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.

Why? One word.

Magic!

I’m not simply talking about the magic within the story itself. I’m speaking of the magic of the story.

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.

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:

The Realists

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?

(Responsibilies, 1914)

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.

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JRR Tolkien Biography
A short JRR Tolkien biography, author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
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
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 Silmarillion
An introduction and background to The Silmarillion by JRR Tolkien, containing the history of Middle Earth and Tolkien’s created world.
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.
Books by Tolkien
An introduction and listing of books by Tolkien, including the dates of publication and other miscellaneous information.
The Inklings
An introduction to The Inklings, one of the great literary groups in history and
JRR Tolkien & Middle Earth
A brief look into Tolkien and Middle Earth, his relationship with its mythological landscape, its early conceptualizations and literary sources.
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.