Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-earth

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9780007119530: Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-earth

Acclaimed as ‘the best book about Tolkien’, this award-winning biography explores J.R.R. Tolkien’s wartime experiences and their impact on his life and his writing of The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings.

“To be caught in youth by 1914 was no less hideous an experience than in 1939 … by 1918 all but one of my close friends were dead.”

So J.R.R. Tolkien responded to critics who saw The Lord of the Rings as a reaction to the Second World War. Tolkien and the Great War tells for the first time the full story of how he embarked on the creation of Middle-earth in his youth as the world around him was plunged into catastrophe. This biography reveals the horror and heroism that he experienced as a signals officer in the Battle of the Somme and introduces the circle of friends who spurred his mythology to life. It shows how, after two of these brilliant young men were killed, Tolkien pursued the dream they had all shared by launching his epic of good and evil.

John Garth argues that the foundation of tragic experience in the First World War is the key to Middle-earth’s enduring power. Tolkien used his mythic imagination not to escape from reality but to reflect and transform the cataclysm of his generatuion. While his contemporaries surrendered to disillusionment, he kept enchantment alive, reshaping an entire literary tradition into a form that resonates to this day.

This is the first substantially new biography of Tolkien since 1977, meticulously researched and distilled from his personal wartime papers and a multitude of other sources.

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Review:

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.com

Review:

"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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Garth, John
Published by HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom (2014)
ISBN 10: 0007119534 ISBN 13: 9780007119530
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2014. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 194 x 128 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Acclaimed as the best book about Tolkien , this award-winning biography explores J.R.R. Tolkien s wartime experiences and their impact on his life and his writing of The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings. To be caught in youth by 1914 was no less hideous an experience than in 1939 ! by 1918 all but one of my close friends were dead. So J.R.R. Tolkien responded to critics who saw The Lord of the Rings as a reaction to the Second World War. Tolkien and the Great War tells for the first time the full story of how he embarked on the creation of Middle-earth in his youth as the world around him was plunged into catastrophe. This biography reveals the horror and heroism that he experienced as a signals officer in the Battle of the Somme and introduces the circle of friends who spurred his mythology to life. It shows how, after two of these brilliant young men were killed, Tolkien pursued the dream they had all shared by launching his epic of good and evil. John Garth argues that the foundation of tragic experience in the First World War is the key to Middle-earth s enduring power. Tolkien used his mythic imagination not to escape from reality but to reflect and transform the cataclysm of his generatuion. While his contemporaries surrendered to disillusionment, he kept enchantment alive, reshaping an entire literary tradition into a form that resonates to this day. This is the first substantially new biography of Tolkien since 1977, meticulously researched and distilled from his personal wartime papers and a multitude of other sources. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780007119530

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Garth, John
Published by HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom (2014)
ISBN 10: 0007119534 ISBN 13: 9780007119530
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2014. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 194 x 128 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Acclaimed as the best book about Tolkien , this award-winning biography explores J.R.R. Tolkien s wartime experiences and their impact on his life and his writing of The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings. To be caught in youth by 1914 was no less hideous an experience than in 1939 ! by 1918 all but one of my close friends were dead. So J.R.R. Tolkien responded to critics who saw The Lord of the Rings as a reaction to the Second World War. Tolkien and the Great War tells for the first time the full story of how he embarked on the creation of Middle-earth in his youth as the world around him was plunged into catastrophe. This biography reveals the horror and heroism that he experienced as a signals officer in the Battle of the Somme and introduces the circle of friends who spurred his mythology to life. It shows how, after two of these brilliant young men were killed, Tolkien pursued the dream they had all shared by launching his epic of good and evil. John Garth argues that the foundation of tragic experience in the First World War is the key to Middle-earth s enduring power. Tolkien used his mythic imagination not to escape from reality but to reflect and transform the cataclysm of his generatuion. While his contemporaries surrendered to disillusionment, he kept enchantment alive, reshaping an entire literary tradition into a form that resonates to this day. This is the first substantially new biography of Tolkien since 1977, meticulously researched and distilled from his personal wartime papers and a multitude of other sources. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780007119530

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Book Description 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 130mm x 197mm x 28mm. Paperback. A new biography exploring J. R. R. Tolkien's wartime experiences and their impact on his life and his writing of The Lord of The Rings. To be caught in youth by 1914 was no less hideous an.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 416 pages. 0.301. Bookseller Inventory # 9780007119530

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Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: New. Not Signed; Acclaimed as 'the best book about Tolkien', this award-winning biography explores J.R.R. Tolkien's wartime experiences and their impact on his life and his writing of The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings. To be caught in youth by 1914 was no less hideous an experience than in 1939 ! by 1918 all bu. book. Bookseller Inventory # ria9780007119530_rkm

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 2004. Book Condition: New. 2004. Paperback. Acclaimed as 'the best book about Tolkien', this award-winning biography explores J.R.R. Tolkien's wartime experiences and their impact on his life and his writing of The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings. Num Pages: 416 pages, 2 b/w illus, 11 b/w plates (8pp), With index. BIC Classification: 2AB; BGL; DSRC. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 197 x 129 x 28. Weight in Grams: 306. . . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780007119530

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. Book Condition: New. 2004. Paperback. Acclaimed as 'the best book about Tolkien', this award-winning biography explores J.R.R. Tolkien's wartime experiences and their impact on his life and his writing of The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings. Num Pages: 416 pages, 2 b/w illus, 11 b/w plates (8pp), With index. BIC Classification: 2AB; BGL; DSRC. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 197 x 129 x 28. Weight in Grams: 306. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780007119530

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