Book Review: J.R.R. Tolkien – A Biography by Humphrey Carter | #SmartReads

JRRTolkienBiography
TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
May 4, 2017

With his high fantasy literature, J.R.R. Tolkien has provided the tinder that stokes the imagination of millions.  His books are known around the world, and for great reason.  Having read some of his work myself, thought it prudent to see what events provided him with the impetus to create a whole mythology to boot.

In that sense, J.R.R. Tolkien – A Biography by Humphrey Carter, which was featured in the March Book Haul, provides some illumination into the underlying reasons that drove Tolkien to write what he wrote and create what he did.

The biography is split up into 8 parts, some of which are more interesting than others.  Admittedly, autobiographies can run quite dry many times, but this still did a reasonable job of showing us Tolkien in his most authentic form.

Tolkien’s growth, his early years, his friendship with C.S. Lewis, and even his penchant for countless revisions are all catalogued within the book.  It was particularly interesting to see what a perfectionist Tolkien was.  In a sense, this allowed Tolkien to fine tune his writing process while at the same time expanding his Legendarium.

The Legendarium was created by Tolkien to serve as the fictional mythology about Earth’s remote past, and is composed by The Simarillion, The Hobbit, Lord Of The Rings, The History Of The Middle-Earth and more.  This however, is not discussed in the book.  I only mention it to supply the fervent reader for additional avenues to explore Tolkien’s unbounded work.

My favorite parts of the autobiography were about the creation of his books.  Be that as it may, Tolkien’s skill in poetry, in conjunction with his relentless passion as a philologist to pursue the roots of language and learn everything about it was also highly intriguing.

In fact, regarding his penchant for writing Lord Of The Rings and linguistics, Tolkien had this to say:

“One writes such a story not out of the leaves of trees still to be observed, nor by means of botany and soil-science; but it grows like a seed in the dark out of the leaf-mould of the mind: out of all that has been seen or thought or read, that has long ago been forgotten, descending into the deeps.  No doubt there is much selection, as with a gardener: what one throws on one’s personal compost-heap; and my mould is evidently made largely of linguistic matter.”[1]

In its entirety, the book provides ample latitude of background while still providing enough fascinating components of Tolkien’s life.  Each reader will undoubtedly gain different insights, but regardless, it’s intriguing to note that Tolkien himself was not an avid fan of biographies.

Tolkien believed that biographies wouldn’t provide the truest nature of the person, and perhaps he was right.  Just like movies, which are based on books, provide merely a facsimile of the depth which is entirely superficial of what great books provide, autobiographies will likewise never capture in full breadth and scope the life of an individual.  Still, readers are lucky that Tolkien wrote phenomenal fiction because it allows us to see Tolkien’s soul as it is infused within pages.  And there’s no more authentic biography than a writer’s words.

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Source:
[1] Humphrey Carter,  J.R.R. Tolkien – A Biography, p. 131.

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Suggested Book Reviews and video:

The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien
Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit by Corey Olsen Ph.D.
On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road To Virtue With Tolkien & Lewis by Louis Markos Ph.D.
The Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
How To Read J.R.R. Tolkien [Video]
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This article is free and open source. You are encouraged to share this content and have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.
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About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

His other blog, BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com features mainly his personal work, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information nigh always ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

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Book Review: The Lord Of The Ring’s by J.R.R. Tolkien

A Laudable Landmark In Epic Fantasy

thehobbitlotr
TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
March 15, 2017

If The Hobbit is Tolkien’s opening salvo into the world of epic fantasy literature, then The Lord Of The Rings [LOTR] is his full fledged assault on the genre cementing his name in epic fantasy’s timeless lore.

Thankfully, The Lord of The Rings picked off right where The Hobbit left off, building and expanding on Tolkien’s Universe to a whole different level.

The Lord Of The Rings is, as many of you may know, the sequel to The Hobbit, which is set in Tolkien’s Legendarium, and also plays a part in the world of Arda.

One of the simplest ways a reader may note the quality of a fantasy book is asking themselves: does it conjure magic?

Evoking literary mastery in a genre that was nigh nonexistent, and which many outright shunned, what J.R.R. Tolkien did with his entire Middle-Earth Series [check name] was nothing less than astonishing.  Not only did Tolkien write a veritable milestone in literature to boot, but he did so in a time where not many souls cared to venture upon the genre of fantasy.

Touching upon this very issue,medieval literature specialist and writer Corey Olsen Ph.D. puts it in his intriguing and in-depth book, Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit:

Tolkien was very aware of the artistic challenge he faced in writing a work of fantasy, especially since fantasy literature was far from the literary mainstream in the early twentieth century.  He knew that when they encountered his story in The Hobbit, his readers would have to leave their mundane and comfortable world behind and invest their imaginations in a world that contains magic and unexpected marvels.  In chapter One, Tolkien gives us a model for this very process within the story itself.  We begin in our safe and predictable world, and in the first chapter, we find ourselves in a world of wizard and dwarves and dragons.  In this transition, we find ourselves coming alongside a protagonist who is struggling through the exactly the same process, a character who himself internalizes the conflict between the mundane and the marvelous   Our first introduction to this magical, grim, and dangerous world of adventure is also his introduction, and his reluctance and difficulty in adjusting to it give us time to ease past our own discomfort and reservations.  Bilbo Baggins serves as a perfect touchstone for readers, both exploring and embodying the trickier frontier between the predictable and the unexpected.”[1][Bold Emphasis Added]

This goes to show that Tolkien wasn’t simply a savvy writer, but understood societal challenges he was facing at the time and made sure to do his best to address this notable issue.  What’s more, Tolkien simply didn’t stop there.

