#Book Review: J.R.R. Tolkien – A Biography by Humphrey Carter | #SmartReads


BreakawayIndividual.com
Zy Marquiez
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.”[1][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.

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Source:

[1] Humphrey Carter,  J.R.R. Tolkien – A Biography, p. 131.

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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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If you find value in this information, feel free to share it.  This article is free and open source.  All individuals have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and  BreakawayIndividual.com

___________________________________________________________
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.

 

#Book Review: The Journey by Peter Kreeft | #SmartReads


BreakawayIndividual.com
Zy Marquiez
April 8, 2019

Life as a journey has always been a concept that has intrigued me to no end.  With that regard, the following book showcases some of the reasons why I hold such a concept with such curiosity.

The Journey by Peter Kreeft is an interesting fictional account through allegorical form of an individual, in this case the author, who seeks spiritual truth.

With his dear philosophical companion, Socrates, who is a confidant and guide by his side, the Kreeft creates a journey in which quite a few philosophies are encountered, and each philosophy is addressed as needed in order to journey towards the next step in the author’s personal journey.

Within the allegory written, the author meets thirteen different historical characters who expound their version of truth on particular philosophical ideas.  These individuals are: Socrates, Epicurus, Protagoras, Diogenes, Gorgias, Democritus, Thrasymachus, Xenophanes, Parmenides, Aristotle, Moses, Joshua and C.S. Lewis.  Each philosophy is explored as needed, providing valuable insights about what those philosophies really delineate.

The first half to two thirds of the book covered general philosophical concepts, while the latter offered deeper ruminations into Kreefts unabashed religious point of view through the allegory.

In essence, the book is about choosing a philosophical life in every way shape and form.  That’s what appeals to me most about the book.  Additionally, the concept of a life as a journey, such as what took place in Dante’s Inferno, was also rather thought-provoking.

As Kreeft notes, in life, you either have a good personal philosophy, or a bad one.  This book helps the reader consider at length what type of philosophy one will choose, regardless of what point of view you come from.

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Suggested Reading & Viewing:

The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
Paradise Lost by John Milton
The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
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.
Lord Of The Rings: How To Read J.R.R. Tolkien [Presentation]
The Vision Of Freedom That Tolkien Got & The West Forgot [Video]

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If you find value in this information, feel free to share it.  This article is free and open source.  All individuals have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and  BreakawayIndividual.com

___________________________________________________________
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.

#Book Review: On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road To #Virtue By Tolkien & Lewis by Louis Markos Ph.D. | #SmartReads


BreakawayIndividual.com
Zy Marquiez
April 3, 2019

On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road To Virtue With Tolkien & Lewis by Louis Markos Ph.D. is a book that seeks to rediscover virtues, as they were known to be in older times.  These virtues are exemplified through the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.

Peter Kreeft Ph.D., author of book gems such as Socratic Logic, Philosophy 101, et al., opens up the book with an apt foreword, which is followed by a salient introduction by the author Markos.

In the introduction Louis Markos outlines the fact that modern society needs a revived awareness in virtues, which have been lost but were inherent to individuals once upon a time.  The author also covers why fantasy and stories, such as those by Tolkien and Lewis, are vital in showcasing these lost virtues.  Also, the author likewise gives us some background information on the subject of  virtue, as well as what his approach will be in the breakdown of the messages and morals that he later tackles.

Although the book covers both Tolkien and Lewis’ work, the larger portion will be of Tolkien’s work.  In a rough guesstimate, the book is perhaps two thirds Tolkien to one third Lewis or so.  This does in no way take away from the meaning of the book, but it’s something that the reader perhaps might want to know.  At least for me, the book was beyond priceless given the subject matter.

In addition, the reason that the author has chosen to cover Tolkien and Lewis’ work is because “though Tolkien was not a fan of The Chronicles of Narnia, the fact remains that the two men shared the same premodern Christian understanding of good and evil, virtue and vice, beauty and ugliness.”[1][Emphasis Added]

Since both authors have such similar philosophies, drawing from each authors’ works is in fact a ‘no-brainer’.

