Meditations on Middle-earth

From Tolkien Gateway
Meditations on Middle-earth: New Writing on the Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien
Meditations on Middle-earth.jpg
AuthorKaren Haber (ed.)
PublisherNew York: St. Martin's Press
ReleasedNovember 19, 2001
Pages235 pages

Meditations on Middle-earth: New Writing on the Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien is a collection of essays by several landmark fantasy and science fiction authors. The book includes illustrations by John Howe.

Meditations on Middle-earth was nominated in 2002 for a Hugo Award in the category Best Related Book.[1]

An essay submitted to the collection, which however did not reach publication, was "The Best Introduction to the Mountains" by Gene Wolfe (which includes a letter from J.R.R. Tolkien).[2]

From the publisher[edit | edit source]

An unapologetic tie-in with the release of the first highly anticipated Lord of the Rings film, this anthology presents appreciative essays in honor of the master of Middle-earth from such major fantasy and SF authors as Harry Turtledove, Raymond Feist, Terry Pratchett, George R.R. Martin and the late Poul Anderson. All thank Tolkien, some sardonically, for making the fantasy genre so popular. Ursula K. Le Guin discusses obvious and concealed poetry in the trilogy, while Douglas A. Anderson treats Tolkien's critics, admitting that the posthumously published writings, edited by the author's son, Christopher, are "not always easy to read," a view seconded by several other contributors. Less successful as a scholarly exercise is Orson Scott Card's "How Tolkien Means," which focuses on allegory, a mode Tolkien rejected. Most contributors celebrate the beauty of the writing in the major books, although Michael Swanwick finds them "sad with wisdom" in his essay, "A Changling Returns." Swanwick takes the lead in pointing out the importance of the humble hobbit Sam Gamgee as a character. In a dialogue between illustrators and brothers Tim and Greg Hildebrandt, Tim admits that "Tolkien was never a big supporter of illustration to accompany works of fantasy." Alas, Howe's vague and unimaginative pencil sketches only serve to support Tolkien's case. Editor Haber offers an adoring but welcome antidote to the more pompous exegeses of the "author of the century." (Nov. 23) and "Lord of the Rings Redux" (PW, Sept. 10).

Contents[edit | edit source]


  1. 2002 Hugo Awards at (accessed 4 November 2010)
  2. Gene Wolfe, "The Best Introduction to the Mountains", in Interzone, issue 174, December, 2001