#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.

___________________________________________________________
Source:

[1] 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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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.

 

The Individual & The Road | #Growth | #Life | #Perspective | #Choices

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
– Lao Tzu

BreakawayIndividual.com
Zy Marquiez
April 12, 2019

Life is a journey in myriad ways.  What journey each individual takes is a personal choice, but choices abound.

Just like life offers you no choice whether you get to play the game of life, life offers you no choice whether to be on a path or not.  Each of us are taking individual steps towards a specific bearing, in a particular direction, on a certain path.  Each breath we take, each step we take, paves the current road we undertake, and the road that will forge itself ahead.

Whether individuals wish to take a literal journey (traveling to lands unknown), a spiritual journey (going to spiritual locales), a metaphorical journey (by reading a book or playing a video game), an imaginative journey (be creating a new path, a new journey) or something else, the choices are varied and intriguing as they are vast in scope.

Each path offers a drastically different adventure, not unlike what the great books of our past offered.  Timeless books such as The Lord Of The Rings, The Divine Comedy, Don Quixote, The Odyssey, Paradise Lost, The Aeneid, and countless others, all offer a veritable quest under which the protagonist goes on the road of life, the personal journey.  These roads taken, these journeys, mirror that of individuals in fictional form.

It is my contention that individuals gravitate towards these stories and myriad others because these mirror some of the more profound truths of life while wrapped in a journey of self-discovery that is always interesting to sink one’s mind into.  That said, some of these truths on the road to self-discovery are aided by a character that is rarely is ever considered.

One could argue that this journey of self-discovery is aided by the most significant character you as an individual will encounter on the open road: the road itself.

Lord Of The Rings features the idea of the Road as a character in salient fashion.

In fact, Frodo opines on this notion in the Lord of the Rings, where he cautiously recalls what Bilbo sought to impart:

“[Bilbo] used often to say there was only one Road; that it was a great river: its springs were at every doorstep, and every path was its tributary.  “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door,” he used to say.  “You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.”[1]

Not unlike cautioning contact with a stranger, the main lesson Bilbo wished to impart on Frodo was that there was more to ‘the Road’ than it seems at first blush.

To this end, in his noteworthy book, On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road Of Virtue With Tolkien & Lewis, author Louis Markos Ph.D. states:

“…the Road has a life of its own.  It winds, bends, and turns in a thousand directions, ever ready to trap or mislead the unwary traveler.  To set your feet to the Road is indeed a dangerous business, not only on account of the obstacles that you face along the way, but because the Road is akin to a living thing with which you must relate, struggle, and negotiate.  It draws and lures you, tests and challenges you, either punishing or rewarding you for your troubles.”[2][Bold Emphasis Added]

Maybe the above notion is perhaps why certain individuals – like myself at times – have been reticent at at certain points to participate in certain journeys, whatever those may be.  Perhaps deep down inside, this Road is life itself acting and showing us lessons, while being active because life by its very definition is aliveAn interesting proposition to consider.

Perhaps it is fear of engaging with a greater something, something more significant.  Fear is what held me back many times in life, and perhaps it was fear of ‘the Road’ – the journey; a possible derivative of life.

Side bar: there are many personal journeys of myriad types that I either did not engage in, and some of which I have chosen to take, though not always of my own accord initially.  The commonalities each set of choices share is that those journeys I took, irrespective of what paths they were, always made me grow as a person.  Conversely, the paths I did not take always left me feeling as if something unexplored withered to the sands of time.

Each of us individuals have paths we take, stories we live, and a future to unravel.  What future that is will be highly dependent on what journey we undertake, and that’s saliently dependent upon whether we are open-minded to possibilities, or close-minded.

As individuals, each of us is not unlike Bilbo, where he was incredibly guarded of the Road.  This could be because, deep down inside, at the being level, we must face something we have never faced before – ourselves – just as Luke Skywalker did in the cave.

Getting back on course, on this very notion of the Road, Markos notes:

“Since the Odyssey, nearly every epic hero has had to face at some point in his journey-quest the archetypal Descent into the Underworld.  In the case of Virgil’s Aenid, Aeneas enters the realm of Hades as a grieving and defeated Trojan, but emerges as the Father of the Roman Empire.  In the case of Dante’s Inferno, Dante enters the yawning pit of Hell as a confused and despairing pilgrim who has lost his way, but emerges as a renewed believer who his regained his purpose, vision and calling.”[3]

These two examples show the development a character, an individual, may undergo under such a path.  This is because:

“It is dangerous thing to walk out your door, but without risk there is no real development, no self-knowledge, no awareness of the choices that one must make.”[4]

Without going on a personal quest, on a journey of this magnitude, there is no significant growth.

