Millions of new captives of the Lord of the Rings saga have been roped into J.R.R. Tolkiens fantasy world as the result of Peter Jacksons three-part cinematic interpretation of the great 20th century fantasy. John Garths Tolkien and the Great War will certainly captivate an elite segment of those recent converts, but it is written more for those who have long been enthralled by Middle-earth and its fantastic denizens. While many early readers found parallels between World War II and the Lord of the Rings fairy-tale, Garth reaches back to World War I to find the deep roots in Middle-earth. Prior to the Great War, Tolkien was a scholar with a deep passion for language and fables. In fact, he formed a literary circle with a few friends dubbed the Tea Club and Barrovian Society. Its members had the misfortune of coming of age just as the war was reaching a fevered pitch; Tolkien, a second lieutenant in the British army, survived the bloody Battle of the Somme, which took the lives of two of his closest friends. Garth adeptly chronicles how the devastation Tolkien witnessed helped shape the mythic tale that was already brewing in his mind. Written with a seriousness one associates with the time it chronicles, Tolkien and the Great War is a erudite but eminently readable exploration of how the harsh reality of the early 20th century colored one of the beloved fantasies of the modern era. --Steven Stolder --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This dense but informative study addresses the long-standing controversy over how J.R.R. Tolkien's WWI experience influenced his literary creations. A London journalist, Garth is a student of both Tolkien and the Great War. He writes that when war broke out, Tolkien was active in an Oxford literary society known as the Tea Club and Barrovian Society (TCBS), along with three of his closest friends. Finishing his degree before joining up, Tolkien served as a signal officer in the nightmarish Battle of the Somme in 1916, where two of those friends were killed. The ordeal on the Somme led to trench fever, which sent him home for the rest of the war and probably saved his life. It also influenced a body of Northern European-flavored mythology he had been inventing and exploring in both prose and verse before the war, toward its evolution into The Book of Lost Tales and in due course Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. This book could not pretend to be aimed at other than the serious student of Tolkien, and readers will benefit from a broad knowledge of his work (as well as a more than casual knowledge of WWI). But it also argues persuasively that Tolkien did not create his mythos to escape from or romanticize the war. Rather, the war gave dimensions to a mythos he was already industriously exploring. Garth's fine study should have a major audience among serious students of Tolkien, modern fantasy and the influence of war on literary creation.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This is thin stuff. Tolkien spent a month in the 1916 Somme offensive as a signals officer before getting sent back to England with typhus, where he spent the rest of the war. Read morePublished 6 months ago by A Customer
Very useful not only for Tolkien's biography but also as an introduction to a kind of artistic circle found in young men of his background in his day. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is a timely and important contribution to Tolkien studies. However, the reader needs to engage seriously with the details of the part of the Somme offensive that Tolkien was... Read morePublished 10 months ago by onthefringe
John Garth’s account of Tolkien’s wartime experiences makes for one of the best books about Tolkien, and the Inklings in general, yet written. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Jonathan-Paul Hooper
This is a beautiful book. The best Tolkienian reading for this year 2014.Published 11 months ago by José Hernández
Brilliant intellectual and literary study of the formative period in the life of one of the most beloved authors of the second half of the twentieth century.Published 13 months ago by Vincent the Collector
Good research on Tolkein's youth and his ordeal in the Great War. Provides insight into Tolkein's ideas.Published 13 months ago by David Gill
The books postscript was more interesting than the rest of the book, The author took too long getting to his point & when he finally got to the W.W. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Lynette Newby
Very well worth reading, a serious effort to see how WWI shaped Tolkien and his writings. The focus is tight, the information relevant. Read morePublished 24 months ago by Don Quickoats