JRR Tolkien and Middle-earth
JRR Tolkien, creator of Middle-earth, was one of the greatest writers and scholars of the twentieth century. Generations of readers have been enthralled by his most famous creations--The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.
Scholars, meanwhile, have debated the true greatness (or lack) of these popular novels. Many have deemed it “mere escapism” and worse.
Many others (including C.S. Lewis and W.H. Auden) found the books – and in particular The Lord of the Rings - to be masterpieces.
Scholarly stalemates aside, Tolkien’s work remains as popular and vital today as when it first appeared.
A 1997 poll by Waterstone’s (a British bookstore chain) voted Lord of the Rings as the Book of the Century. Several subsequent polls, both abroad and in the states, similarly place LOTR atop the list.
JRR Tolkien is one of those rare writers that can completely transport you with his pen, a feeling I get every time I wander the Withywindle valley with Frodo and company, or breakfast upon bread and mead in the house of Beorn with Bilbo and the dwarves.
Tolkien creates out of the void a complete and fully-realized world. He weaves his spell around us, suspends all disbelief, and gives us our own modern-day adventure and discovery quest.
In many ways it is escapism, and hallelujah for that! We all need some escape from this often crazy and very mundane world.
However, it is also more than that. The Lord of the Rings is a very vibrant, meaningful, and relevant novel. (As are the tales from The Silmarillion cycle.)
It is, in many ways, an Odyssey for a modern audience.
Though it is set in a distant and mythic past, it portrays the adventures and travails of very modern heroes, with distinctly modern ethics and sensibilities.
In an increasingly secular and realist world, we need our myths, our epics, and above all our heroes more than ever.
The great Irish poet WB Yeats perhaps said it best:
Hope that you may understand!
What can books of men that wive
In a dragon-guarded land,
Paintings of the dolphin-drawn
Sea-nymphs in their pearly wagons
Do, but awake a hope to live
That had gone
With the dragons?
I’ve created this site as a source of information for those who love Middle-earth and Professor Tolkien’s writings, as well as for those who have yet to discover the intricate and wonderful tapestry that is Middle-earth.
Some tips for navigating the site:
- Use the navigation bar along the left-hand side of the page to explore the content that interests you.
- Links to character pages, such as Gandalf or Turin Turambar, are found under the book(s) in which they appear.
- Want to know what to read after Tolkien? Check out the Suggested Reading page for tips, or skip directly to the Fantasy Reading Suggestions.
- If you like what you read here, feel free to check out the site owner's personal blog, Parsing the Dragon, where he rambles on about books, writing, and life.
- JRR Tolkien Biography
- A short JRR Tolkien biography, author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
- Books by Tolkien
- A listing of books by Tolkien, including the dates of publication, links to detailed overviews, and other miscellaneous information.
- The Hobbit
- Information on The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien's classic novel and precursor to The Lord of the Rings.
- Lord of the Rings
- Information on the the twentieth-century masterpiece of fantasy, The Lord of the Rings
- The Silmarillion
- An introduction and background to The Silmarillion by JRR Tolkien, containing the early tales of Tolkien's Middle-earth.
- The Children of Hurin
- A preview and information on The Children of Hurin, a recently-published novel by JRR Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings.
- Unfinished Tales
- An introduction to Unfinished Tales by JRR Tolkien, a book containing some uncompleted stories of Middle-earth and Numenor. The full title is Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle-earth.
- History of Middle-earth
- An introduction to 'The History of Middle-earth' series of books, written by JRR Tolkien and compiled and edited by Christopher Tolkien.
- Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun
- An introduction and overview of The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun, a newly-released book by JRR Tolkien.
- The History of the Hobbit
- An introduction and overview of 'The History of The Hobbit' the two-volume study of early drafts of JRR Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’, edited by John D. Rateliff.
- Lord of the Rings Movies
- Information on the Lord of the Rings movies based on the books by JRR Tolkien. Includes background and production information, criticism and awards, casting and soundtrack.
- The Hobbit Movie
- An overview of the forthcoming Hobbit movie, including news-related items, updates, rumors, and the complicated background of the legal rights for 'The Hobbit' film.
- The Hunt for Gollum
- Information as it becomes available for the independent, non-profit film, The Hunt for Gollum.
- JRR Tolkien & Middle-earth
- A brief look into Tolkien and Middle-earth, his relationship with its mythological landscape, its early conceptualizations and literary sources.
- The Inklings
- An introduction to The Inklings, one of most influencial literary groups of the Twentieth Century, including such writers as JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, Charles Williams, and many other luminaries.
- Suggested Reading
- A suggested reading list (non-Tolkien) for fans of JRR Tolkien and his writings.
- Tolkien Scholarship
- An overview of the quickly-growing field of Tolkien scholarship, including book reviews, discussion groups, and college programs.
- Tolkien-Online Blog
- A list of all recent site additions and updates pertaining to JRR Tolkien and his works.
- Tolkien Related Resources
- A small directory of Tolkien related resources.
- Contact Me
- Contact Me
- Link To Me
- link to me
- Search Site
- Search Tolkien Online.
- Letters from Father Christmas
- A review of Letters from Father Christmas by JRR Tolkien. Reviewed by Mike Foster.