The Road to Middle-earth eBook é The Road PDF/EPUB

The Road to Middle-earth eBook é The Road PDF/EPUB


The Road to Middle-earth [BOOKS] ✰ The Road to Middle-earth ✺ Tom Shippey – Centrumpowypadkowe.co.uk The Road to Middle earth, Tom Shippey s classic work, now revised in paperback, explores JRR Tolkien s creativity and the sources of his inspiration Shippey shows in detail how Tolkien s professional The Road to Middle earth, Tom Shippey s classic work, now revised in paperback, explores JRR Tolkien s creativity and the sources of his inspiration Shippey shows in detail how Tolkien s professional The Road PDF/EPUB ² background led him to write The Hobbit and how he created a timeless charm for millions of readers Examining the foundation of Tolkien s most popular work, The Lord of the Rings, Shippey also discusses the contribution of The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales to Tolkien s great myth cycle, showing how Tolkien s difficult books can be fully appreciated He goes on to examine the remarkable twelve volume History of Middle earth, written by Tolkien s son and literary heir Christopher Tolkien, which traces the creative and technical processes by which Middle earth evolved.

    The Road to Middle-earth eBook é The Road PDF/EPUB History of Middle earth, written by Tolkien s son and literary heir Christopher Tolkien, which traces the creative and technical processes by which Middle earth evolved."/>
  • Kindle Edition
  • 497 pages
  • The Road to Middle-earth
  • Tom Shippey
  • English
  • 08 December 2018

About the Author: Tom Shippey

Publishes as TA Shippey and Tom Shippey.



