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Friday, July 20, 2012

J.R.R. Tolkien by Mark Horne

J.R.R. Tolkien by Mark Horne is a short introduction to Tolkien's life and work but it never fails to be interesting.  I enjoyed it and it made me want to read much more about this fascinating man.

Tolkien had a sad childhood.  His parents died young.  Most of Tolkien's family cut his mother off when she converted to Catholicism. Left with little money, she was poor and worn-out because of her loyalty to the faith and ensuring that her two boys were brought up Catholic.

Luckily, she left Tolkien in good hands.  Father Morgan helped the clever young man get into Oxford.  Even after that, Tolkien had a struggle getting his career and his writing off the ground.

Probably, the saddest part of the book is that Tolkien lost all of his friends except one in the First World War.

Horne discusses all of the major influences on Tolkien's life and work - his Catholicism, his love for the beautiful English countryside, his aptitude for languages, and his friendship with the great C. S. Lewis. This is an introduction so it certainly isn't a detailed literary criticism.  J.R.R. Tolkien did make me want to read the whole wonderful saga again, however, and read more about how Tolkien's Catholicism influenced his writing.

NB: I received this book from Book Sneeze free as part of their Blogger programme.  My opinion of the book is entirely my own.

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