And isn’t that one of the ideas life is about, growth, the personal evolution of the individual?

Consider that the Road was incredibly important to Tolkien.  Given its significance, Tolkien deliberately chooses to show the road in the very first chapter of Lord Of The Rings:

“The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can.”(I.i.35)

“Far ahead the Road has gone,” implying the Road is alive, just like life.

To hammer-down the point, Tolkien anchors the road, anchors his book in the closing chapter, sprinkling a newfound vision of what the road offers:

“Still round the corner they may wait
A new road or a secret gate;
And though I oft have passed them by,
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths
that run
West of the Moon, East of the Sun.”[6][Bold Emphasis Added]

“A day will come at last when I shall take the hidden paths”.  Paths that that aren’t readily discovered but are there; paths that are waiting for discovery by the individual.

All the answers lie within those two poems, all the answers lie within the road – within life itself.

Whatever road you – the individual – choose to take will ultimately give you a broader view of the possibilities that life offers, the possibilities that your personal quest holds.

Regardless, hidden paths await; roads of self-discovery, roads of growth.

Personal roads that can only be walked by you the individual.

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Footnotes:

[1] Louis Markos Ph.D., On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road Of Virtue With Tolkien & Lewis, quoted from Lord Of The Rings, p. (I.iii.72).
[2] Ibid., pp. 41-42.
[3] Ibid., pp. 45-46.
[4] Ibid., pg. 44.
[5] Ibid., p. 59, quoted from Lord Of The Rings, p. (I.i.35).
[6] Ibid., p. 59, quoted from Lord Of The Rings, p. (VI.ix.1005).

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Suggested Reading:

Have You Ever Walked On The Moon?
Wings Are Made To Fly, Seeds Are Made To Grow
Consciousness – The Key To Life
Why A Sound Mindset Is Crucial: The Light Side Of Mindset Vs. The Dark Side Of Mindset
Mindset Mindset Mindset!
A Sound Mindset Amidst The Obstacles Of Life
Bruce Lee On Conformity & Open-Mindedness
Mindwaves & Mindfulness
Modern Misteps Meet Mindfulness
Breakaway Individuals Throughout History: The Individual, The Trailblazers & You
How You Deposit A Truckload Of Black Pearls Into An Emotional Bank Account
How Are Your (Emotional) Bank Accounts Doing?
Emotional Bank Accounts: Investing In Yourself
Emotional Bank Accounts: Withdraw Withdraw Withdraw!
Emotional Bank Accounts: Mutual Funds
Emotional Bank Accounts: Deposits & Withdraws
Emotional Bank Accounts: Interest Rates
Emotional Bank Accounts: Gems Gems Gems, Babies Everywhere!
Emotional Bank Accounts: I Call Your 7 Cents & Raise You A Dollar
Poker & Life: Pulling The Friend’s Card
Poker & Life: Playing The Ignorance Card For Safety Reasons
Imagination Unleashed
IT’S A DECEPTICON!!!
The Inherent Power Of Curiosity
A 7 Cent Investment Into An Emotional Bank Account To Convert A Hater?
What Do You Find Inspiring?
Poker FlashBack: Swimming With Sharks, Swimming With Whales
Imagination Rises Out Of The Jaws Of Defeat
What’s Your Story?
You The Individual Are Author Of Your Own Journey, Of Your Own Destiny
Harry Potter Fans Trash Talk?  Say WHAT?!
Consciously Creating The Road Of Change, The World Of Tomorrow
What Are Your Personal Defaults?
The Opening Salvo, The First Minute
The Seeds Of Today, The World Of Tomorrow
Assumptions Are Mother Of All F@!$ Ups
Piercing Perspectives #1: Taking Things For Granted | Health & Mindset
Piercing Perspectives #2: You The Individual Are Extraordinary
Piercing Perspectives #3: The Divide & Conquer Left Right Paradigm
Piercing Perspectives #4: Poker As A Mirror For Life
The Individual, The Foundation Of Society

___________________________________________________________
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 Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien | #SmartReads | #Fiction

A Laudable Landmark In Epic Fantasy


BreakawayIndividual.com
Zy Marquiez
April 6, 2019

If The Hobbit is Tolkien’s opening salvo into the world of epic fantasy literature, then The Lord Of The Rings [LOTR] is his full fledged assault on the genre cementing his name in epic fantasy’s timeless lore.

