April 14, 2019
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, for they resonate the journey of the individual.
In that sense, J.R.R. Tolkien – A Biography by Humphrey Carter 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 and that’s the most important thing.
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.”[Bold Emphasis Added]
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 myriad insights, but regardless, it’s intriguing to note that Tolkien himself was not an avid fan of biographies ironically enough.
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 Reading & Viewing:
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R. Tokien
Exploring J.R.R. Tokien’s The Hobbit by Corey Olsen Ph.D.
The Philosophy Of Tolkien – The Worldview Behind Lord Of The Rings by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.
On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road To Virtue By Tolkien & Lewis by Louis Marko Ph.D.
The Individual & The Road
Lord Of The Rings: How To Read J.R.R. Tolkien [Presentation]
The Vision Of Freedom That Tolkien Got & The West Forgot [Video]
What The List Of Most Banned Books Says About Our Society’s Fears
What To Expect From Libraries In The 21st Century [Video]
The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
Paradise Lost by John Milton
The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
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About The Author:
Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, inquirer, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, and freelance writer who aims at empowering individuals while also studying and regularly mirroring 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.