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J.R.R. Tolkien's Double Worlds and Creative Process: Language and Life Hardcover – February 15, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0230623149 ISBN-10: 023062314X Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; 1 edition (February 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 023062314X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230623149
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,680,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“This is a remarkable book—part memoir, part biography, part literary appreciation.  It offers a fascinating perspective on Tolkien’s life, scholarship, and fiction by someone uniquely placed to understand and connect them.  As a philologist of international standing, Zettersten presents valuable insights into Tolkien’s academic career; he reminds us of the immense contributions Tolkien made to the study of medieval language and literature, and how his scholarly life intertwined and interacted with his imaginative fiction. The whole exposition is grounded in Zettersten’s vivid recollections of his friendship with the ageing Tolkien in Oxford, and what emerges is a deeply affectionate, personal portrait of a master storyteller and his work.”--Richard Dance, Senior Lecturer in Old English, University of Cambridge

 “Zettersten's new biography of Tolkien is specially enlivened by the author's personal knowledge of him as a man and a scholar, through meetings in Oxford between 1959 and 1972; a common knowledge of the Scandinavian languages so important to Tolkien in his experiments with invented languages; and an extraordinary coincidence of interest in the same particular medieval text. This scholarly affinity gives to Zettersten an insider's view of the fruitful connection between philological research and myth-based, language-rich fiction. The writing is personal, and conveys a deep affection for Tolkien and a perhaps unusual insight into his absorption, in his later years, while ostensibly talking to his friend about philology, in his mythical, yet 'real' worlds.”—Derek Pearsall, Gurney Professor Emeritus, Harvard University

"A fascinating personal perspective on one of the most creative authors of the twentieth century.  Zettersten draws on recollections of his Oxford encounters with the aged Tolkien to portray a man obsessed with an inner world of fantasy that, for him, was almost as tactile as daily life. Well-written and intellectually stimulating, especially in regard to Tolkien’s 'code switching' between different languages and realities.”--John D. Niles, President, International Society of Anglo-Saxonists

“Many have written about the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien, but Zettersten's brilliant and enlightening book assesses Tolkien through the eyes of a fellow philologist. Both worked on the Middle English Ancrene Wisse, meeting frequently in the 60s and early 70s, Zettersten as a young scholar in his twenties and Tolkien after retirement. He calls their relationship 'some kind of father-son spirit or community of interests'.  Zettersten brings to life the figure of Tolkien as a sympathetic colleague and congenial host, enthusiastic about ancient languages, gifted at creating private languages and an inspiring story-teller. Although it was historical philology which brought them together, Zettersten admirably demonstrates the close connection between Tolkien's philological research and his creative writing. Both are ardent 'word lovers' and what emerges as we read this book is that the words, or the invention of languages, create the vessel into which the fiction is poured -- indeed the etymology of every word is a story. Altogether a stimulating, exciting and perceptive assessment of Tolkien's academic and fictional writing, and, above all, the values of friendship and loyalty which Tolkien held so dear.”—Graham Caie, Vice Principal, University of Glasgow

About the Author

Arne Zettersten has been Professor of English language and literature at the University of Copenhagen since 1975. From 1992 to 1995 he was the President of the International Association of University Professors of English and from 1980 to 1992 the President of the Nordic Association for English Studies. He is Acting President of the International Council of the English-Speaking Union.

Among his publications the following may be mentioned:

Studies in the Dialect and vocabulary of the Ancrene Riwle, 1965, The English of Tristan da Cunha, 1969, A Statistical Study of the Graphic System of Present-Day American English, 1969, East African Literature,. An Anthology, 1983, An English Grammar for Microcomputers, 1983. New Technologies in Language Learning, 1985, Different Places--Different Voices, 1996, Politikens Engelskn Dansk Ordbog, 1999.


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Extollager on December 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Much in this book is drawn from sources you probably own already if you are deeply into Tolkien. It is priced as a scholarly book but contains many typographical errors. Only a few pages seem to derive from the author's personal acquaintance with Tolkien. These are very enjoyable; and much that Dr. Zettersten says about Tolkien's creative process is interesting. Most readers would have liked more about his friendship with Tolkien and could have dispensed with his reflections on the Peter Jackson movies. Prospective buyers should probably examine a library copy before deciding to go ahead. If you are interested in Tolkien but don't yet own the books on him by Shippey, Flieger, Anderson, Garth, Scull and Hammond, and Rateliff, or Christopher Tolkien's History of Middle-earth set, those would probably be items to acquire first.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By William D. Freeman on December 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Professor Arne Zettersten of the University of Copenhagen had the privilege of getting to know J.R.R. Tolkien personally in the last dozen years of Tolkien's life. Like Tolkien, Zettersten specialized in the philological study of the English language as it developed in the Middle Ages. The two men had many face-to-face discussions and exchanged many letters which illustrated how Tolkien's love of language inspired his own essays in fiction.

While not a traditional biography, this book esentially provides Zettersten's insights through following the story arc of Tolkien's life. This book is not for the casaul reader or even someone new to Tolkien studies (who should indeed start with Humphrey Carpenter's classic biography). For those who are serious, though, about the study of Tolkien's life and work this book is an instant classic.
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