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Tolkien and the Great War

Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-earth
Tolkien and the Great War.jpg
AuthorJohn Garth
PublisherHarperCollins (UK), Houghton Mifflin (international)
Released2003 (second edition June 1, 2005)

Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-earth is a 2003 book by John Garth. It is a much lauded scholarly publication about the role of the Great War on J.R.R. Tolkien and his friends in the T.C.B.S.. It won the 2004 Mythopoeic Scholarship Award in Inkling Studies.

An audiobook version, also read by John Garth, is currently available on

[edit] Contents

  • Preface
  • Part One: The immortal four
    • Prologue
    • 1. Before
    • 2. A young man with too much imagination
    • 3. The Council of London
    • 4. The Shores of FaĆ«rie
    • 5. Benighted wandereres
    • 6. Too long in slumber
  • Part Two: Tears unnumbered
    • 7. Larkspur and Canterbury-bells
    • 8. A bitter winnowing
    • 9. 'Something has gone crack'
    • 10. In a hole in the ground
  • Part three
    • 11. Castles in the air
    • 12. Tol Withernon and Fladweth Amrod
  • Epilogue. 'A new light'
  • Postscript. 'One who dreams alone'
  • Noes
  • Bibliography
  • Index

[edit] From the publisher - HarperCollins

Revealing the horror and heroism Tolkien experienced in the First World War, author John Garth introduces the close friends who spurred Tolkien's mythology to life. He shows how the deaths of two comrades encouraged Tolkien to pursue the dream they had shared. He argues that Tolkien transformed the cataclysm of his generation while many of his contemporaries surrendered to disillusionment.

[edit] From the publisher - Houghton Mifflin

"To be caught in youth by 1914 was no less hideous an experience than in 1939 . . . by 1918 all but one of my close friends were dead." So J.R.R. Tolkien responded to critics who saw The Lord of the Rings as a reaction to the Second World War. Tolkien and the Great War tells for the first time the full story of how he embarked on the creation of Middle-earth in his youth as the world around him was plunged into catastrophe. This biography reveals the horror and heroism that he experienced as a signals officer in the Battle of the Somme and introduces the circle of friends who spurred his mythology into life. It shows how, after two of these brilliant young men were killed, Tolkien pursued the dream they had all shared by launching his epic of good and evil. This is the first substantially new biography of Tolkien since 1977, meticulously researched and distilled from his personal wartime papers and a multitude of other sources. John Garth argues that the foundation of tragic experience in the First World War is the key to Middle-earth's enduring power. Tolkien used his mythic imagination not to escape from reality but to reflect and transform the cataclysm of his generation. While his contemporaries surrendered to disillusionment, he kept enchantment alive, reshaping an entire literary tradition into a form that resonates to this day.

[edit] External links