Thankfully, The Lord of The Rings picked off right where The Hobbit left off, building and expanding on Tolkien’s Universe to a whole different level.

The Lord Of The Rings is, as many of you may know, the sequel to The Hobbit, which is set in Tolkien’s Legendarium, and also plays a part in the world of Arda.

One of the simplest ways a reader may note the quality of a fantasy book is asking themselves: does it conjure magic?

Evoking literary mastery in a genre that was nigh nonexistent, and which many outright shunned, what J.R.R. Tolkien did with his entire Middle-Earth Series was nothing less than astonishing.  Not only did Tolkien write a veritable milestone in literature to boot, but he did so in a time where not many souls cared to venture upon the genre of fantasy.

Touching upon this very issue,medieval literature specialist and writer Corey Olsen Ph.D. puts it in his intriguing and in-depth book, Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit:

Tolkien was very aware of the artistic challenge he faced in writing a work of fantasy, especially since fantasy literature was far from the literary mainstream in the early twentieth century.  He knew that when they encountered his story in The Hobbit, his readers would have to leave their mundane and comfortable world behind and invest their imaginations in a world that contains magic and unexpected marvels.  In chapter One, Tolkien gives us a model for this very process within the story itself.  We begin in our safe and predictable world, and in the first chapter, we find ourselves in a world of wizard and dwarves and dragons.  In this transition, we find ourselves coming alongside a protagonist who is struggling through the exactly the same process, a character who himself internalizes the conflict between the mundane and the marvelous   Our first introduction to this magical, grim, and dangerous world of adventure is also his introduction, and his reluctance and difficulty in adjusting to it give us time to ease past our own discomfort and reservations.  Bilbo Baggins serves as a perfect touchstone for readers, both exploring and embodying the trickier frontier between the predictable and the unexpected.”[1][Bold Emphasis Added]

This goes to show that Tolkien wasn’t simply a savvy writer, but understood societal challenges he was facing at the time and made sure to do his best to address this notable issue.  What’s more, Tolkien simply didn’t stop there.

The Lord Of The Rings shows why Tolkien’s imagination was not only gratifyingly limitless, but how it was rather robust with meaning in many ways.

In fact, the power of this book is so profound and meaningful that philosopher and writer Peter Kreeft Ph.D. said the following words of it:

The deepest healing is the healing of the deepest wound.  The deepest wound is the frustration of the deepest need.  The deepest need is the need for meaning, purpose, and hope.  And that is what The Lord Of The Rings offers us.”[2][Bold Emphasis Added]

And still there’s more:

“…The Lord Of The Rings is infused with the same light that illumined the man who wrote it. And that light is true, for it reveals the reality of the world and life.  And it is also good, because it heals our blindness.  Like the Fellowship itself, Tolkien’s philosophy fights.  It conquers what George Orwell called the “smelly little orthodoxies” of political correctness that have twisted and wounded our souls.  In other words, it is like the healing herb athelas.”[3][Bold Emphasis Added].

Such is the potentiality held within Lord Of The Rings.

Although at times called a trilogy, The Lord Of The Rings is in fact a stand-alone novel that is split up into six separate books.[4]

The mythical and expansive universe created by Tolkien is one that still ignites the imagination in a way that nigh no other books do, except the greatest ones.  In like fashion, not only does Tolkien fuse fantasy with Norse myth and folklore, but The Lord Of The Rings features a plot that is robust, characters that grow and change with the plot, a setting that is phenomenal and enchanting, all woven within a seamless story that vaults the imagination into other worlds.

Throughout the book, the uniqueness and authenticity the characters echo shows the realism of the novel.  For instance, temptation sinks its teeth into Boromir and Galadriel, each displaying their own set of circumstances in battling against this malevolence.

Instances as the above and many more show many examples that this particular book is chock-full of life lessons to boot.

That’s what makes this particular book great piece of literature.