10 thoughts on “The Road to Middle-earth

  1. Aaron Arnold Aaron Arnold says:

    J R R Tolkien was better at transporting readers into a living, breathing, fully realized fictional reality than almost any other author who has ever lived While for most readers the pleasure of the stories themselves is sufficient alone,hardcore aficionados like myself want to see the deep roots of such a remarkable creation How did he do it Shippey s work delves deeply into Tolkien s inspirations, artistic obsessions, and creative process It will greatly satisfy the sort of person J R R Tolkien was better at transporting readers into a living, breathing, fully realized fictional reality than almost any other author who has ever lived While for most readers the pleasure of the stories themselves is sufficient alone,hardcore aficionados like myself want to see the deep roots of such a remarkable creation How did he do it Shippey s work delves deeply into Tolkien s inspirations, artistic obsessions, and creative process It will greatly satisfy the sort of person who finds the LOTR appendices as interesting as the plot they ve just finished There s an infamous dropoff in readership from The Hobbit, to The Lord of the Rings, to The Silmarillion, and then to the likes of Unfinished Tales, but for the small group of fans who not only sympathize with but valorize Tolkien s decades of effort with his legendarium simply to create plausible settings for his artificial languages, this book provides an incredibly interesting account of how Tolkien s attitudes toward the power of words shaped his characters, stories, settings, and indeed his entire thematic repertoire I thought I was a dedicated fan although to my shame I have not read any of the 12 posthumous volumes of The History of Middle Earth , but Shippey has read every one of Tolkien s works so many times that he enhanced my appreciation for the under the hood craftsmanship in the Tolkienversethan I thought possible.The short answer to why is Tolkien so great is that he had a clear vision or rather a series of visions , he made sure his plots and his themes lined up, and he put a ton of work into what for most authors would seem like irrelevant background details Tolkien really loved a lot of old epic poetry that his fellow linguists were lukewarm about, but that turned out to provide excellent templates for modern stories even across the vast cultural gap between modern England and its millennium old antecedents Shippey doesn t use any film analogies, but as he was discussing how Tolkien studied Beowulf carefully in order to produce similar effects with his own works, I was reminded how a lot of the better genre films put modern material atop older structures in order to take advantage of people s love of both the familiar and the new So, for example, successful science fiction films mix the genre with noir as in Blade Runner, with Westerns as in Star Trek, with samurai swashbuckers as in Star Wars, etc Tolkien used the format of the children s adventure story in the The Hobbit as a comforting framework for his modern mythology , upgrading to aadult literary style in The Lord of the Rings, and then dispensing entirely with contemporary narrative formats in his drafts for The Silmarillion, which would have been nearly impenetrable to lightweights and casuals even if he d been able to finish it.While Shippey does use Tolkien s own writings as primary sources, and his acknowledged inspirations as secondary material, the book is mainly concerned with tracing Tolkien s own attitudes towards his work not merely wondering why Tolkien dedicated so much of his life to this fantasy world, but how he made it so convincing to others The storytelling urge is nearly universal in young children, but most people s fantasies are not very interesting to other people, and nearly all of us eventually turn our mental narrative generation machinery over toprosaic concerns due to the pressures of adulthood One of the things that made Tolkien unique was his determination to maintain his creative processes for his whole life there have of course been countless novelists in history, but Tolkien s novels stand apart from most other writers by his decision to ground them in linguistics, to most people perhaps the dullest soil possible to sprout a fantasy world from Even his colleagues, who may have been fellow linguists but not true philologists philology love of learning , certainly did not appreciate languages aesthetically to the same degree, and were often skeptical or dismissive of the power of words, leaving Tolkien as one of the very few linguists who appreciated the ancient epic poetry as poetry Shippey quotes a letter from Tolkien to his son Christopher Nobody believes me when I say that my long book is an attempt to create a world in which a form of language agreeable to my personal aesthetic might seem real But it is true An enquirer among many asked what The Lord of the Rings was all about, and whether it was an allegory And I said it was an effort to create a situation in which a common greeting would be elen s la l menn omentielmo, and that the phrase long antedated the book I never heard anyEven today, Tolkien s works seem to stand above the obligatory constellations of fanfiction that always surround seemingly similar media franchises like Harry Potter or Game of Thrones This is because fanfiction authors, even the most talented ones, naturally tend to focus on the appeal of the characters, and in Tolkien s works the interactions of the characters