With his high fantasy literature, J.R.R. Tolkien has provided the tinder that stokes the imagination of millions. His books are known around the world, and for great reason. Having read some of his work myself, thought it prudent to see what events provided him with the impetus to create a whole mythology to boot.
In that sense, J.R.R. Tolkien – A Biography by Humphrey Carter, which was featured in the March Book Haul, provides some illumination into the underlying reasons that drove Tolkien to write what he wrote and create what he did.
The biography is split up into 8 parts, some of which are more interesting than others. Admittedly, autobiographies can run quite dry many times, but this still did a reasonable job of showing us Tolkien in his most authentic form.
Tolkien’s growth, his early years, his friendship with C.S. Lewis, and even his penchant for countless revisions are all catalogued within the book. It was particularly interesting to see what a perfectionist Tolkien was. In a sense, this allowed Tolkien to fine tune his writing process while at the same time expanding his Legendarium.
The Legendarium was created by Tolkien to serve as the fictional mythology about Earth’s remote past, and is composed by The Simarillion, The Hobbit, Lord Of The Rings, The History Of The Middle-Earth and more. This however, is not discussed in the book. I only mention it to supply the fervent reader for additional avenues to explore Tolkien’s unbounded work.
My favorite parts of the autobiography were about the creation of his books. Be that as it may, Tolkien’s skill in poetry, in conjunction with his relentless passion as a philologist to pursue the roots of language and learn everything about it was also highly intriguing.
In fact, regarding his penchant for writing Lord Of The Rings and linguistics, Tolkien had this to say:
“One writes such a story not out of the leaves of trees still to be observed, nor by means of botany and soil-science; but it grows like a seed in the dark out of the leaf-mould of the mind: out of all that has been seen or thought or read, that has long ago been forgotten, descending into the deeps. No doubt there is much selection, as with a gardener: what one throws on one’s personal compost-heap; and my mould is evidently made largely of linguistic matter.”
In its entirety, the book provides ample latitude of background while still providing enough fascinating components of Tolkien’s life. Each reader will undoubtedly gain different insights, but regardless, it’s intriguing to note that Tolkien himself was not an avid fan of biographies.
Tolkien believed that biographies wouldn’t provide the truest nature of the person, and perhaps he was right. Just like movies, which are based on books, provide merely a facsimile of the depth which is entirely superficial of what great books provide, autobiographies will likewise never capture in full breadth and scope the life of an individual. Still, readers are lucky that Tolkien wrote phenomenal fiction because it allows us to see Tolkien’s soul as it is infused within pages. And there’s no more authentic biography than a writer’s words.
 Humphrey Carter, J.R.R. Tolkien – A Biography, p. 131.
Suggested Book Reviews and video:
The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien
Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit by Corey Olsen Ph.D.
On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road To Virtue With Tolkien & Lewis by Louis Markos Ph.D.
The Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
How To Read J.R.R. Tolkien [Video]
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About The Author:
Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.