On the forward of On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road To Virtue With Tolkien & Lewis Peter Kreeft Ph.D. comments:

That’s why reading literature, next to meeting people, is the single most effective way to learn not to flunk lifeLife is a story, and therefore moral education happens first and foremost powerfully through stories, e.g., through books.”[5][Bold & Underline Emphasis Added]

Why this is so is because:

“…Tolkien bequeathed to the world a new treasure trove of heroic tales and adventures with the power to reinvigorate classical and medieval virtues that our modern technological age has deemed irrelevant.  Together with The Hobbit and its prequel (the Silmarillion) The Lord Of The Rings stands as a lighthouse in a world that has not only lost its way, but has lost much of its virtue, its integrity and its purpose.”[6][Bold Emphasis Added.]

In a modern age that is starving for virtuous souls from which to learn from, Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R Tolkien has much depth to offer.

For all of the above reasons, Tolkien’s magnum opus – The Lord Of The Rings – has stood the test of time and will continue to enthrall readers for ages to come.  Just like the characters in it, the story grows with every new pass you give it.

This understanding is best grasped by what J. Adler & Charles Van Doren shared in, How To Read A Book – The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading, which is the touchstone of critical reading:

“…if the book belongs to the highest class – the very small number of inexhaustible books – you discover on returning that the book seems to have grown with you.  You see new things in it – whole new sets of new things – that you did not see before.  Your previous understanding of the book is not invalidated; it is just as true as it ever was, and in the same ways that it was true before.  But now it is true in still other ways, too.”[7][Bold Emphasis Added]

Lord Of The Rings helps expand the bounds of imagination the more an individual journeys within its realm.  Even better, this book helps one see whole new perspectives and ideas that one had not previously considered.  Just like life offers ample opportunities for much learning, this book does as well.

Whether you’re looking for a great story, epic fantasy, incredible depth, mindful philosophy, or simply want to take a audacious adventure into a different setting, this book has much to offer.

Tolkien’s crown jewel – The Lord Of The Rings – has stood the test of time and will continue to enthrall readers for ages to come.  It has enthralled readers not simply because it’s a great piece of fantasy fiction, but also because this book and the lessons of virtue woven therein echo directly into your soul.   For those very reasons, this book will continue to be a touchstone for life, for not only does it teach you what happens when evil rises unabated, but more importantly, it teaches you what happens when individuals with high quality of consciousness help good conquer evil.  That alone makes this book a timeless possession in an age where virtues and goodness continue to dissipate

_____________________________________________________________________
Footnotes:

[1] Corey Olsen Ph.D., Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, p. 35
[2] Peter Kreeft Ph.D., The Philosophy Of Tolkien – The Worldview Behind Lord Of The Rinigs, p 17.
[3] Ibid., p. 3.
[4] J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship Of The Ring, p. 9., HoughtonMifflin.
[5] Louis Markos, On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road To Virtue With Tolkien & Lewis, p. 8, citing Peter Kreeft in the forward.
[6] Ibid., p. 14.
[7] Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren, How To Read A Book – The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading, p. 333.

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Suggested Reading & Viewing:

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]

___________________________________________________________
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 Philosophy Of #Tolkien – The Worldview Behind Lord Of The Rings by Peter Kreeft Ph.D. | #SmartReads

BreakawayIndividual.com
Zy Marquiez
April 5, 2019

The Philosophy Of Tolkien – The Worldview Behind Lord Of The Rings by Peter Kreeft Ph.D. is quite an insightful book where Kreeft searches for philosophical gems of wisdom embedded by J.R.R. Tolkien within his magnum opus, Lord of the Rings.

Sprinkled generously throughout the book are extrapolations regarding Tolkien’s philosophical view, which are employed in answering some of the most vital and profound philosophical questions.  The questions revolving around this regard: metaphysics (all-that is), philosophical theology (God), angelology (angels), cosmology (the cosmos), anthropology (man), epistemology (knowledge), philosophy of history, aesthetics (beauty), linguistics (philosophy of language), political philosophy and ethics.