The Lord Of The Rings shows why Tolkien’s imagination was not only gratifyingly limitless, but how it was rather robust with meaning in many ways.

In fact, the power of this book is so profound and meaningful that philosopher and writer Peter Kreeft Ph.D. said the following words of it:

“The deepest healing is the healing of the deepest wound.  The deepest wound is the frustration of the deepest need.  The deepest need is the need for meaning, purpose, and hope.  And that is what The Lord Of The Rings offers us.”[2]

And still there’s more:

“…The Lord Of The Rings is infused with the same light that illumined the man who wrote it. And that light is true, for it reveals the reality of the world and life.  And it is also good, because it heals our blindness.  Like the Fellowship itself, Tolkien’s philosophy fights.  It conquers what George Orwell called the “smelly little orthodoxies” of political correctness that have twisted and wounded our souls.  In other words, it is like the healing herb athelas.”[3]

Such is the potentiality held within Lord Of The Rings.

Although at times called a trilogy, The Lord Of The Rings is in fact a stand-alone novel that is split up into six separate books.[4]

The mythical and expansive universe created by Tolkien is one that still ignites the imagination in a way that nigh no other books do, except the greatest ones.  In like fashion, not only does Tolkien fuse fantasy with Norse myth and folklore, but The Lord Of The Rings features a plot that is robust, characters that grow and change with the plot, a setting that is phenomenal and enchanting, all woven within a seamless story that vaults the imagination into other worlds.

Throughout the book, the uniqueness and authenticity the characters echo shows the realism of the novel.  For instance, temptation sinks its teeth into Boromir and Galadriel, each displaying their own set of circumstances in battling against this malevolence.

Instances as the above and many more show many examples that this particular book is chock-full of life lessons to boot.

That’s what makes this particular book great piece of literature.

On the forward of On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road To Virtue With Tolkien & Lewis Peter Kreeft Ph.D. comments:

“That’s why reading literature, next to meeting people, is the single most effective way to learn not to flunk life.  Life is a story, and therefore moral education happens first and foremost powerfully through stories, e.g., through books.”[5]

Why this is so is because:

“…Tolkien bequeathed to the world a new treasure trove of heroic tales and adventures with the power to reinvigorate classical and medieval virtues that our modern technological age has deemed irrelevant.  Together with The Hobbit and its prequel (the Silmarillion) The Lord Of The Rings stands as a lighthouse in a world that has not only lost its way, but has lost much of its virtue, its integrity and its purpose.”[6]

In a modern age that is starving for virtuous souls from which to learn from, Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R Tolkien has much depth to offer.

For all of the above reasons, Tolkien’s crown jewel – The Lord Of The Rings – has stood the test of time and will continue to enthrall readers for ages to come.  Just like the characters in it, the story grows with every new pass you give it.

This understanding is best grasped by what J. Adler & Charles Van Doren shared in, How To Read A Book – The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading, which is the touchstone of critical reading:

“…if the book belongs to the highest class – the very small number of inexhaustible books – you discover on returning that the book seems to have grown with you.  You see new things in it – whole new sets of new things – that you did not see before.  Your previous understanding of the book is not invalidated; it is just as true as it ever was, and in the same ways that it was true before.  But now it is true in still other ways, too.”[7][Bold Emphasis Added]

Lord Of The Rings helps expand the bounds of imagination the more an individual journeys within its realm.  Even better, this book helps one see whole new perspectives and ideas that one had not previously considered.  Just like life offers ample opportunities for much learning, this book does as well.

Whether you’re looking for a great story, epic fantasy, incredible depth, mindful philosophy, or simply want to take a audacious adventure into a different setting, this book has much to offer.

Tolkien’s crown jewel – The Lord Of The Rings – has stood the test of time and will continue to enthrall readers for ages to come.  It has enthralled readers not simply because it’s a great piece of fantasy fiction, but also because this book and the lessons of virtue woven therein echo directly into your soul.   For those very reasons, this book will continue to be a touchstone for life, for not only does it teach you what happens when evil rises unabated, but more importantly, it teaches you what happens when individuals with high quality of consciousness help good conquer evil.  That alone makes this book a timeless possession in an age where virtues and goodness continue to dissipate

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Footnotes:

[1] Corey Olsen Ph.D., Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, p. 35
[2] Peter Kreeft Ph.D., The Philosophy Of Tolkien, p 17.
[3] Ibid., p. 3.
[4] J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship Of The Ring, p. 9., HoughtonMifflin.
[5] Louis Markos, On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road To Virtue With Tolkien & Lewis, p. 8, citing Peter Kreeft in the forward.
[6] Ibid., p. 14.
[7] Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren, How To Read A Book – The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading, p. 333.

