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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Which biographical/thematic books about Tolkien's writing are worth reading?

malickfan
Gondor


Jun 12 2013, 9:45am

Post #1 of 12 (266 views)
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Which biographical/thematic books about Tolkien's writing are worth reading? Can't Post

I personally find the history, how's and why's of Tolkien's work as fascinating as the writing itself, and I was wondering whether anyone could reccomend some additions to my Tolkien Book Shelf. I have read and enjoyed Author of the Century and The Road to Middle Earth by Tom Shippey, Tolkien and the Great War by John Garth, and the Letters and Biography of Tolkien by Carpenter-perhaps what some would call the basics, but fascinating reading all the same.

I have also read The History of the Hobbit, and roughly half of the H.O.M.E thus far...is it worth borrowing/buying The Annontated Hobbit as well? I have heard good things about The JRR Tolkien Readers Guide and Companion, but it seems to be pretty pricey at the moment...

On an another note, are there any plans to re-release Pictures by JRR Tolkien/Artist and Illustrator anytime soon? I have yet to see any copies on sale anywhere, and Amazon seems to be little use (only foreign language versions seem to be for sale-my French/German is rather sketchy to say the least!).

‘As they came to the gates Cirdan the Shipwright came forth to greet them. Very tall he was, and his beard was long, and we was grey and old, save that his eyes were keen as stars; and he looked at them and bowed, and said ‘All is now ready.’

Perhaps the most fascinating Individual in Middle Earth



Findegil
The Shire

Jun 12 2013, 11:38am

Post #2 of 12 (153 views)
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The Annotated Hobbit [In reply to] Can't Post

is an essential work for the Tolkien enthusiast. Sorry that you find The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide to be pricey, it's good value for money considering that it's some two thousand pages! Currently the best price for it seems to be on Bookdepository.com. For some reason, J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator was allowed to go out of stock (if not out of print -- publishers make a distinction) on both sides of the Atlantic, but it has just been reprinted and is available once again from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, in stock on Amazon.com.

Wayne & Christina


malickfan
Gondor


Jun 12 2013, 11:49am

Post #3 of 12 (156 views)
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Thanks for the reply [In reply to] Can't Post

I think I will invest in The A.Hobbit, and The companion and guide is down to £31 on Amazon so I may give it a spin come pay day-but I have found in the past I have bought editions of books, only to find a new updated version out shortly afterward (Given we have had four new books by tolkien since 2006 I would think a update would be due soon).

As for Artist and illustrator-does it contain the same paintings/drawings as The Art of the Hobbit? I noticed both were edited by Hammnond and Scull and I don't want to duplicate anything.

‘As they came to the gates Cirdan the Shipwright came forth to greet them. Very tall he was, and his beard was long, and we was grey and old, save that his eyes were keen as stars; and he looked at them and bowed, and said ‘All is now ready.’

Perhaps the most fascinating Individual in Middle Earth



Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Jun 12 2013, 1:04pm

Post #4 of 12 (153 views)
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Wayne and Christina are too modest [In reply to] Can't Post

If you judge based on valuable information per dollar, their Companion and Guide is downright cheap, and they keep a constantly updated Addenda and Corrigenda on their website. Artist and Illustrator does not contain the same material as their new Art of the Hobbit. Both are essential works. As is (as they say), The Annotated Hobbit.

The other comment that I will add is that all of Verlyn Flieger's books are must-reads.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


bruinen
Bree

Jun 12 2013, 1:52pm

Post #5 of 12 (139 views)
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Alternate online source [In reply to] Can't Post

Alibris.com is a great alternate source for quality and rare used books.


wildespace
The Shire

Jun 12 2013, 2:59pm

Post #6 of 12 (128 views)
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Check your local library [In reply to] Can't Post

I borrowed 'Paintings by Tolkien' from my local library, and enjoyed it a lot. Didn't expect to see a picture of topless Edith though Wink

Tolkien: The Man and Myth is an interesting book.


acheron
Gondor


Jun 12 2013, 4:37pm

Post #7 of 12 (147 views)
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not biographical at all, but Paul Kocher's book has some excellent literary analysis [In reply to] Can't Post

Paul Kocher's Master of Middle-earth was published in 1972, so it doesn't contain anything regarding the Silmarillion or any of Tolkien's other later-published works, but for literary analysis of Lord of the Rings it is still an excellent read. Also analyzes some of Tolkien's shorter works -- On Fairy Stories and Leaf by Niggle and so on.

For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much -- the wheel, New York, wars, and so on -- while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man, for precisely the same reasons. -- Douglas Adams

(This post was edited by acheron on Jun 12 2013, 4:37pm)


Elizabeth
Valinor


Jun 12 2013, 7:02pm

Post #8 of 12 (116 views)
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Which half of HOME? [In reply to] Can't Post

If your collection doesn't include Morgoth's Ring (Vol. X) yet, I would add that to the "essentials" list because of the great background essays it includes, as well as the volumes on the LotR:
(HoME 6) The Return of the Shadow (1988)
(HoME 7) The Treason of Isengard (1989)
(HoME 8) The War of the Ring (1990)
(HoME 9) Sauron Defeated (1992)








squire
Valinor


Jun 12 2013, 7:47pm

Post #9 of 12 (115 views)
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Kocher is invaluable. [In reply to] Can't Post

I always promote him to any interested Tolkien fan.

It seems like just yesterday, but it was well over a year ago that the Reading Room read and discussed Brian Rosebury's Tolkien: A Cultural Phenomenon. As with Flieger and Kocher (and quite a few others, of course), Rosebury is an excellent follow-up to the indispensable Tom Shippey.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


malickfan
Gondor


Jun 12 2013, 7:48pm

Post #10 of 12 (110 views)
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I own the whole set [In reply to] Can't Post

I managed to pick them up pretty cheap on amazon last year, I have read Morgoth's Ring, War of the Jewles, Peoples, BLT 1, Return of the Shadow, Treason of Isenguard, and parts of the others. Fascinating but exhuasting reading! I think it will be a fair few weeks before I'm done (it's not exactly light reading is it?).

My favorite parts thus far: The Cottage of Lost Play (possibly the most evocative writing I've read by Tolkien), The Fall of Gondolin (wow!), The New Shadow, The early Trotter ideas, and the essay's on Cirdan, Tal Elmar and Dwarvish Language. The Lost Road and the Lay of Leithian sound great...

‘As they came to the gates Cirdan the Shipwright came forth to greet them. Very tall he was, and his beard was long, and we was grey and old, save that his eyes were keen as stars; and he looked at them and bowed, and said ‘All is now ready.’

Perhaps the most fascinating Individual in Middle Earth



Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Jun 12 2013, 9:03pm

Post #11 of 12 (134 views)
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Rateliff's 'The History of The Hobbit' [In reply to] Can't Post

In addition to the HOME volumes and The Annotated Hobbit, I suggest the Rateliff book, published in both 2-volume and a single volume editions.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


Findegil
The Shire

Jun 13 2013, 12:30pm

Post #12 of 12 (124 views)
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The two art books [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
As for Artist and illustrator-does it contain the same paintings/drawings as The Art of the Hobbit? I noticed both were edited by Hammnond and Scull and I don't want to duplicate anything.


There's naturally some duplication between the two books, but The Art of The Hobbit has many pictures we weren't able to include in Artist and Illustrator for lack of space, and more in colour. The new book also has some fresh thoughts about the Hobbit illustrations after more than a decade of further research, in a new text, and also comparative views.

Wayne & Christina

 
 

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