And being both, it goes without saying that Shippey's book is refreshingly unacademic, or better, NOT hung up on Tolkien fantasia.
I've found to be a fascinating companion piece. Although Prof. Shippey tends to get a little defensive (and sometimes rude toward Tolkien critics), his analysis of the Tolkien corpus is enlivening. Shippey makes a convincing case that Tolkien has made a tremendous contribution to modern literature.
Now, I finally have a conscious understanding as to WHY I've always been drawn to mythological and fantasy stories, and why "real" modern literature from the likes of Hemingway, Salinger, Grass, Joyce, etc. leaves me cold.
My only criticism is that I wish there… Read more