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About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies regularly subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

His own personal blog is BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com where his personal work is shared, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information usually ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

January Book Haul

bookhauljanuary
TheBreakaway
Zy Marquiez
February 10, 2017

At to risk of sounding out of touch with reality, just recently saw my first book haul of my life on someone’s wordpress.  YES, REALLY.  It’s all good, you can laugh.  It’s like someone that loves gaming never hearing of a Playstation, no?

It really shows what happens when you ensconce yourself in a hobbit hole for-beyond-ever.  How does a bibliophile end up not knowing about other people’s bibliophiliness? [If THAT could ever be a word!] Well, by being a book-a-holic de jour, of course.

All jest aside, as someone who reads books like they’re going out of style, figured it would be interesting/different to try one of these out and am going to attempt to do these monthly as well.

In any case, what follows are the titles of each of the books, and a short reason as to why these books were picked up.

Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit by Corey Wilson

Making my way through The Hobbit and Lords Of The Rings for a second time, this seemed like a natural adjunct to The Hobbit, and it does not disappoint.  If you love Tolkien’s work, particularly The Hobbit, you will LOVE this.  The breadth and scope that Tolkien employed in The Hobbit was vastly more phenomenal than you could imagine.  But don’t take my word for it, do your own research.

Underground History Of American Education by John Taylor Gatto

Having read Gatto’s landmark books Dumbing Us Down [Review Here], A Different Kind Of Teacher [Review Here], and Weapons Of Mass Instruction [Review coming soon], this seemed like a nice way to round out my research into public schooling, particularly the historical side.  Of course, Gatto not only calls it how it is, but he’s methodical and precise in sourcing his material, showing how those within the establishment – in their own words – have wanted to dumb down education and create an enormous engine of conformity for over a century.  And it’s worked in spades, as can be seen here.  This book should really be a zinger.

Dark Matter, Missing Planets & New Comets by Tom Van Flandern

Having read Dr. Joseph P. Farrell’s Cosmic War – Interplanetary Warfare, Modern Physics And Ancient Texts, getting Tom Van Flandern’s book seemed essential to understanding the exploded planet hypothesis that Dr. Farrell discusses in his book.

LONG story short, the hypothesis is that where the asteroid belt now resides, there used to be a planet and it was destroyed.  Van Flander did research into this, and found strong evidence for this particular theory.  Furthermore, there’s also evidence that this event was deliberate and not natural.  Ironically enough, for those that might think that idea sounds ludicrous, check this out:

British Scientists To Lead Hunt For Fragments Of ‘Dead Planets’ Hidden In Antarctica

How ‘bout them apples asteroids?

Benjamin Franklin by Walter Isaacson

Having not been taught nigh anything of the founding fathers in school, this was a must read.  One of those topics that doesn’t get enough coverage, and it’s because most of the populace are ignorant of it, mainly because public schooling is all but removing any semblance of true history from school.

Ask yourself, why don’t schools – high schools / colleges / universities – have any courses in Freedom?  For a country that loves to parade freedom around, it’s quite troublesome that its one main tenet isn’t ever discussed…

Am also planning on getting Franklin’s short autobiography soon, but all in due time.

Disease-Mongers: How Doctors, Drug Companies, And Insurers Are Making You Feel Sick by Lynn Payer

After reading this particular link, getting this book was a must.  As an individual who’s always sharing information about the growing and rampant issues of Big Pharma in order to educate others, this book seemed indispensable.  Although a bit dated, am hopping the book still holds plenty of information valuable enough to share.

Before I Go – Letters To Our Children About What Really Matters by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.

It took a long time for me to find a philosopher/individual that not only talked about classical philosophy in a manner one can learn from, but also many other unsung topics within that realm, which are still vital nonetheless.  Enter philosopher Peter Kreeft Ph.D.  Why did Kreeft like a natural fit for me, when there are countless people out there?

Kreeft is methodical, logical, precise, not overly complex, isn’t afraid to ask tough questions, uses simplicity quite often, and thinks in an analogical manner.  If there was EVER someone who would have been awesome as a professor, at least from my point of view, this person would be it.  Heck, Kreeft’s range in thought/discourse is so wide that even has a book on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Philosophy, called The Philosophy Of Tolkien: The Worldview Of Lord Of The Rings, which is on the way as we speak.

In any case, having reading Kreeft’s Socratic Logic [review here], and Philosophy 101 by Socrates: An Introduction To Philosophy via Plato’s Apology [review here], which are two indispensable books, mind you, am making it a point of getting all of his books that appeal to me, and the book above fit within those parameters.

Reading has become a mainstay in my life, and am finding that am learning magnitudes more than ever thought possible when compared to public schooling, which was a complete waste of time and didn’t yield anything of substance that couldn’t have been taught by people in homeschooling or by private tutoring.  That’s why am making it a point to continue being an autodidact, while also researching topics that will be of interest to myself, but might also help others in the process.

Have any of you done any bookhauls?  If you’ve done any, please share them below as it would be great to see what books individuals have gotten – or are considering for that matter – these last few months.