A biography exploring J.R.R. Tolkien's wartime experiences and their impact on his life and his writing of "The Lord of The Rings". The period of Tolkien's life in which he fought in The Great War has remained largely unexplored and unresearched by his many and various biographers. This volume concentrates specifically on this period life and relates it to his creation of some of the world's best-loved literary works. Having lost many of his friends from school and university in the First World War, this, coupled with his time spent as a signaller in the Royal Lancashire Fusiliers, had a profound impact on him. As did, it would seem, the writing of G.B. Smith, a close friend who was sadly lost in the War. Invalided home from the Somme,Tolkien was able to reflect on his life, and John Garth argues that, far from being a flight of fancy, "The Lord of The Rings" is, in fact, a product of his wartime experiences and stands as a great war novel.
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John Garth's Tolkien and the Great War will certainly captivate the millions of new captives of the Lord of the Rings saga, who have been roped into JRR Tolkien's fantasy world as the result of Peter Jackson's three-part cinematic interpretation, but it's written more for those who've 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; with a few school pals he formed a literary circle 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 an erudite but eminently readable exploration of how the harsh reality of the early 20th century coloured one of the beloved fantasies of the modern era. --Steven Stolder, Amazon.comReview:
"Very much the best book about JRR Tolkien that has yet been written. Even if you are not a Lord of the Rings fan, I commend this book to you. It is all so interesting in itself, and I have rarely read a book which so intelligently graphed the relation between a writer's inner life and his outward circumstances."
A.N.Wilson, Evening Standard
“A highly intelligent book exploring Tolkien’s personal experience of the First World War… Garth displays impressive skills both as a researcher and writer.” Max Hastings
“Garth’s brilliantly argued study convincinly portrays Tolkien in an entirely different leagues from other, more familiar writers on war.” Daily Mail
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Book Description Harpercollins Pub Ltd, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0007119526