Along with commentary about fifty of the greatest questions that have been ever asked regarding the topics above, the book features quite a few references to Lord Of The Rings as well as “three works of Tolkien’s that form the most authentic commendatory on it: his essay “On Fairy-Stories”, The Silmarillion, and The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.”[1]

To help break down those fifty questions, Kreeft presents a variety of tools “for understanding each of the philosophical issues The Lord Of the Rings treats:

a.  An explanation of the meaning and importance of the question;
b.  a  key quotation from The Lord of the Rings showing how Tolkien answered the question (many more passages are given in the Concordance to The Lord of the Rings in the Appendix);
c.  a quotation from Tolkien’s other writings (usually a letter) that explains or comments on the them in The Lord of the Rings;
d.  a quotation from C.S. Lewis, Tolkien’s closest friend, showing the same philosophy directly stated.”[2]

As in his other works, Kreeft does a trenchant job of not only introducing the topic to the reader and helping the reader get to ‘know’ the ghost of J.R.R. Tolkien and everything he stood for, but he also supplants that with salient analysis showing why each of the philosophical questions answered by this particular book are important.

Kreeft opts to begin the book with an apt introduction not only telling the reader what is it that he seeks to accomplish, but also detailing comprehensive insights that tackle many of the questions the reader might have.  Kreeft even goes on to state the five dimensions that make any story great, and why and how The Lord of The Rings attains all those five dimensions.

Beyond that, and perhaps, more importantly, the following is the main reason why The Lord of the Rings has appealed so much to our culture:

The Lord of the Rings heals our culture as well as our soulsIt gives us the most rare and precious thing in modern literature: the heroic.  It is a call to heroism; it is a horn like the horn of Rohan, which Merry received from Théoden and used to rouse the Hobbits of the Shire from their sheepish niceness and passivity to throw off their tyrants, first in their souls and then in their society.”[3][Emphasis Added]

And in an age where authoritarianism, tyranny and fascism are becoming more mainstream, a book like this may perhaps help individuals rise out of their doldrums and help them become cognizant of the freedoms they are so quickly losing.  That’s a whole different story, though.

Another great strength of this book is that it shows why both philosophy and literature are joined at the hip.  This is because:

“They [philosophy and literature] can work like two lenses of a pair of binoculars.  Philosophy argues abstractly.  Literature argues too – it persuades, it changes the reader – but concretely.  Philosophy says truth, literature shows truth.”[4]

Finally, this book also features a Bibliography, as well as an Appendix that contains countless references which address the philosophy of Tolkien.

Whether you’re searching for an engaging book that goes into the deeper philosophical outlook of The Lord of the Rings, or perhaps a book that might serve as an introduction to philosophy, or simply a research tool that features a lot of substance regarding L.O.T.R. and Tolkien’s philosophy, ruminate upon getting this book, for it does all that, and more.

___________________________________________________________
Footnotes:

[1] Peter Kreeft Ph.D., The Philosophy Of Tolkien – The Worldview Behind Lord Of The Rings, p. 10.
[2] Ibid., p. 11.
[3] Ibid., pp. 16-17.
[4] Ibid., p. 21.
___________________________________________________________

Suggested Reading & Viewing:

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Exploring J.R.R. Tokien’s The Hobbit by Corey Olsen 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]

___________________________________________________________
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.

#Book Review: Exploring J.R.R.’s Tolkien’s The Hobbit by Corey Olsen Ph.D. | #SmartReads

BreakawayIndividual.com
Zy Marquiez
April 1, 2019

The Hobbit has been one of the landmarks in epic fantasy literature for quite some time, and for great reasons.  The Hobbit served to ignite the imagination of the populace at a time where fantasy was nigh non-existent.  How the author managed to do that, through Bilbo’s character, is one of the most interesting parts in the book.  And that’s just the beginning.

Exploring J.R.R.’s Tolkien’s The Hobbit by Corey Olsen Ph.D. is a methodically crafted breakdown of The Hobbit which sifts through countless critical details contained within the story and woven seamlessly within.  Olsen shows extreme erudition in mining gems of wisdom from the book, and those very treasures make The Hobbit vastly more enjoyable and meaningful then one would without knowing his insights.

Although some of J.R.R. Tolkien’s books tend to be a bit [or a lot more!] complex, The Hobbit isn’t one of them, which is one of the main reasons why it’s one Tolkien’s most popular ones.  It’s not that the other books within the same Tolkien Universe – the Legendarium – aren’t fantastic, because many would argue most (or all) are.  It’s just that the latitude and precision with which Tolkien expanded the Universe is so enormous it takes a very focused individual to slog through it all.

