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Letters Of Jrr Tolkien Paperback – Sep 25 1995

4.9 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: UK General Books; 1 edition (Sept. 25 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0261102656
  • ISBN-13: 978-0261102651
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 3.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #145,947 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


'So rich, it reads like an autobiography'

About the Author

Humphrey Carpenter was born in Oxford in 1946 and has spent most of his life in that city. He read English Language and Literature at Keble College, Oxford, and met Professor J.R.R. Tolkien on a number of occasions. For some years he worked for the BBC as a radio producer and broadcaster and has won acclaim as a top biographer, including the recent and controversial biography of Robert Runcie.

Customer Reviews

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By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on Oct. 10 2004
Format: Paperback
J.R.R. Tolkien was a prolific writer -- not just in creating the sprawling sagas of Middle-Earth, but also in writing letters, notes, and introspective studies of literature and religion. "The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien" is a surprisingly entertaining read, and an invaluable source for figuring out Middle-Earth's history, and Tolkien's writing.

His letters start off with notes to his beloved Edith, before they got married, when he was in the army. After only fifteen pages, correspondence with publishers starts (regarding the publishing of "Mr. Bliss"), and continues with details about his writing, illustrations, and plans for future writings. "[The created legend] should be 'high,' purged of the gross, and fit for the more adult mind of a land long now steeped in poetry," he writes at one point.

But letters to publishers are only some of the letters Tolkien wrote in his long life. Other letters are to his kids and his friends, detailing his trip to Italy, the Narnia books, his friendships, his career, the nuances of "Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit," "Beowulf," and explaining his thoughts on philosophy, religion, myth and his own writing -- even describing an aborted sequel to "Lord of the Rings" called "The New Shadow," which he abandoned as being "both sinister and depressing."

Do hobbits have pointy ears? Did Sauron create the orcs? Were the evil spiders inspired by a childhood tarantula bite? Was the Ring of Power "der Nibelungen Ring"? Tolkien addressed all of these in his letters. (And the answers are: Yes, no, no, and absolutely not!) Rumors are addressed, questions are answered, and Tolkien gives insights to his writings that -- obviously -- no one else could provide.
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Format: Paperback
Of the plethora of Tolkien books available on the market, not only is this one of the most essential, it is also one of the most highly enlightening. Naturally, that's because it was written by Tolkien himself.

Highly illuminating, frequently entertaining, and always interesting, Tolkien's LETTERS give us a remarkable look into one of the 20th century's most popular and widely read authors. Whether he is talking to his son about marriage, struggling to publish LORT in the early 1950s, addressing fans' various questions and concerns, writing about his scholarly life or his books, Tolkien is sharp-witted, engaging, and extremely intelligent. To his credit, he never sounds condescending, and ultimately, of all the writing about Tolkien, this is ultimately the most humanizing of them all.

What makes some of the most interesting to the letters are when Tolkien is discussing his own works. Much like UNFINISHED TALES, the LETTERS are a wonderful sumplement and a great source of information about Middle-earth that cannot be found elsewhere and is incredibly enlightening, whether it be a die-hard Tolkien researcher or a first time reader.

For those familiar with the older editions of LETTERS (I have a hardback version, well before this came out), the newly revised index, prepared by Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull, make this alone worth purchasing. The index is so much better and makes this edition a lot easier to navigate through

What makes Tolkien's LETTERS such a valuable addition to the Tolkien canon is because, of all his books, this is the most intimate, naked look we will ever have into his mind other than through a mythological lens of his core books.
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Format: Paperback
Ever wonder where those Tolkien know-it-alls get their information from? This is one of the secret treasures we harbor. The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien reveals his inner thoughts concerning his own life, the world as he saw it, and the characters and events in his marvelous stories.
Time and time again I've turned to the Letters for inspiration and information on what Tolkien had to say about everything concerning Middle-earth, from the family secrets and scandals of the Tooks to how Aragorn would have ruled Arnor and Gondor in the Fourth Age. Tolkien shared his private thoughts with a select group of fans who wrote to him in his lifetime, and with his friends and close relatives. These letters are a rare glimpse into his candor, wit, and values.
Many of the questions that Tolkien readers form today when they first pick up his books were shared by their predecessors in the 1930s and 1950s when The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings were first published. His answers to fan questions are as fresh and informative to the 100th-time reader as to the 1st time reader.
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Format: Paperback
I picked up this volume on a whim. Would I find dry rhetoric? Mindless commentary on Tolkien's writings? Or, ideally, something special?
Something special! Indeed. If I could go back in time and sit with Tolkien and friends while they smoked pipes and discussed their writings, this is what I'd overhear. If I could pick Tolkien's brain on many subjects considering the Ring and Middle Earth, these are the sorts of things he'd say. These letters cover a wide range of topics over a number of years and point directly to the source of Tolkien's inspirations. Questions that have long lay dormant in my mind sprung to life and found reprieve here within these stunning letters.
Do you wonder about the spiritual implications of "The Lord of the Rings"? Do you wish for insight into Tolkien's relationship with C.S. Lewis? Do you pine for the day you could've had Tolkien respond to your own questions? This side of eternity, "The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien" may be the closest you'll come to satisfying these itchings. If you're a fan, this is indispensable. And, I might add, a lot of fun besides.
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