Tuesday, September 15, 2009

10 Books A Day: #145

The Road To Middle-Earth...Tom Shippey...Houghton Mifflin

A Tolkien Compass...ed. Jared Lobdell...Open Court

A Tolkien Compass, 2nd Edition...ed. Jared Lobdell...Open Court

England And Always...Jared Lobdell...Eerdmans

The World Of The Rings...Jared Lobdell...Open Court

The Rise Of Tolkienian Fantasy...Jared Lobdell...Open Court

One Ring To Bind Them All: Tolkien's Mythology...Anne C. Petty...University Of Alabama Press

J. R. R. Tolkien...Catherine R. Stimpson...Columbia Essays On Modern Writers

Modern Critical Interpretations: J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord Of The Rings...ed. Harold Bloom...Chelsea House Publishers

The Lord Of The Rings: A Reader's Companion...Wayne G. Hammond & Christina Scull...Houghton Mifflin

The other day my brother asked me (after taking a look at several of the past day's posts) what I thought the best critical book on Tolkien and his work was. The answer I came up with was The Road To Middle-Earth. Tom Shippey is not only a philologist who was taught at and taught in many of the same schools and colleges that Tolkien did, he actually met Tolkien several times and corresponded with him over his insights into his work. He has availed himself of and considered the insights of the best scholars in the field, and has (most importantly to me) revised and corrected himself over the years. I think this proves that he's more interested in the truth than in his own ideas.

Jared Lobdell is a very interesting writer on Tolkien; he considers LOTR from the angle of a work in the Edwardian adventure mode. The second edition of The Tolkien Compass does not include Tolkien's guide on translating names for foreign editions; the Estate strongly discouraged its inclusion. The Rise Of Tolkienian Fantasy considers not only LOTR's roots in previous literature but also his influence on modern fantasy.

The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion is the closest we'll ever get to an annotated edition of LOTR: 800 pages of notes. And it is great, and fascinating. I always dreamed of doing something like this, and seeing how hefty a work it is, I can see how having the notes right with the text would be rather unwieldy. Seeing the material handled by two such good scholars is a delight.

Book Count: 1720.

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