That is also why The Hobbit shines in the opposite side of the spectrum.  Because, although, The Hobbit is part of Tolkien’s Universe, it’s self contained and it is the platform from which the classic The Lord Of The Rings was launched.  It sure helped that when the book was first ruminated upon, and created, it was done for children.

Some of the notable nuggets of information Olsen sifts through are important recurring themes within the book and also specific ideas that develop along the way.  Instances of these are the idea of ‘luck’ and ‘destiny’ perhaps guiding and assisting Bilbo.

What is more, a rather unique, but much appreciated thing the author does an exemplary job with is how he establishes the inner conflict Bilbo is going through in respect to his family background –  the Took side vis a vis The Baggins side.  This helps add another layer of significance within the Bilbo himself, and also within the story.

Arguably, what’s most impressive about what Tolkien accomplished in The Hobbit is the fact that Tolkien published the book in an era where fiction wasn’t seen as favorable.  Because of this, Tolkien took a very unique, and yet thought-out approach to how he would pull the readers of the time along gently into this new and profound universe.

Oslen notes this best in the following passage:

Tolkien was very aware of the artistic challenge he faced in writing a work of fantasy, especially since fantasy literature was far from the literary mainstream in the early twentieth century.  He knew that when they encountered his story in The Hobbit, his readers would have to leave their mundane and comfortable world behind and invest their imaginations in a world that contains magic and unexpected marvels.  In chapter One, Tolkien gives us a model for this very process within the story itself.  We begin in our safe and predictable world, and in the first chapter, we find ourselves in a world of wizard and dwarves and dragons.  In this transition, we find ourselves coming alongside a protagonist who is struggling through the exactly the same process, a character who himself internalizes the conflict between the mundane and the marvelous   Our first introduction to this magical, grim, and dangerous world of adventure is also his introduction, and his reluctance and difficulty in adjusting to it give us time to ease past our own discomfort and reservations.  Bilbo Baggins serves as a perfect touchstone for readers, both exploring and embodying the trickier frontier between the predictable and the unexpected.”[1][Bold Emphasis Added].

As if that were not enough, the author goes further, and proceeds on with a fine-toothed comb and breaks down the complexity of many of the songs and their inherent depth and subtle meaning.  This part gave many of the characters a lot more depth given what the author discussed.  If that were all, the book would be great.  But there’s more!

Arguably, my favorite part was how the author goes on to systematically show how Bilbo’s riddle game with Gollum showcases their diametrically opposed extremesNot only are the inner natures of Gollum and Bilbo woven within the riddles that each employ throughout, but how each character chose to retaliate with each riddle also shows a completely separate dimension that couples to their natureThis is hands down the anchor in the whole book in my personal tastes.

Another great part about this book is that although The Hobbit it’s a fantasy book, Bilbo’s story has so many relatable and believable parts that it challenges individuals to ponder not only about the book, but about life itself, and many aspects within it.

Exploring J.R.R.’s Tolkien reminds me of a diary, although it clearly is not. The reason for that is that central to the book are all of the changes that Bilbo goes through, how he grows, and what this means for his life.

Without this book, readers would be hard-pressed to comprehend the sheer scale of how much critical thought was put into the Hobbit and its revision.  Tolkien went above and beyond in creating a Universe that’ll stretch the bounds of imagination for generations to come, and with much daring depth as well.

For those reasons, and more, this is a great book.  No, this is an absolutely phenomenal book in every way shape and form.. Tolkien fans all over – and everyone else intrigued by the prospect of these ideas – should BUY this book.  They will NOT be disappointed.

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Footnotes:

[1] Corey Olsen, Exploring J.R.R.’s Tolkien’s The Hobbit, p. 35
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Suggested Reading:

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Lord Of The Rings: How To Read J.R.R. Tolkien [Presentation]

___________________________________________________________
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.

Lord of the Rings: How To Read J.R.R. Tolkien

Source: CMUHSS
April 1, 2019

Carnegie Mellon University alumnus Michael D. C. Drout returned to campus for a talk on “How To Read J.R.R. Tolkien.”

Drout, a professor of English and director of the Center for the Study of the Medieval at Wheaton College in Norton, Mass, believes that Tolkien’s immense and lasting popularity can be explained by a “perfect storm hypothesis.”

Suggested Reading:

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit by Corey Olsen Ph.D.