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J.R.R.Tolkien: Author of the Century (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 20. August 2001

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  • Taschenbuch: 384 Seiten
  • Verlag: Harper Collins Publishers; Auflage: New Ed (20. August 2001)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0261104012
  • ISBN-13: 978-0261104013
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 19,8 x 2 x 12,9 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 124.814 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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'Shippey's exploration of Tolkien's themes, especially the nature of evil, is superb' Independent 'A timely, erudite and eminently readable book' Evening Standard 'Shippey's research seems limitless. He writes with unusual clarity and presents his arguments well' Sunday Times 'Scholarly and thorough examination of Tolkien's work!a definitive study' Catholic Herald


Following the unprecedented and universal acclaim for The "Lord of the Rings", Tolkien scholar, Professor Tom Shippey, presents us with a fascinating and informed companion to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien, in particular focusing on "The Hobbit", "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Silmarillion". This title reveals why all of these books will be timeless, and shows how even such complex works as "The Silmarillion" can be read enjoyably. Taking issue with the uninformed criticism that has often been levelled at Tolkien and fantasy in general, Professor Shippey offers a new approach to Tolkien, to fantasy and to the importance of language in literature, and demonstrates how his books form part of a live and continuing tradition of storytelling that can trace its roots back through Grimm's "Fairy Tales" to the "Elder Edda" and "Beowulf".

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Von Mathilde am 24. Oktober 2012
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
If you want a short course in Comparative English Mythological Literature, this is the book for you. Entertaining, informative, makes you feel smarter than you are.
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See why Tolkien was the author of the century 27. Januar 2003
Von bixodoido - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
In this excellent volume of criticism on Tolkien's work, Tom Shippey seeks to explain just what made Tolkien tick, and what made his stories the way they are. Tolkien shunned the idea of a biography, but I think this book is probably more along the lines of what he would have agreed to, since he believed that the best way to get a look inside an author's life was to examine his works. This book does just this.

The bulk of this book, of course, centers around Tolkien's stories of Middle-Earth: The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. Shippey attempts to explain why Tolkien wrote these stories the way he did, and the result is very insightful. Shippey explains why he wrote archaically, how the more modern hobbit society, with its postal system and manners, fits in with the rest of Middle-Earth, and how to classify the various cultures and nations (like Rohan and Gondor) appearing in the works, to name a few. The rest of the book deals with Tolkien's other, lesser-known works, including the two semi-autobiographical ones. For true fans of Tolkien, the criticisms of these shorter works are an invaluable resource.

