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

By (author) Tom Shippey

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The definitive critical study of Tolkien's greatest works by the respected and world renowned Tolkien scholar Professor T.A. Shippey. Following the unprecedented and universal acclaim for The Lord of the Rings, the respected academic and world-renowned Tolkien scholar, Professor Tom Shippey, presents us with a fascinating and informed companion to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien, in particular focusing on The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. Written in a clear and accessible style, Tolkien: Author of the Century reveals why all of these books will be timeless, and shows how even such complex works as The Silmarillion can be read enjoyably. Taking issue with the uninformed criticism that has often been levelled at Tolkien and fantasy in general, Professor Shippey offers a new approach to Tolkien, to fantasy and to the importance of language in literature, and demonstrates how his books form part of a live and continuing tradition of storytelling that can trace its roots back through Grimm's Fairy Tales to the Elder Edda and Beowulf.

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  • Paperback | 384 pages
  • 128 x 192 x 26mm | 281.23g
  • 20 Aug 2001
  • HarperCollins Publishers
  • HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
  • London
  • English
  • With index
  • 0261104012
  • 9780261104013
  • 205,862

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Author Information

Professor Tom Shippey taught at Oxford, overlapping chronologically with Professor Tolkien and teaching the same syllabus, giving him an intimate familiarity with the poems and the languages which formed the main stimulus to Tolkien's imagination. He subsequently held the same Chair of English Language and Medieval Literature at Leeds University which Tolkien held early in his career, and currently holds the Walter J. Ong Chair of Humanities at Saint Louis University, USA.

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Review quote

'Shippey's exploration of Tolkien's themes, especially the nature of evil, is superb' Independent 'A timely, erudite and eminently readable book' Evening Standard 'Shippey's research seems limitless. He writes with unusual clarity and presents his arguments well' Sunday Times 'Scholarly and thorough examination of Tolkien's work!a definitive study' Catholic Herald

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Review text

Tolkien fanatics are in for a treat with this latest look at his processes of writing, his works and his sources of inspiration. Tolkien's fascination with the relationships between related languages and their history (reflected in his professional interest in Old and Middle English) helped him create the world of the hobbits, according to Shippey, who argues that Tolkien wanted to draw on a past world when he created Middle Earth which he thought existed in a past collective consciousness. An interesting re-examination of the man through his works. (Kirkus UK)

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