpublished Tolkien extracts and poetry.

The Road to Middle-Earth is a fascinating and accessible exploration of J.R.R.Tolkien’s creativity and the sources of his inspiration. Tom Shippey shows in detail how Tolkien’s professional background led him to write The Hobbit and how he created a work of timeless charm for millions of readers. He discusses the contribution of The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales to Tolkien’s great myth-cycle, showing how Tolkien’s more ‘complex’ works can be read enjoyably and seriously by readers of his earlier books, and goes on to examine the remarkable 12-volume History of Middle-earth by Tolkien’s son and literary heir Christopher Tolkien, which traces the creative and technical processes through which Middle-earth evolved. The core of the book, however, concentrates on The Lord of the Rings as a linguistic and cultural map, as a twisted web of a story, and as a response to the inner meaning of myth and poetry.

By following the routes of Tolkien’s own obsessions – the poetry of languages and myth – The Road to Middle-earth shows how Beowulf, The Lord of the Rings, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, the Elder Edda and many other works form part of a live and continuing tradition of literature. It takes issue with many basic premises of orthodox criticism and offers a new approach to Tolkien, to fantasy, and to the importance of language in literature.

This new edition is revised and expanded, and includes a previously unpublished lengthy analysis of Peter Jackson’s film adaptations and their effect on Tolkien’s work.

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