are only one of the things going on The chapter The Bourgeois Burglar in particular is a fascinating exploration of just how hard Tolkien worked to ensure that the language and vocabulary of the hobbits, men, dwarves, and so on was congruent with their nature, which complemented the alternately comic and dramatic tone of their interactions with each other, and how the broader thematic concerns then are revealed by the plot in turn In the chapter Interlacements and the Ring Shippey extends this deep alignment to Tolkien s religious explorations, handled farsubtly here than in C S Lewis otherwise comparable Narnia series Is evil active or passive, Manichean or Boethian, a force unto itself or a mere turning away from the good Is the Ring a pagan symbol, and the cosmology of Middle Earth therefore heretical Tolkien spent a huge amount of time ensuring that his creation worked consistently within itself and with the pre Christian heroic motifs underneath it without openly contradicting Christian doctrine, to the extent possible He was not immune to the problems of internal contradiction, which partially explains his immense difficulties finishing his later works, but perhaps any truly great work inevitably expands beyond the point where all its pieces can fully harmonize together Just look at any of themodern epic properties with teams of writers and all the money in the world, and Tolkien s accomplishments seem all the greater.On the subject of consistency, one of theunexpectedly moving chapters is Visions and Revisions , when Shippey discusses the meaning that the story of Beren and L thien had to Tolkien It s only one part of the Silmarillion, but Tolkien rewrote it so many times that even though it s hardly known, its story of a grand quest undertaken for a powerful yet ultimately doomed love was clearlydear to him than any other part of his whole creation Tolkien and his wife s gravestones read Beren and L thien , respectively This obsessive dedication made me think of other works that get compared to his, for example Wagner s operas, which Shippey doesn t discuss until the first appendix as always with Tolkien, read the appendices , and how idiosyncratic Tolkien s vision often was Tolkien evidently did not think highly of Wagner as a dramatist, which somewhat surprised me, but it makessense when you realize that, as with all great artists, he hated basically everything, particularly artistic works seemingly very similar to his own Tolkien was irritated all his life by modern attempts to rewrite or interpret old material, almost all of which he thought led to failures of tone and spirit Wagner is the most obvious example People were always connecting The Lord of the Rings with Der Ring des Nibelungen, and Tolkien did not like it Both rings were round , he snarled, and there the resemblance ceases Letters, p 306 This is not entirely true The motifs of the riddle contest, the cleansing fire, the broken weapon preserved for an heir, all occur in both works, as of course does the theme of the lord of the Ring as the slave of the Ring , des Ringes Herr als des Ringes Knecht But what upset Tolkien was the fact that Wagner was working, at second hand, from material which he knew at first hand, primarily the heroic poems of the Elder Edda and the later Middle High German Nibelungenlied Once again he saw difference where other people saw similarity Wagner was one of several authors with whom Tolkien had a relationship of intimate dislike Shakespeare, Spenser, George MacDonald, Hans Christian Andersen All, he thought, had got something very important not quite right It is especially necessary, then, for followers of Tolkien to pick out the true from the heretical, and to avoid snatching at surface similarities Now, I personally love Wagner, and rank the Ring Cycle as an incredible artistic achievement, but Tolkien of course has a point about how he and all those other authors are not really playing the same game though read George Orwell s Lear, Tolstoy, and the Fool essay on Shakespeare to see how differently even great writers can rank artistic merit This is another reason why I think comparisons of Tolkien to people like George Lucas, or especially George R R Martin can only go so far Martin might have excellent points about flaws in Tolkien s models of political economy the infamous What was Aragorn s tax policy and so forth, but it s like comparing a Balzac novel to the Epic of Gilgamesh solely because they both have prostitutes in them Shippey extends this point further in another book called Author of the Century, which I haven t read, but even if you don t agree with Shippey that Tolkien will eventually represent the entirety of 20th century literature the way that Shakespeare epitomizes the 16th, it s enough to note that Tolkien invented an entire literary genre just to give his mock Welsh and faux Finnish artificial languages a playground, and no one else has done anything even close since Tanner Greer s essay On the Tolkienic Hero notes that Tolkien seems untouched by irony, and even though it seems strange that it took a fussy and incredibly opinionated academic, one who wrote entire poems about how misguided oak trees his critics couldn t understand the pure love of learning natural to birch trees philologists like himself , to create one of the greatest adventure stories of all time, perhaps the only conclusion is that the genius and genesis of literature might remain as forever mysterious to us as the Undying Lands, or as the power of words themselves

