Compiling information from several sources, Colin Duriez has put together a wonderful biography for the fans of J.R.R. Tolkien. The material spans Tolkien's entire life, but concentrates more on the habits and studies that led to the creation of his most famous works: The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, along with other tales from Middle-earth. Most importantly, his love of language and philology.
If I had one complaint, it would be that Duriez has a tendency to jump forward at times to address an event related to the one he's discussing, then return to his chronological flow. It would be the only complaint, and a minor one. The information in this book is a great introduction into the life and work of one of the greatest and most beloved writers in history. I knew little of Tolkien's life outside of The Inklings, and even there I didn't know much beyond his friendship with C. S. Lewis.
The book also offers several pages of color photos of places Tolkien lived and frequented. His childhood homes, his place of worship, Oxford, meeting places of The Inklings, as well as places that may have been some inspiration for locations in Tolkien's Middle-earth are all featured.
I would definitely recommend this biography to any Tolkien fan.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes from Kregel Publications.
Colin Duriez has written a fascinating little book about the life and times of J.R.R. Tolkien: The Making of a Legend. The author does a convincing job of transporting the reader into the world of Academia Royalty of Britian that included Tolkein, Lewis, Williams and others. Also, we gain keen insight as to what it was like to live with the great intellectual that was Tolkein. Including details about his life and marriage to Edith Mary Bratt as well as the role his children John, Michael, Christopher and Pricilla played in creating the lexicon that is middle-earth and why Hobbits RULE!.
This book was not inspirational, make me think, get out of the chair and put something into action book but rather a detailed biography and historical perspective. It provides insight into the adult fantasy genre of reading that I would not have known had I not read the book. One of the best things about this book was the extensive referencing that the author does of similar works. There are quite a few on my reading list now!
In timely fashion, Kregel is releasing Colin Duriez' book on J.R.R. Tolkien just time. With a resurgence from Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings movies and now the release (of the first installment, anyway) of The Hobbit, Tolkien and all things Middle Earth have perhaps never been more popular. So what a great time to learn more about their creator/author.
Duriez does a masterful job of not trying to write a biography as much as help the reader understand how this master of languages and myth came to create an entire world called Middle Earth. Having read Humphrey Carpenter's authorized biography years ago, I can appreciate a â€˜fresh' look at an â€˜old figure' in Tolkien. Duriez draws upon Carpenter for quite a bit of the biographical insights. However, from that he goes on to show the mind that drew from a love of words and languages, a fascination with myth (especially ancient English, Anglo-Saxon mythology) and even from his own life's experiences to eventually write The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
I was completely fascinated to learn how so much of Tolkien's life shaped his writings. From his own experiences during WWI, to losing his parents at a young age; from meeting his future wife, Edith, to the various places he visited--all shaped his thinking and creativity. I was previously unaware of his involvement in the T.C.B.S (the Tea Club Barrovian Society), a group of fellow students and like-minded lovers of literature, words and languages. The friendships from this group had a powerfully profound influence upon Tolkien. The later formation of the Inklings, including the likes of C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams and others were a great encouragement for Tolkien to continue writing and completing his master works.
While the author does not go into great detail of the biographical nature of Tolkien's relationship with Edith Bratt, who eventually became his wife, he shows how her presence and influence was made upon the characters Beren and LÃºthien from The Silmarillion. It was all very touching, especially his love for her in their latter years.
If you've read Tolkien's books and/or seen the movies, I would highly commend this book to you. It will deepen your appreciation for all things written by J.R.R. Tolkien, as well as of the author himself.
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.
I received this book from Kregel, and was not required to give a positive review.
But what if you happen to write about things like Orcs, Hobbits, and Elves? Do you really know this enough to write about it? In a way, yes, JRR Tolkien did write what he knew. Or, more like it, the way he saw the world. Overcoming tremendous odds, he gave us some of the best loved stories that still thrive today.
When you read this book, you're getting an intimate peek inside a complex individual that was molded by his fair share of life, death, loss, and love. Be prepared for emotional turmoil that followed him thru his life. Cheer for him when he finds his one true love, and pity him when he ultimately sets aside that love because of the wishes of another.
Not only will you meet the man behind the Hobbit, but the story of JRR Tolkien's perseverance through hardships will inspire you when you thought your hope was gone.
JRR Tolkien had a gift. He was a romantic. I know. Many a man would shudder to be labeled a romantic, but he saw life differently than most. When the regular person would see only an ordinary tower, JRR saw not a normal tower, but a different time and place with evil and good, fighting against one another and that tower, a pinnacle that holds it all in the balance.
Conjuring stories and poems on a whim, he was an immensely gifted man. A creator not only of worlds and words, but of entire languages.
But why would he desire to write such stories as The Hobbit? To reignite a love for fairy tales to a new readership.
He has succeeded in this and his stories live on and will continue to do so for generations of romantics to come.