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J. R. R. Tolkien: The Making of a Legend

Colin Duriez
J. R. R. Tolkien: The Making of a Legend
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Perfect for Tolkien enthusiasts of all shapes and sizes, this delightful and accessible biography brings the enigma behind The Lord of the Rings franchise to life Long before the successful The Lord of the Rings films, J.R.R. Tolkien’s creations, imagination, and charac... Read More

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Perfect for Tolkien enthusiasts of all shapes and sizes, this delightful and accessible biography brings the enigma behind The Lord of the Rings franchise to life

Long before the successful The Lord of the Rings films, J.R.R. Tolkien’s creations, imagination, and characters had already captured the hearts and minds of millions of readers. But who was the man who dreamt up the intricate languages and perfectly crafted world of Middle-earth? Tolkien had a difficult life for many years—orphaned and poor, his guardian forbade him from communicating with the woman he had fallen in love with, and he also suffered through the horrors of World War I. An intensely private and brilliant scholar, he spent more than 50 years working on the languages, history, peoples, and geography of Middle-earth, with a consistent mythology and body of legends inspired by a formidable knowledge of early northern European history and culture. J.R.R. Tolkien became a legend by creating an imaginary world that has enthralled and delighted generations.

Additional Information

  • Product type: Book
  • Format: Paperback
  • Release Date: Jan 1, 2013
  • UPC: 9780745955148

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Insights Into Tolkien by Maureen on 1/8/13
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John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, know as J. R. R. was born on 3 January 1892, in Southern Africa. He was the first son of Arthur and Mabel, and was joined by a brother Hilary on 17 February 1894.
Both boys had a had sad beginning, loosing their Dad in 1896, and their Mom to Diabetes, there was no treatment. They became the wards of a priest, and soon lived with a woman who gave them room and board...that is it. How sad, and yet each point of his life shows the rich mind he possessed, and later shows up in bits and pieces in his writings.
Love the reference to Hobbit, that came from his travels to Interlaken in Switzerland. What a mind he had, and was able to share with the World. He had in his lifetime become friends with C. S. Lewis, a former Atheist who came to know the Lord many think because of Tolkien.
He fell in love with Edith as a child, and later pursues her as a young man. I personally enjoyed this story, and bringing this man to life in my mind. He started out with such a harsh life, but the talent of this man is legendary.
Enjoy!

I received this book from Kregel, and was not required to give a positive review.

Great Book. Must read for Tolkien lovers by GraceforSinnes on 1/7/13
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Of Tolkien Duriez says, “Myth and story was embodied in language” (p. 143) and myth and story restore “a true meaning of ordinary and humble things that make up human life” (p. 176). That sums up his life and writing in my estimation. I’ve read Humphrey Carpenter’s biography which is the official biography of Tolkien and I’ve also read the Tolkien Letters. Duriez’s J. R. R. Tolkien: The Making of a Legend is as much a must read for Tolkienphiles.

I not only enjoyed refreshing my history of Tolkien’s life but I enjoyed the writing and storyline Duriez presents. He covers his life from cradle to the grave. In the biography itself I gathered some wonderful Tolkien tidbits and memorable sayings.

It’s also interesting how this biography and recent discoveries have intersected. Duriez reports,
One day Tolkien and Lewis would even plan to collaborate on a book on language, a project that never materialized. (p. 145)
Lo and behold this work has this month been uncovered. The Telegraph reports (“JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis joint work discovered”)
The beginning of a joint book by CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien has been discovered in a manuscript book in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.

An American academic called Steven Beebe, of Texas State University, San Marcos, had seen the material some years ago, but has only recently realised what it is. It is written in Lewis's hand in the same notebook that contains early drafts for The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and The Magician's Nephew.

Lewis and Tolkien had planned their joint book, to be called Language and Human Nature, in 1944, with publication envisaged for 1950.

You should read this book but especially so if you love Tolkien--even if you’re read Carpenter’s or other biographies. You won’t be disappointed with Duriez’s J. R. R. Tolkien: The Making of a Legend. My only tiff would be Duriez teasing about the amount of information that could’ve been included surrounding the publication of The Lord of the Rings. Says Duriez, “Even his dealings with his publisher and another potential publisher could fill a small book” (p. 192). But then we get few details about the process as a whole.

Tolkien’s work on Middle-Earth is timeless because he captures the essence of our life within his faerie stories and myth. He has an uncanny ability to penetrate into the depths of the human condition and uncover truth. For instance, he says after WWII
We are attempting to conquer Sauron with the Ring. And we shall (it seems) succeed. But the penalty is, you will know, to breed new Saurons, and slowly turn Men and Elves into Orcs” (p. 191 as quoted in Letters to his son Christopher).
Tolkien was right then and he’s even more right today. You should read him and understand his life in connection with the larger corpus of his work. Duriez will help you do this.

More From Colin Duriez

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