  2. Sharon Sharon says:

    I purloined a few passages from one of the chapters for my undergraduate thesis, and am only now getting around to read the whole book This book is the hardest thing I have read in quite some time, and I say that as a literature person who s read a decent amount on the subject It s real analysis a great place to start is chapter 5, on intrelacements The first 100 pages or so are almost entirely on philology a necessary context, and referred to throughout the book but, if I may be honest, I purloined a few passages from one of the chapters for my undergraduate thesis, and am only now getting around to read the whole book This book is the hardest thing I have read in quite some time, and I say that as a literature person who s read a decent amount on the subject It s real analysis a great place to start is chapter 5, on intrelacements The first 100 pages or so are almost entirely on philology a necessary context, and referred to throughout the book but, if I may be honest, reading that part was purgatorial Sheer stubbornness and spite made me despairingly read page after page of linguistic developments, as I laughed in scorn at younger me who thought she could be a dictionary editor The hubris The book is extremely meaty, sometimes dense, but everything he says is essential, and instructive for analyzing other works as well At various times, he made me cry, and a few times he even made me laugh out loud If nothing else, Shippey is a sheer pleasure to read because of his mastery as a writer His sentences and arguments are structured so flawlessly that I can forgive the philology Definitely would recommend, and would reread

  3. Nicky Nicky says:

    If you re going to study Tolkien, you probably can t avoid Shippey Fortunately, his work is reasonably readable although long winded for the size of the book it took me surprisingly long to get through it and he has a good grasp of Tolkien s sources Not that Tolkien would have liked that term, as Shippey quite rightly points out in the appropriate places better say, then, that Shippey knew what influenced Tolkien, through being a medievalist as well, and through teaching Tolkien s ow If you re going to study Tolkien, you probably can t avoid Shippey Fortunately, his work is reasonably readable although long winded for the size of the book it took me surprisingly long to get through it and he has a good grasp of Tolkien s sources Not that Tolkien would have liked that term, as Shippey quite rightly points out in the appropriate places better say, then, that Shippey knew what influenced Tolkien, through being a medievalist as well, and through teaching Tolkien s own curriculum at Leeds.I realise now, though, that not much of this sunk in I ll have to reread any relevant sections to effectively write my essay, I think It s not a precisely relaxing read, going into the depth of detail it does, and referring to works of Tolkien s which I haven t read or which were themselves difficult to digest.Still, it s a good place to start, and it s probablyenjoyable if you don t have an essay deadline looming up behind you, tapping pointedly on your shoulder

  4. Bob Bob says:

    Summary A study of Tolkien s methods in creating the narratives of Middle Earth, including words, names, maps, poetry, and mythology.For most of us who have read and re read J.R.R Tolkien s Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and other stories, we marvel at the world Tolkien creates, complete with fascinating names, a variety of languages with poetry and mythologies of beginnings, and the entry of evil into their world Creatures who previously only inhabited the fairy tales of childhood come ali Summary A study of Tolkien s methods in creating the narratives of Middle Earth, including words, names, maps, poetry, and mythology.For most of us who have read and re read J.R.R Tolkien s Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and other stories, we marvel at the world Tolkien creates, complete with fascinating names, a variety of languages with poetry and mythologies of beginnings, and the entry of evil into their world Creatures who previously only inhabited the fairy tales of childhood come alive dwarves, elves, trolls, wights, and orcs, as well as Tolkien s unique creation, those lovable hobbits One wonders, how did he do all that We might wonder where Christopher Tolkien, his son, has gotten all the material for twelve volumes of Middle Earth history and .Tom Shippey s book helps answer that question, and is a boon to those who wish to delve an appropriate word into the depths underneath the stories we love Shippey begins with what it meant for Tolkien to be a philologist It was a time when the field of English studies was riven between lit versus lang Tolkien was a philologist He loved languages, particularly the languages from which modern English came Shippey observes that for Tolkien, the story arose from the language and the world he created provided a place for the languages The book traces all of this, the people and place names, the poetry and song, the map of Middle Earth and a mythology to make sense of it all.He analyzes the stories and what he calls interlacement as a series of different stories intersect in this grand story He also unfolds Tolkien s lifetime work of establishing the history behind The Lord of the Rings, including the account that made up The Silmarillion, finished by Christopher Tolkien Tolkien worked for decades on various pieces of the history, developing languages, drawing on Old English and other languages to come up with words, and then going back and forth, harmonizing his account He would devise stories and characters like Tom Bombadil and then try to fit them into his growing narrative Names changed over times as Trotter became Strider and Aragorn It appears that Tolkien often could be drawn down rabbit trails as he sought to elaborate the bones of the history of Middle Earth The story Leaf by Niggle is a parable of Tolkien s creative process It is a story of an artist so meticulous that he only paints one leaf Oh, what a leaf Tolkien painted, even if he left much unfinished work to Christopher The book includes several afterwords, the most interesting of which is a comparison of the text of Lord of the Rings with Peter Jackson s version, underscoring what can be done with text versus film, and the plot choices Jackson made, sometimes illuminating, sometimes questionable.If all the poems and strange names in Lord of the Rings are off putting to you, this probably isn t the book for you Shippey plunges deeply into all of this and Tolkien s creative process that resulted in the story It can be heavy wading, and is probably done best after reading Lord of the Rings several times and having the text at your side If you love all this stuff, you will love this book and won t mind some of the sections which get fairly technical with lots of unfamiliar words.Tolkien probably started developing the ideas that led to The Lord of the Rings around 1914 The Lord of the Rings was published in 1954 and 1955 His other major work, The Silmarillion, was published posthumously in 1977 In an era where some fan fiction writers crank out a work every year or two, Shippey helps us understand why it took so long to produce these works and why these works are considered so great by so many Shippey makes the case that in creating this mythology in the English language, Tolkien was The Author of the Century Tolkien did not merely create a story He created a world

