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Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of…
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Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-Earth (original 2003; edition 2003)

by John Garth (Author)

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5921331,443 (4.02)46
A new biography exploring J.R.R. Tolkien's wartime experiences and their impact on his life and his writing of The Lord of The Rings. The period of Tolkien's life in which he fought in The Great War has remained largely unexplored and unresearched by his many and various biographers - this volume concentrates specifically on this period of his life and relates it to his creation of some of the world's best-loved literary works. Written specifically for a general audience, and not just Tolkien fans, this book allows Tolkien's life, work, inspiration and success to be viewed from a new and exciting viewpoint. Having lost many of his friends from school and University in the First World War, this, coupled with his time spent as a signaller in the Royal Lancashire Fusiliers, had a profound impact on him. As did, it would seem, the writing of G. B. Smith, a close friend who was sadly lost in the War. Invalided home from the Somme,Tolkien was able to reflect on his life, and John Garth agues that, far from being a flight of fancy, The Lord of The Rings is, in fact, a product of his wartime experiences and stands as a great war novel.… (more)
Member:Rahhl
Title:Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-Earth
Authors:John Garth (Author)
Info:Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2003), Edition: First Edition, 398 pages
Collections:Biography, Tolkien, Your library
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Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-earth by John Garth (2003)

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» See also 46 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
The definitive Tolkien biography. Great book. ( )
  CodyMaxwellBooks | Oct 30, 2021 |
A brilliant, absorbing, and detailed look at Tolkien's life with of course most emphasis on his life during World War One. A must read for anyone interested in the background of the man behind Middle-earth. ( )
  sarahlh | Mar 6, 2021 |
Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand Tolkien as an artist. ( )
  octoberdad | Dec 16, 2020 |
This isn't a complete biography of Tolkien but instead a detailed account of the careers of Tolkien and his three closest friends, collectively "the TCBSites" during WWI which goes on to discuss how the war affected Tolkien's creative output, making a convincing case that it is here, rather than in WWII we should look for the influence of real events on Lord of the Rings and other works by the most influential figure in 20th Century fantasy literature. Tolkien's childhood and school days are recounted in fair detail but his post-WWI life is treated in the most cursory fashion. This really is what the title suggests it is. The excruciatingly detailed account of WWI got me, dare I say it? - bogged down in the middle but over-all this is a good, readable book that acheives its aims. The "Postscript" looking at Tolkien's work as and in relation to other literary responses to WWI offered an interesting new perspective to me regarding Tolkien's motives, influences and aims and the descriptions of the basic principles of comparative philology added understanding of how and why language and legend were so intertwined in Tolkien's mind. Fans of Tolkien with an interest in the man, motives and influences behind the stories should read this. ( )
  Arbieroo | Jul 17, 2020 |
I got hold of a copy of this after seeing the recent Tolkien biopic -- for which it was obviously the principal source. Its main interest is as an exhaustive group portrait of Tolkien and his three friends in the "TCBS." Unfortunately Tolkien's wife Edith remains as faceless within its pages as in the Humphrey Carpenter biography. The charming and intelligent person played by Lily Collins in the movie was apparently made up of whole cloth by the screenwriters, and an excellent job they made of her.

As a Tolkienist whose interest is pretty severely restricted to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, the book was not much help to me (through no fault of the author's). Tolkien's experiences in the War were certainly crucial to his work, but the influences ran underground for many years before they surfaced. The worst fault of the movie, to my mind, was that it drew thick lines with a grease pencil that do not stand up to analysis. Take the heavy thud with which the word "Fellowship" is plunked down. In the book the word "Fellowship" does not even occur until quite late in Book II (of six). The phrase "the Fellowship of the Ring" appears exactly once, and not until the "Many Partings" chapter (Aragorn says it). It never occurred to Tolkien that it should be the title of Volume One, because in his mind there wasn't a Volume One until the publishers convinced him that breaking the book into three was commercially expedient.
  sonofcarc | Jul 18, 2019 |
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In memory of
 
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, 1892-1973
Christopher Luke Wiseman, 1893-1987
Robert Quilter Gilson, 1893-1916
Geoffrey Bache Smith, 1894-1916
 
TCBS
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This biographical study arose from a single observation: how strange it is that J. R. R. Tolkien should have embarked upon his monumental mythology in the midst of the First World War, the crisis of disenchantment that shaped the modern era.
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A new biography exploring J.R.R. Tolkien's wartime experiences and their impact on his life and his writing of The Lord of The Rings. The period of Tolkien's life in which he fought in The Great War has remained largely unexplored and unresearched by his many and various biographers - this volume concentrates specifically on this period of his life and relates it to his creation of some of the world's best-loved literary works. Written specifically for a general audience, and not just Tolkien fans, this book allows Tolkien's life, work, inspiration and success to be viewed from a new and exciting viewpoint. Having lost many of his friends from school and University in the First World War, this, coupled with his time spent as a signaller in the Royal Lancashire Fusiliers, had a profound impact on him. As did, it would seem, the writing of G. B. Smith, a close friend who was sadly lost in the War. Invalided home from the Somme,Tolkien was able to reflect on his life, and John Garth agues that, far from being a flight of fancy, The Lord of The Rings is, in fact, a product of his wartime experiences and stands as a great war novel.

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