At the nascent stage of each chapter, the author begins with a particular message and/or moral that has been overlooked by modern society, and then that particular theme is then analytically coupled to information from The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, or The Silmarillion, with the information further complemented with a passage from The Chronicles Of Narnia that helps buttress the theme further.

One neat part about each of these chapters, and then lessons woven and analyzed therein, is that there is a variety of ways one can learn from these given the information provided.  Given that the subjects of these books are so vital to healthy and robust human principles, having intriguing discussions regarding these themes should be something ruminated upon at length.  Families or friends could discuss the information bouncing it back and forth in thought, or it could even be covered in homeschooling or group discussion perhaps.  The book could even provide a platform for discussion in formal schooling in highschool or college, considering how important virtue, morality, and goodness are to a healthy society[3].  The fact that the lessons are woven within the stories of Tolkien and Lewis only make these subjects that much more approachable, since their works tend to hold the intrigue of individuals.

In plain speak, what the author seeks to accomplish is help the individual learn why the works of Tolkien and Lewis are not only highly respected, but why their works resonate deeply at the being level.

Each of the examples from the books of Lewis and Tolkien are quiet salient ones, and very meaningful.  In fact, some of the examples provided could arguably be some of the sagest lines written by each author, at least for this book’s purposes.

For what it’s worth, the book is split up into three sections.  In section one, the author’s main focus was the proverbial road – the individual journey – that each individually embarks upon which resonates with our deepest being.  Markos does a very remarkable job in showing how the quest that the characters in each of respective novels follows a specific journey, and in much the same way mirrors what individual people might go through in life.  Section two covers four classical virtues, while Section three breaks down three theological virtues, which contain also a fourth, which regard friendship, and was one of my favorite parts of the book.  Those latter stages really exemplify those virtues in the authors’ work in a way that aids the reader in realizing what society has lost, and how to help reboot the road to virtue.

At its closing stages, the book finishes with a very robust and enlightening Bibliographical Essay [Appendix A] regarding J.R.R. Tolkien and Middle Earth, which features substantial additional information regarding all things Tolkien.  A very notable addition for any serious fan, and will even prove useful for some casual fans that might not know where to start.  As someone who’s beginning to study Tolkien at length, this part is absolutely invaluable.

The second bibliographical essay [Appendix B] touches upon C.S. Lewis and Narnia.  In similar fashion, the resources covering Lewis are discussed at length, and in rather trenchant fashion.  Markos does an exemplary job of really going above in beyond with both essays in supplanting a veritable truckload of information for individuals – enough to keep you busy in contemplation for years surely!

All things considered, this book really gives the incisive and inquisitive mind much to ruminate upon, and for me it’s undoubtedly a great book, and a worthy book to have in any personal library.

In fact, considering the topic at hand – regarding society’s lost virtues – one could even make the bold argument that it’s even a great piece of modern literature.  Regarding that, perhaps Peter Kreeft said it best in the book’s foreword:

“That’s why reading great literature; next to meeting people is the single most effective way to learn not to flunk lifeLife is a story, therefore moral education happens first and foremost powerfully through stories, e.g., through books.”[2][Bold & Underline Emphasis Added]

This book in particular, is not only educational, but helps readers sensibly reconnect with virtues that are going by the wayside.  And in an age where society’s virtues keep getting overlooked, a book like this is worth its weight in gold.  That alone is worth the price of this book.

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Footnotes:

[1] Louis Markos Ph.D., On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road To Virtue With Tolkien & Lewis, p. 15.
[2] Ibid., Peter Kreeft, Foreword, On The Shoulders Of Hobbits, p. 8.
[3] The fact that these topics are NOT discussed in school should be a huge, obvious, glaring omission that requires additional extrapolation in the future.

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Suggested Reading & Vewing:

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Exploring J.R.R. Tokien’s The Hobbit by Corey Olsen Ph.D.
Lord Of The Rings: How To Read J.R.R. Tolkien [Presentation]
The Vision Of Freedom That Tolkien Got & The West Forgot [Video]

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If you find value in this information, please share it.  This article is free and open source.  All individuals have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and  BreakawayIndividual.com

___________________________________________________________
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.