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The making of Middle-earth : a new look inside the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
2013
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  Library Journal Review

Even a world as fantastical as J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth has its roots in reality, and Snyder (European history, dean, Shackouls Honors Coll., Mississippi State Univ.; The World of King Arthur) is an expert guide through the historic context and literary influences of Tolkien's popular The Lord of the Rings. The chronicle might feel dense at times, but true Tolkien enthusiasts, who are already well versed in heavy backstory, will have no problem navigating the stories of Celtic Britain, World War I, philology, or the legends of King Arthur. Tolkien's own background is sparse, so those searching for a definitive personal account will have to look elsewhere, for instance, Humphrey Carpenter's J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography. However, Snyder brilliantly interweaves Tolkien's academic papers, letters, and reviews of his books, along with gorgeous illustrations and supplementary images, to enhance the trajectory of his creative career, giving readers the opportunity truly to see traces of Middle-earth in the history. Verdict Snyder provides fascinating insight into the literary mind of J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) and a comprehensive time line of Middle-earth, from its initial inception to the trilogy of films that brought the beloved world to a new generation.-Kate DiGirolomo, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Summary
J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings consistently tops polls as the best-loved literary work of all time. Now medieval scholar and Tolkien expert Christopher Snyder presents the most in-depth exploration yet of Tolkien's source materials for Middle-earth--from the languages, poetry, and mythology of medieval Europe and ancient Greece to the halls of Oxford and the battlefields of World War I. Fueled by the author's passion for all things Tolkien, this richly illustrated book also reveals the surprisingly pervasive influence of Tolkien's timeless fantasies on modern culture.
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