  5. Jeffrey David Jeffrey David says:

    We all know or wrongly deny that J.R.R Tolkien was a genius But Shippey, who took over Tolkien s chair at Oxford, looks at Tolkien s teaching curriculum and comes up with a definitive vote that Tolien was the greatest writer of the English speaking world By studying the place names in the Lord of the Rings and the other works , Shippey shows how Tolkien recaptured English history from long before the 1006 Conquest, and conencted with the myths and tales that had been transmitted into Engla We all know or wrongly deny that J.R.R Tolkien was a genius But Shippey, who took over Tolkien s chair at Oxford, looks at Tolkien s teaching curriculum and comes up with a definitive vote that Tolien was the greatest writer of the English speaking world By studying the place names in the Lord of the Rings and the other works , Shippey shows how Tolkien recaptured English history from long before the 1006 Conquest, and conencted with the myths and tales that had been transmitted into England long before the arrival of Christanity It s not easy creating one myth Tolkien did that, while also saving the essence of many

  6. Greg Greg says:

    It can be a little dry at time, but definitely worth the read if you re a Tolkien fan The worst part about it is it makes you want to read all of Tolkien s work again.

  7. Jonathan Langford Jonathan Langford says:

    Analysis of Tolkien s sources and the uses he put to them is a stape of Tolkien criticism However, it is seldom done terribly well What Shippey has done that no one else has done anywhere near as well so far as I m aware is look at Tolkien s use of those sources and use it to illuminate Tolkien s creative process In so doing, Shippey brings together Tolkien s scholarly identity as a philologist and his authorial identity as a writer of fantasy, and shows that those two identities are one an Analysis of Tolkien s sources and the uses he put to them is a stape of Tolkien criticism However, it is seldom done terribly well What Shippey has done that no one else has done anywhere near as well so far as I m aware is look at Tolkien s use of those sources and use it to illuminate Tolkien s creative process In so doing, Shippey brings together Tolkien s scholarly identity as a philologist and his authorial identity as a writer of fantasy, and shows that those two identities are one and the same.Put simply, this is the best single book of Tolkien criticism that I have read While much of the ground here is also covered in Shippey s later book, Tolkien Author of the Century, this one in my view hasof the meat of his argument

  8. Daniel Daniel says:

    From my Weekly Standard review link here IN THE NEWLY REVISED and expanded version of The Road to Middle earth, Tom Shippey, a colleague of Tolkien at Oxford, has delved deep into Middle earth s Northern roots What Tolkien set out to do in The Hobbit, Shippey suggests, was recreate the forgotten literatures of ancient northern Europe The dwarves to which Bilbo is introduced in the first chapter Dori, Nori, Ori, Oin, Gloin, Fili, Kili, Bombur, Bifur, Bofur, Dw From my Weekly Standard review link here IN THE NEWLY REVISED and expanded version of The Road to Middle earth, Tom Shippey, a colleague of Tolkien at Oxford, has delved deep into Middle earth s Northern roots What Tolkien set out to do in The Hobbit, Shippey suggests, was recreate the forgotten literatures of ancient northern Europe The dwarves to which Bilbo is introduced in the first chapter Dori, Nori, Ori, Oin, Gloin, Fili, Kili, Bombur, Bifur, Bofur, Dwalin, Balin, and Thorin have names taken directly from a section of the Eddic poem V lusp , often known as the Dvergatal or Dwarves Roster, which scholars have typically regarded as a meaningless list Tolkien, however, saw in the Dvergatal and other such scraps not a rigmarole, but the last faded memento of something once great and important, an Odyssey of the dwarves But, particularly in The Hobbit, Tolkien found it impossible simply to tell a story from the heroic world of the North The narrative itself required the irony of Bilbo Baggins, a bourgeois hobbit, if only to connect the modern reader to the lost world With prodding from the wizard Gandalf, Thorin Oakenshield and the dwarves agree to employ Bilbo as a burglar to accompany them in a journey to reclaim their far off, ancestral home, the Lonely Mountain, from the depredations of the dragon Smaug.For Bilbo, discretion in battle is often the only part of valor, and his ineptitude at burglarious proceedingsthan once threatens to throw the whole company into ruin The strong comic vein of The Hobbit owes much to the clash between Bilbo s modern anachronisms the jacket he wears, his handkerchiefs, his talk of profit and contracts and the archaic world in which Thorin Oakenshield and the others live The dwarves are on a high and noble quest, straight out of the age of ancient epic Bilbo is on an adventure, straight out of the age of the Victorian novel All the comedy in the book comes from this contrast but in the end, the comic vein gives way, as Thorin, on his deathbed, exchanges with Bilbo parting words indicating a newfound mutual understanding and tolerance of their respective worlds I am glad that I have shared in your perils that has beenthan any Baggins deserves No said Thorin There isin you of good than you know, child of the kindly West Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure Ifof us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world Perhaps what Tolkien hoped is that through the comic and ironic contrast of a modern hobbit let loose in a heroic world, present day readers would come to some appreciation of the past Or perhaps he simply caught hold of the tail of a fantastic children s story, that day when he scribbled in an exam book, and all he did was hold on while it bucked and galloped its way to the end of the book Maybe he meant it, in other words, or maybe he didn t, but either way he was clearly on to something, for Middle earth proved a thicker, richer place than was necessary for the story

