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Tolkien and the Great War : the threshold of Middle-earth / John Garth.

By: Garth, John.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 2003Description: xviii, 398 p. : ill., maps ; 25 cm.ISBN: 0618331298; 9780618331291.Subject(s): Tolkien, J. R. R. (John Ronald Reuel), 1892-1973 -- Childhood and youth | Tolkien, J. R. R. (John Ronald Reuel), 1892-1973 -- Knowledge -- History | Literature and history -- Great Britain -- History -- 20th century | World War, 1914-1918 -- England -- Literature and the war | Soldiers' writings, English -- History and criticism | Fantasy fiction, English -- History and criticism | Authors, English -- 20th century -- Biography | Soldiers -- Great Britain -- Biography | World War, 1914-1918 -- England | Middle Earth (Imaginary place) | War in literatureDDC classification: 828/.91209 | B
Contents:
Part 1: The immortal four -- Part 2: Tears unnumbered -- Part 3: The lonely isle.
Summary: This book tells the full story of how Tolkien embarked on the creation of Middle-earth as the world around him was plunged into the catastrophe of World War I. It reveals the horror and heroism that he experienced as a signals officer in the Battle of the Somme and introduces the circle of friends who spurred his mythology into life. It shows how, after two of these brilliant young men were killed, Tolkien pursued the dream they had all shared by launching his epic of good and evil, using his mythic imagination not to escape from reality but to reflect and transform the cataclysm of his generation. Author Garth argues that this foundation is the key to Middle-earth's enduring power. While his contemporaries surrendered to disillusionment, he kept enchantment alive, reshaping an entire literary tradition into a form that resonates to this day.--From publisher description.
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Item type Current location Call number Status Date due Barcode
Book University of Texas At Tyler
Stacks - 3rd Floor
PR6039 .O32 Z647 2003 (Browse shelf) Available 0000001736693

Includes bibliographical references (p. 371-382) and index.

Part 1: The immortal four -- Part 2: Tears unnumbered -- Part 3: The lonely isle.

This book tells the full story of how Tolkien embarked on the creation of Middle-earth as the world around him was plunged into the catastrophe of World War I. It reveals the horror and heroism that he experienced as a signals officer in the Battle of the Somme and introduces the circle of friends who spurred his mythology into life. It shows how, after two of these brilliant young men were killed, Tolkien pursued the dream they had all shared by launching his epic of good and evil, using his mythic imagination not to escape from reality but to reflect and transform the cataclysm of his generation. Author Garth argues that this foundation is the key to Middle-earth's enduring power. While his contemporaries surrendered to disillusionment, he kept enchantment alive, reshaping an entire literary tradition into a form that resonates to this day.--From publisher description.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Interest in J.R.R. Tolkien has soared since the release of Peter Jackson's film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings. With the upcoming release of the third installment, these two titles are sure to generate interest among academic and public library patrons alike. Duriez's book celebrates the friendship of two great fantasists, Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, whose companionship bore much fruit, as seen in Lewis's many Christian and children's books (e.g., The Chronicles of Narnia) and in Tolkien's great stories of Middle-earth. Duriez, who has written extensively on both authors, here chronicles their friendship from the time they first met at Oxford University in 1926 until Lewis's death in 1963. As Duriez observes, their influence on each other was immense, and their common interest in mythology grew stronger over time. Tolkien, a devout Christian, led Lewis to Christianity in 1932, convincing him that Christianity was a myth that really happened. In later years, Lewis would in turn encourage Tolkien to finish The Lord of the Rings. Although their friendship eventually cooled, they never lost touch. Tolkien helped get Lewis into Cambridge in 1954 and was greatly saddened when he died a decade later. Duriez handles both men's lives with great care, tackling their strengths and shortcomings equally. Garth's book explores a chapter of Tolkien's life that is not as well known-his involvement in World War I-and places his early poetry and prose within the context of the war. We learn that Tolkien served in the Battle of the Somme and lost two of his best friends during the war. We also learn of the enormous impact those friendships had on the writer. But as Garth shows, Tolkien didn't become disillusioned, as did most men of his generation. Instead, he transformed his grief into a mythology of good vs. evil that culminated in his famed masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings. During his research, Garth, a London-based journalist, had the complete cooperation of the Tolkien estate, which allowed him access to Tolkien's wartime papers. His narrative is gripping from start to finish and offers important new insights. Both books are highly recommended for all collections.-Ron Ratliff, Kansas State Univ. Lib., Manhattan (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Author notes provided by Syndetics

John Garth studied English at Oxford University and has since worked as a newspaper journalist in London. A long-standing taste for the works of Tolkien, combined with an interest in the First World War, fueled the five years of research

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