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Criticism & Interpretation > Tolkien scholars

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message 1: by Gwyndyllyn (new)

Gwyndyllyn | 3 comments I want to put in a plug for Verlyn Fliger - author of many fantastic books about Tolkien's work. I have read Splintered Light, and am currently reading both her dissertation and Interrupted Music. She gets his work in a way no others that I have come across yet have.

Are there any other recommendations for good Tolkien scholars?

message 2: by Carl (new)

Carl | 11 comments I don't really know of anyone else by name except Shippey. I've been meaning to read Fliger-- learned about her after reading Barfield's -Poetic Diction- and thought it sounded really interesting. I seem to remember her books being very expensive-- am I remembering correctly? I've seen journals on Tolkien before, but can't remember their names.

message 3: by Dorothy (new)

Dorothy | 2 comments I read Interrupted Music for the English course I took on Tolkien last spring and it was so-so I thought. I don't think Tolkien ever intended to "finish" his mythology persay, which is the idea Flieger seemed especially concerned with. He created a real mythology and mythologies don't "end". Of course we want more but perfectionist that Tolkien was, we're lucky we got The Lord of the Rings at all. Tolkien's legendarium is so real to so many that in many ways the mythology has continued in the authors so deeply inspired by him. I really love what Gene Wolfe, an incredible fantasy author woefully unfamous but highly esteemed in literary circles, wrote about "Tolkien imitators" something we've all heard about in reference to other authors of the genre for all practical purposes born from Tolkien's pen:

"...I have shown you, I hope, what these books have meant to me. If you find echoes of them in my own books and stories...you will not have discomfited me--I am proud of them. Terry Brooks has often been disparaged for imitating Tolkien, particularly by those reveiwers who find his books inferior to Tolkien's own. I can only say that I wish there were more imitators -- we need them -- and that all imitations of so great an original must necessarily be inferior."

message 4: by Gwyndyllyn (new)

Gwyndyllyn | 3 comments They aren't terribly expensive. I think all her books are under $20.

message 5: by Gwyndyllyn (new)

Gwyndyllyn | 3 comments Interesting...I am reading interrupted music now. I'll have to wait and see what I think about it. I just read her dissertation, which was really insightful, and Splinted Light, I thought, was the best thing I've read so far. I'll have to take a look at Gene Wolfe. Thank you!

message 6: by David (new)

David | 4 comments The big names in Tolkien scholarship seem to be Tom Shippey, Verlyn Flieger (not "Fliger"), John Garth, Douglas A. Anderson, John Rateliff, and the team of Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull. These people all do exhaustive research (often on JRRT's original manuscripts and the like), and have published informative, highly readable works.

There are also good critical works by Michael Drout, Anne Petty, Marjorie Burns, Diana Glyer, Doug Kane.

Some would recommend Jane Chance, although personally I find some of her conclusions somewhat specious.

message 7: by Scott (new)

Scott Howard (howardsd) | 6 comments David wrote: "The big names in Tolkien scholarship seem to be Tom Shippey, Verlyn Flieger (not "Fliger"), John Garth, Douglas A. Anderson, John Rateliff, and the team of Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull. These..."

David knows what's up--those are all the names that I ran across while doing the research for my master's thesis as well. Just to add one idea, though, there is a fantastic yearly publication from WVU (I think) called "Tolkien Studies" which probably has the best new scholarship collected in one place.

message 8: by David (new)

David | 4 comments Scott wrote: "there is a fantastic yearly publication ... called 'Tolkien Studies' ..."

Thanks. I was about to mention that when I started feeling like my post had gotten long enough. TS is an academic journal, and each annual volume comes with a hefty price tag. So buy it if you're rich and/or fanatic enough, or see if your local public or university library carries it (or can be persuaded to if they don't already).

There are also some journals that publish Tolkien scholarship in addition to material about related writers such as C.S. Lewis and the other Inklings, George MadDonald, G.K. Chesterton, etc.. One such is Mythlore>, published by the Mythopoeic Society: http://www.mythsoc.org/mythlore/

message 9: by Anne (new)

Anne Gazzolo | 269 comments Mod
My favorites are Ralph C. Wood's The Gospel According to Tolkien, Verlyn Flieger (most especially Splintered Light, but like A Question of Time also), and Fleming Rutledge's The Battle for Middle-Earth: Tolkien's Divine Design in LOTR. Those are the best. You can also check out Peter Kreeft's The Philosophy of Tolkien. I also like Jim Ware/Kurt Bruner - Finding God in the LOTR and Ware's Finding God in The Hobbit. Sarah Arthur's Walking with Bilbo is good too. She also wrote Walking with Frodo.

Namarie, God bless, Anne Marie :)

message 10: by John (new)

John Rosegrant | 47 comments Flieger's essay collection Green Suns and Faerie also has some very interesting insights.

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