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The Tolkien Fan’s Medieval Reader – Where The Lord of the Rings didst Begin


John Tolkien CBE, was an English writer, poet, philologist and Oxford University Professor, who t taught English Language and Literature. We have a great fondness for Tolkien, as he was the creator of the brilliant piece of work, known as “Lord of the Rings’, which was a sequel to the novel “The Hobbit”.

In a process he described as mythopoeia, he integrated traditional mythological themes and archetypes into the genre of classic fiction. In “Lord of the Rings”,   Frodo is a Hobbit that lives in the Shire. He is given the monumental task to keep the ring from Sauron, who wants to destroy Middle Earth. This small character follows the path of the hero and succeeds in overcoming the greatest obstacles. His path is ruled by his heart and compassion and that is why he proves to be the hero.

Medieval writings, myths and legends, such as “The Canterbury Tales”, were very important to Tolkien. He had a special devotion to older Germanic literature including Beowulf and the Eddas. He taught these works as a professor as well as teaching the languages in which they were written.

If you are enamoured by the works of Tolkien, you might love to take a walk through history in the book “The Tolkien Fan’s Medieval Reader” by by Turgon and Verlyn Flieger. Read the foreword for the book.

These are texts that Tolkien knew intimately, that he lived with, studied, taught, edited, translated, and absorbed into his imagination as a sponge absorbs water.    That imagination transformed as well as taking in, so that the material, when it flowed out again onto the manuscript pages that became The Lord of the Rings, was no longer simply borrowings from medieval sources, but had been woven deep into the fabric of his own Middle-earth. It belonged there.

This book is a feast of medieval narrative from all over the Northern European and British worlds, cooked up by authors known and unknown out of the plentiful ingredients of myth and legend and folktale, and beautifully served for the pleasure and enlightenment of the contemporary reader.

From the “Foreword” by Verlyn Flieger:

Dear Knights, “Lord of the Rings”, is a story to strengthen thy heart. If you listen your heart will hear. So many medieval writings are full of deep meaning and chivalrous deeds. If thou doth seek courage and guidance through the darkest days, consider a ride with literature from the Middle Ages. And do not be daunted by the strange spelling one might find. Your heart will always find it’s way, in foreign lands.

With gratitude,
Lady Sharon
Humbled Scribe of Camelot

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