The Worlds of J. R. R. Tolkien

The Worlds of J. R. R. Tolkien : The Places That Inspired Middle-earth

4.42 (171 ratings by Goodreads)
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"Fascinating, gorgeously illustrated and thought-provoking. . . . [A] masterful book."-Elizabeth Hand, Washington Post

A lavishly illustrated look at the locales familiar to J. R. R. Tolkien, the creator of Middle-earth

This book takes you to the places that inspired J. R. R. Tolkien to create his fictional locations in The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and other classic works. Written by renowned Tolkien expert John Garth, The Worlds of J. R. R. Tolkien features a wealth of breathtaking illustrations, including Tolkien's own drawings, contributions from other artists, rare archival images, and spectacular color photos of contemporary locations across Britain and beyond, from the battlefields of World War I to Africa.

Garth identifies the locales that served as the basis for Hobbiton, the elven valley of Rivendell, the Glittering Caves of Helm's Deep, and many other settings in Middle-earth, from mountains and forests to rivers, lakes, and shorelands. He reveals the rich interplay between Tolkien's personal travels, his wide reading, and his deep scholarship as an Oxford don. Garth draws on his profound knowledge of Tolkien's life and work to shed light on the extraordinary processes of invention behind Tolkien's works of fantasy. He also debunks popular misconceptions about the inspirations for Middle-earth and puts forward strong new claims of his own.

An illustrated journey into the life and imagination of one of the world's best-loved authors, The Worlds of J. R. R. Tolkien provides a unique exploration of the relationship between the real and the fantastical and is an essential companion for anyone who wants to follow in Tolkien's footsteps.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 208 pages
  • 210 x 260 x 23.88mm | 1,111.3g
  • New Jersey, United States
  • English
  • 100 color illus.
  • 069119694X
  • 9780691196947
  • 305,299

Review quote

"Every page brings forth the elegiac tone of JRR Tolkien's work. . . . Irresistible. . . . [A] beautiful book. . . . Made me realise the impact that Tolkien has had on my life."---Tom Chivers, The Times "[The Worlds of J. R. R. Tolkien] is beautifully designed and produced . . . It's a magical book, one is both intricately researched and filled with gems of wonder."---Lorena Carrington, The Bone Lantern "John Garth's masterful study belongs on every Middle-earth scholar's shelf. Encyclopedic in its scope, it melds Tolkien's biography with his imagined worlds. From Morgoth to the Mewlips, no sub-created stone is left unturned. Lavishly illustrated with photographs, maps of both real and imagined lands, and art and illustrations by Tolkien and others, many hitherto unpublished, Garth's guidebook to the geography and history of Middle-earth is boggling in its breadth and depth. Its command of scholarship enhances it immeasurably. Each page illuminates with insights and dazzles with details. Time and again, the reader will marvel at how much knowledge Garth fits into 208 pages. The large (eight by ten inches) format amplifies the impact of the illustrations, whose reproductions here are of the highest quality. The two-column layout enhances readability. A weighty tome at two and three-quarters pounds, The Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien does not skimp on words or pictures. . . . In all, Garth's command of the life and works of the maker of Middle-earth make this book an essential work for those who wish to increase their understanding of the author. Tolkien scholarship is much the richer because of it."---Mike Foster, Mythlore "Tolkien scholar Garth, with the cooperation of the author's estate, introduces fellow Middle-earth fans to the locales, in Britain and throughout the world, that inspired settings in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and other Tolkien titles." * Publishers Weekly * "What John Garth adds to the ever-proliferating pile of Tolkien-related media is a careful eye and steady step. [In The Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien,] [h]e explores the intersections between this world and that of Tolkien's 'legendarium'. He traces inspirations from what the author saw, and how they may likely have evolved into what can be gleaned from his tales, letters, drafts, and sketches. . . . Whether new to Middle-Earth or a veteran pilgrim, anyone will learn much in this book."---John L. Murphy, New York Journal of Books "Generations of critics have studied Tolkien's sources in minute detail, but none has integrated information and insights with visuals as elegantly as John Garth has done in the lavishly illustrated The Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien. "---Sandra Miesel, Catholic World Report "Filled with beautiful photographs and drawings this book is both visually and mentally stunning. A great way to pass the time especially if you are a fan." * Cassandra Ms Place blog * "An extensive new study."---Vanessa Thorpe, The Observer "The leading Tolkien critic of the present generation . . . Garth . . . fills this new book with beautiful, opulent maps and photographs that animate the lush atmosphere of Tolkien's real and conjured worlds and yield great visual pleasure. At the same time Garth provides deep access to Tolkien's craft." * Choice * "John Garth's beautifully illustrated volume, The Worlds of J. R. R. Tolkien, reconstructs and theorizes Tolkien's earthly sources for Middle-earth. He leaves breadcrumbs for scholars of all stripes. Whether your curiosities lie in Switzerland or South Africa, in the Aeneid or The Great Wave off Kanagawa, something is bound to reel you in."---Becquer Seguin, Public Books "A fascinating, gorgeously illustrated and thought-provoking examination of the landscapes, cities and architecture that inspired Tolkien during his lifelong creation of Middle-earth. . . . Garth, a journalist as well as a Tolkien scholar, proves an exceptional guide to Middle-earth . . . [A] masterful book."---Elizabeth Hand, Washington Post "Five stars. This wonderful book is a collectable must. Packed to the covers with glorious illustrations, maps and photos old and modern, it's a scholarly work of art. . . . Heart-warming as well as revealing, it shows there are still surprises hidden in Tolkien's books."---Jon Wise, Weekend Sport "The Worlds of J. R. R. Tolkien: The Places That Inspired Middle-Earth by John Garth is an extensive and fairly exhaustive examination of the internal and external influences which Tolkien brought to the creation of Middle-Earth . . . [T]the most authoritative book you are likely to find."---Charles Packer, Review Graveyard
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About John Garth

John Garth is the author of the award-winning Tolkien and the Great War (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). A writer, editor, and consultant, he gives talks and teaches courses internationally. He is also a regular contributor to the Guardian, Daily Telegraph, and other leading publications. He lives in Hampshire, England. Twitter @JohnGarthWriter
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Rating details

171 ratings
4.42 out of 5 stars
5 51% (87)
4 40% (68)
3 9% (16)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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