Tolkien and the Study of His Sources: Critical Essays
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Tolkien and the Study of His Sources: Critical Essays

4.24 of 5 stars 4.24  ·  rating details  ·  25 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Over the past four decades, source criticism--the analysis of a writer's source material--has emerged as one of the most popular approaches in exploring the work of J.R.R. Tolkien. Since Tolkien drew from a wide range of disparate sources in the construction of his legendarium--from The Book of Lost Tales to The Hobbit to The Lord of the Rings, and beyond--an understanding...more
Paperback, 228 pages
Published November 17th 2011 by McFarland & Company (first published July 22nd 2011)
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Andrew Higgins
This is a must read book for all lovers of Tolkien and related literature and studies. I am working on a larger review of this book which I will post. Jason Fisher has put together a book that is not only an excellent study of the types of source materials Tolkien used to cook his "soup" but also has given us a "how to" manual on how to work with source materials and how they may have or not influenced Tolkien. This is a book I will refer to many times and have already read some of the chapters...more
Beth Withers
Since Tolkien didn’t care for source criticism, or people spending hours trying to decide where he got his ideas, it seems strange that this book should come together. The author makes it clear from the beginning that there is indeed value in wondering what influences might have been present when Tolkien wrote his most famous work. One of the most valid reasons to me is that the time period has changed, education has changed, and the world has changed. We aren’t as familiar today with the litera...more
I'm skipping around these essays, enjoying the thoughts of several of the authors we have studied in my Mythgard Institute classes. Jason Fisher (the overall editor and compiler, Tom Shippey, E.L. Risden, Nicholas Birns, Kristine Larsen, Miryam Libran-Moreno, Thomas Honegger, J.A. Ford, John D. Rateliff, Mark T. Hooker, and Diana P. Glyler with Josh Long are the authors contributing to these essays.

The careful introduction by Tom Shippey on source criticism, so frequently dismissed by Tolkien hi...more
"Tolkien and a Study of His Sources" is a collection of essays written by current Tolkien scholars, reflecting on different works and authors who may have influenced Tolkien. Three introductory chapters (written by Tom Shippey, E. Risden and Jason Fisher) address source criticism itself, to give the reader a better understanding of the topic. Included among the Tolkien topics addressed are: Biblical and Mesopotamian sources, ancient Greek myths and stories, Byzantium and Gondor, Anglo-Saxons and...more
Overall, this collection of essays provides a wealth of insight and information for anyone looking to learn more about how Tolkien approached writing, and especially how he worked source materials into his works. As always, source study requires the caution not to miss the forest for the trees--Tolkien's works ought to be studied for the beauty and the art they provide in and of themselves. Still, a deeper appreciation for his craft can be gained by a study of his sources. My primary complaint w...more
Janice Liedl
Very much a useful read for the Tolkien scholar, particularly those who want to get up to speed on literary approaches to his work.
The essays vary in quality but the best are very good - and also useful.
Some good essays.
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