There are few writers who can claim the popularity and enduring appeal of J.R.R. Tolkien. His celebrated novels have sold in excess of 160 million copies, and are in large part responsible for seeding the entire genre of fantasy fiction. Now, renowned biographer Michael White looks back over the little-known life of this most treasured of writers. In absorbing and revealing detail, he chronicles Tolkien's childhood years and the tragic early death of his parents; his burgeoning romance with Edith Brett; his many years as an Oxford academic; his friendship with C.S. Lewis and the founding of 'The Inklings' group. White describes why Tolkien's writing took off so spectacularly - and how The Lord of the Rings became the must-read of the late Sixties counter-culture. Informed and fascinating, Tolkien is the fascinating story of how the man who created The Hobbit became one of the giants of modern literature.
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(200mm x 126mm x 20mm)
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
Renowned biographer Michael White has written on such diverse personalities as Isaac Newton, Mozart, Galileo and John Lennon, to name only a few. This new biography of the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings is a comprehensive yet entertaining account of a very complex man by an insightful and sympathetic writer. White describes in detail the people, places and literature that stimulated the imagination of the boy, Ronald, orphaned at 12: idyllic times in the West Midlands countryside where, with his brother Hilary, he enacted heroic deeds from their favourite stories; dreadful times of alienation and loss in Birmingham followed and only reading and schoolfriends helped lighten the gloom. He entered Oxford to read Classics, but, bewitched by Anglo-Saxon literature, changed to English Language and Literature, in which he gained a First. White stresses the love of myths and language which inspired Tolkien, and also his romantic philosophy and distaste for modern life. Marriage, fatherhood, war and finally peace are all chronicled and their part in Tolkiens thought-processes clearly indicated by White. Tolkiens academic career and influential friendships such as C S Lewis and the Inklings are well-documented and make interesting reading but more fascinating are the glimpses of the ordinary man revealed by this biographer. Tolkiens letters, stories and illustrations for his four children, his devotion to his wife and the Catholic church, his intransigence about his work and his many revisions of his stories are delightfully recorded, emphasizing the humanity of a brilliant scholar. Michael Whites biography contains little new material but is both entertaining and informative, excellently constructed with chapter notes and a chronology for reference. Fans of Middle-earth should find this book enhances their enjoyment and understanding of Tolkiens fantasy world. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Michael White
Michael White is a former science writer for GQ magazine. In a previous incarnation he was a member of the Thompson Twins pop group, before becoming a full-time writer in 1991.