  9. Michael Joosten Michael Joosten says:

    There s a fair amount of repetition between Shippey s two main books about Tolkien, but inasmuch as the two books are different approaches to the same topic or presentations of the same material to different audiences that s not necessarily a defect I think, both when I read them originally and rereading them this year, that I read Author of the Century first, and this is somewhat appropriate, though it is chronologically inaccurate The Road to Middle earth is far the older text and been upd There s a fair amount of repetition between Shippey s two main books about Tolkien, but inasmuch as the two books are different approaches to the same topic or presentations of the same material to different audiences that s not necessarily a defect I think, both when I read them originally and rereading them this year, that I read Author of the Century first, and this is somewhat appropriate, though it is chronologically inaccurate The Road to Middle earth is far the older text and been updated twice to take into account material that Author of the Century always had access to.I say that this is a somewhat appropriate reading order, because Author is not in any way ageneralised or simplied account of things, it s approach ISeasily accessible to the modern reader because the focus is on things we arefamiliar with, looking at what makes Tolkien successful from ageneral perspective looking at Tolkien from the perspective of a Stanley Unwin or a C.S Lewis or a Humphrey Carpenter, one might say whereas The Road is almost a case of Shippey explaining Tolkien s method from the perspective of Tolkien himself.If this indeed the case, it makes sense both that I think The Road to be the superior work and thedifficult one Looking at everything Tolkien does in literature from his deeply held philological convictions and practices is undoubtedlyvaluable for getting us to the heart of Tolkien and Shippey is one of handful of living scholars who could do it, given the scarcity of philologists, while those who could have penned a version of Author areeasily found , but it is also harder insofar as philology is harder It is a not a common way of thinking and it is a rigorous study I have almost solely been exposed to it through Tolkien, for which I am immensely grateful to him, but it makes him effectively sui generis among the great authors of fiction in his methods

  10. Paula Paula says:

    There are many intriguing tidbits in here that offer glimpses into the mind of Tolkien Shippey, who followed in Tolkien s footsteps, so far as his career in philology was concerned, was the right man for this job His emphasis is on the place and character names, and the roots of Tolkien s writings in the mythologies that inspired them I was a wee bit disappointed in the book The author dispersed his efforts over all of the published works, spending the bulk of his pages on the writings publi There are many intriguing tidbits in here that offer glimpses into the mind of Tolkien Shippey, who followed in Tolkien s footsteps, so far as his career in philology was concerned, was the right man for this job His emphasis is on the place and character names, and the roots of Tolkien s writings in the mythologies that inspired them I was a wee bit disappointed in the book The author dispersed his efforts over all of the published works, spending the bulk of his pages on the writings published after Tolkien s death This wasthan I was bargaining for Though I appreciate the attention to detail, I would have likedabout the overarching themes in the works These are merely alluded to in this work, but not discussed at any length However, that is just my own taste, and has no bearing on the quality of this work For what it is, it was masterfully done, and probably deserves a higher rating than I have provided here

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