All in all, this book is very insightful--there is definitely a great deal to be learned about Tolkien's works from a man who succeeded him to his Oxford chair, and who understands Tolkien's professional field as well. If you want to truly understand Tolkien, this is a book worth reading.
44 von 50 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Robustly polemical and highly entertaining 17. November 2001
Von "lexo-2" - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
We hear a lot from Tolkien fans about how this book isn't much of a patch on the same author's earlier "The Road to Middle-Earth". (...) this book is an acute, well-argued, loving and intelligent study of one of the century's most maligned authors.
Yes, I said "maligned". Those, like me, who are not great fans of fantasy fiction as such, tend to find it a bit difficult to take Tolkien seriously. My own trajectory as a Tolkien reader has gone from utter worship (aetat 11 or so) via contempt and ridicule (aetat 24) to enjoyment and respect (aetat 31), and Shippey's book is partly to thank for this. One of his sharper insights is that a taste for Tolkien seems to be something that people have to be "educated out of" - i.e., that exposure to a modern literary studies curriculum is almost guaranteed to eradicate those more primitive parts of the imagination that respond to the kind of populist yarn-spinning that Tolkien was, almost despite himself, supremely good at. (This certainly accords with my experience.)
I say "almost despite himself" because one of the things I learned from this book was that Tolkien worked far harder on developing the mythological background to "The Hobbit" and "Lord of the Rings" than he spent on actually writing those books; indeed, that long after he'd published "The Hobbit" and was at work on its august sequel, he had to go back and revise it so as to make it fit in with the overall plan. I have a certain polite interest in "The Silmarillion" and the voluminous posthumous books of early drafts, but for me, by far the best of Tolkien is to be found in his two most famous books.
Shippey makes out a pretty good case for why these books deserve to be regarded as classics, especially "The Lord of the Rings", which he clearly regards as being on a par with Orwell's "Animal Farm" and Pynchon's "Gravity's Rainbow". These are two books that I hold in the highest esteem, albeit for very different reasons, and for a Lit boy like me it's been a sweet, but sobering process to admit "The Lord of the Rings" into their sombre company. Shippey can make you read the book in a new way - it no longer seems like a daft and slightly overlong romp for eternal teenagers, but like a grim, adult and rather downbeat modern novel in a fantastic mode. Hell, he's even got me reading "Beowulf". That can't be bad, despite Woody Allen's crack about it in "Annie Hall".
I think it's a bit sad for Tolkien that the two books he wrote as more-or-less spinoffs from the great work of his imagination are the ones he is most remembered for, but it's just, nonetheless, as they are by far his best books. I'll keep on reading "Lord of the Rings" for pleasure and profit. "The Silmarillion" and its kindred...well, to be frank, they'll be lucky if I pick 'em up now and again to check a reference. Shippey's skill, sardonic wit, commitment to popular taste and respect for the intelligence of his reader make this a better critical study than many others I can think of, about far more "literary" writers. Author of the Century? I'm not so sure - I'm too much of a Joyce fan. But it's time a lot of readers admitted that there's a lot of empty guff out there masquerading as "serious" literature (Saul Bellow, step to the front of the class) while books as good as Tolkien's (and Philip K. Dick's, and Ursula Le Guin's) are ignominiously written off as "genre" fiction. (...)
15 von 16 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Deepens your appreciation of the _Lord of the Rings_ 18. September 2003
Von David C. Hoffner - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
This book analyzes many of Tolkien's works, but focuses the majority of its attention on the _Lord of the Rings_ and its two companion works: _the Hobbit_ and _the Silmarillion_. Popular polls taken at the end of the 20th century frequently place the _Lord of the Rings_ (LotR) at the top as the number one best book of the century. Many book critics look in horror at such a ranking. Shippey's book is in large part a rebuttal of this dismissal of Tolkein's work by most of the `literary establishment'. Shippey argues that LotR is quite worthy of the honor as best work of the century.

This book is academic in nature and vocabulary, but it is also fun to read. As a Tolkien fan I found the book to be quite enlightening. Shippey delves DEEP in to the text, finding many treasures that I had not yet observed. I found it true, as one endorsement on the book jacket says, that Shippey "deepens your understanding of the work without making you forget your initial, purely instinctive response to Middle-Earth."

Professor Shippey, whose academic field is the same as that of Professor Tolkien himself, mines the philological earth and finds the likely background sources of numerous middle-earth creations, such as: Beorn, orcs, Rohan, etc. He also explores Tolkien's plot development strategy. One passage that I particularly liked was Shippey's description of how Tolkien used "interlacement" (the interweaving of different story lines) to convey an important thematic message of the work: that it's never wise to give up trying, no matter how bad the circumstances may appear. The examples he describes are very illustrative; for example: Aragorn's self-doubts as he pursues (in vain he fears) the orcs who had taken Pippin and Merry. I found several other sections to be thought-provoking as well: "wraithing"; "luck & courage"; and "eucatastrophe".

If there is one disappointment I had in reading this book, it is that some finishing touches seem to be missing. The later chapters in the book seem less well-developed, and not as well focused within the argument of the book as a whole. Near the end of his first full chapter on LotR Shippey summarizes the development of his argument thus far. But from there on, there is no further explicit reference to his argument. To be sure most of the remaining material still implicitly contributes to the theory, but I found no satisfying conclusion explicitly made in the end of the book.

