Monday, January 7, 2013
J.R.R. TOLKIEN: The Making of a Legend by Colin Duriez
Long before the successful, Lord of the Rings film trilogy, J.R.R. Tolkien's imaginary world and characters had enthralled and delighted millions of readers. But who was this man who dreamt up the intricate languages and perfectly crafted world of Middle-earth?
Tolkien had a difficult life for many years: orphaned and poor, his guardian forbad him to communicate with the woman he had fallen in love with, and he went through the horrors of the First World War. An intensely private and brilliant scholar, he spent over fifty years working on the languages, history, peoples and geography of Middle-earth, with a consistent mythology inspiried by a formidable knowledge of early northern European history and culture. J.R.R. Tolkien became a legend by creating an imaginary world that has enthralled and delighted generations. This engaging and accessible biography brings him to life.
Colin Duriez has appeared as a commentator on DVD's of Peter Jackson;s The Lord of the Rings, and BBC television's The Worlds of Fantasy. He is also the author of The Inklings Handbook (with the late David Porter), J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis: The Story of Their Friendship, and Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings.He has contributed to several definitive reference works, including The Tolkien Encyclopedia.
I have been a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien since I was a child. I met Bilbo Baggins at a young age and to this day I own a copy of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.
When I saw the opportunity to review a biography of J.R.R. Tolkien, I couldn't pass it up. How did he come up with his ideas, languages and story line, characters, Middle-earth and all that makes up The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.
Mr. Duriez has written a wonderful biography that was enlightening, entertaining and well researched. He brought back to life J.R.R. Tolkien, from his childhood through adulthood. Now when I read about the Two Towers, I have a good idea of what inspired that idea.
I wasn't aware or rather I didn't think about it, but reading about Tolkien's war experiences during the First World War made such a huge impact on his writing and descriptions of orcs and balrogs and more. Now when I read about Frodo and Sam trekking through the bogs, I know in Tolkien's mind he was remembering all those young men laying in the mud and mire on the front line.
Though I was a teenager when Tolkien died, reading this biography has really made him more real to me, not a myth of a man, but someone who struggled with insecurities, brilliance and a life-long love with his precious Edith - Luthien.
Reading this book has also encouraged me to obtain another copy (the last one I had belonged to a library) of The Silmarillion. I think I am ready to tackle it again!
Kregel Publications provided me with a free review copy of this book for the purpose of writing this review. I am under no obligation to write a positive review.