In spite of that disappointment, this book significantly deepened my appreciation of the _Lord of the Rings_. I have for years considered LotR my all-time favorite book. As a result of reading Shippey's book, I understand better WHY LotR is such a great work, that it has great relevance and meaning in addition to its sheer wonder as entertainment.
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The primary criticism of these great works 17. März 2004
Von Ryan McNabb - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
This book is quite simply the seminal criticism and analysis of Tolkien's major works. Shippey is Tolkien's successor at Oxford, and in a very real sense "speaks the language" (no pun intended) that Tolkien spoke. He is able to disassemble and analyze Tolkien's writings in a way that is head and shoulders above any other similar works. His linguistic and literary analysis is the best ever made and is absolutely vital to truly understanding Middle Earth and the man that made it. Add to that a brief but very profound analysis of the religious themes, imagery, and inferences that is better than anything else out there (it completely surpasses Joseph Pearce's fine book on Tolkien, all in less than 10 pages.) Plus you'll get the most insightful discussion of the Anglo Saxon and Old Norse literary traditions and characters that would become Gandalf, Frodo, and the rest of the Fellowship.
If you truly love Tolkien's writing, then you simply must read this book. It is the first most important step in a real understanding of what Middle Earth is, where it is, where its characters came from, and what happened to them in ways that will really open your mind to the vastness and incredible beauty of Tolkien's world. After reading it, you'll have even less patience with the lunkheads who think LOTR is just another fantasy story. It's so, so much more than that.
And if that wasn't enough, you'll learn what Beowulf's name would mean in modern English. ("Beowulf" is usually the only word in the poem not translated, in case you haven't noticed.)
18 von 21 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Very uneven, but still quite insightful 10. Oktober 2001
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Tom Shippey's first book on Tolkien, _The Road to Middle-Earth_, was a profoundly insightful work. His philologically informed background provided keen insight into the linguistic backdrop (both real and imaginative) of Tolkien's fiction, showing the complex verbal play taking place within the story. It still stands, in my opinion, as the single-best scholarly book yet published about Tolkien.
By comparison, _J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century_ is a disappointment. Why? Several reasons, the first of which is the fact that many of the points Shippey makes here have previously been made in his first book. Much of the material here is a rehash of _Road to Middle-Earth_; this is true both in the general nature of Shippey's approach (i.e. emphasizing Tolkien's philological inspiration, and in particular his Anglo-Saxonist bent) as well as many specific and detailed philological points.
Even more disappointing is the fact that the writing in parts of this book has a scattered quality. The introduction, the "Re-Inventing Middle-Earth" chapter (about the Hobbit), and the greater part of the first chapter on Lord of the Rings ("Mapping Out a Plot") are solid and well-organized, but after that, one can't help but get the feeling that Shippey got a bit rushed and just started throwing things together in an increasingly slapdash way in order to get the book out before the first of the Lord of the Rings movies appeared. The end of "Mapping out a Plot" starts to lose focus, and while the second Lord of the Rings chapter (on evil) still holds together reasonably well, the third Lord of the Rings chapter (on Tolkien's mythology) is particularly disorganized, with little sense of any intellectual or methodological focus whatsoever. The Silmarillion chapter and the chapter on Tolkien's minor works are pretty much pointless, while the two appendices (one on Tolkien's critics, and one on Tolkien's literary decscendants, like Donaldson), seem like hastily tacked-on additions that aren't fully developed.
In spite of all that, there still is a lot of merit in this book. Though much of it is rehashed, the fact remains that Shippey's philological observations are still as insightful here as in _The Road to Middle-Earth_, and anyone who has not read that book, will still learn much from this one. Also, there are a few moments of specific analysis that are quite solid examples of thorough scholarship. Shippey's account of Tolkien's writing process in "Mapping Out the Plot" is solid and critically thoughtful, while his close analysis of speakers and language in the "Council of Elrond" chapter is nothing short of brilliant.
Shippey's attempt to redefine the literary context of Tolkien is also suggestive. Too often, it has been the convention to lump Tolkien in with his friends C.S. Lewis and Charles Williams-- or more broadly with a larger romance/fantasy tradition. In the chapter on Evil, Shippey suggests (quite rightly, I think), that Tolkien ought more properly be compared with other 20th century writers (like Orwell, Golding, Vonnegut, and even T.H. White) who have been distressed by the seemingly unlimited human capacity for *evil* that modernity has enabled us to unleash and found that this question could not be meaningfully approached except through the creation of 'fantastic' worlds and scenarios. (I'm not entirely sure that I agree with Golding and Orwell being called 'fantastic' here, but I think the basic point holds well enough). Unfortunately, this idea requires greater development and complexity than Shippey gives it here-- but it still is a very suggestive beginning. IMHO, Shippey should have devoted all the time he spent rehashing material from _Road to Middle-Earth_ to developing *this* idea further, making it the central argument of the book.
All in all, I have to say that _J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century_, in spite of its many flaws, is a worthwhile and insightful book-- and it's still better than most of the fluff that passes as 'Tolkien scholarship'. Still, it's no _Road to Middle-Earth_, and anyone expecting this book to rival that one should prepare to be disappointed.
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