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Tolkien: A Biography (1977)

de Humphrey Carpenter

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A biography of J.R.R. Tolkien, creator of the fictional world of Middle-Earth, discussing his early life, his career as a scholar and teacher, his decision to write and the development of his work.
Adicionado recentemente porTigerBeast79, biblioteca privada, pingelaere, PaulBarnes, TankLibrary, nurindun, GranthamMB, Kayla.Dernier, kmseal
Bibliotecas HistóricasSterling E. Lanier
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Humphrey Carpenter's authorized biography of Tolkien is a surprisingly balanced picture of the man. Carpenter clearly admires Tolkien's talent without being blind to his faults. Carpenter simply adores the man for who he was, faults and all, and does not try to paint some mythic portrait of Tolkien. Although Tolkien possessed an extraordinary mind, he was quite - in many aspects - an ordinary man, duty bound to professional obligations and family life. Tolkien preferred the 'quiet life' you see and was in many ways, a Hobbit from the Baggin's side of the tracks in temperament and lifestyle. Yet his mind (I suspect) possessed the longings of a Took...

J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography is immensely readable, and paints a wonderful portrait of a man who in my opinion, is the most important literary figure of the 20th century. ( )
  ryantlaferney87 | Dec 8, 2023 |
I fell in love with The Lord of the Rings when I was in high school. Nevertheless, this biography has remained unread on my shelves for over fifteen years. Why? Some authors are an absolute disappointment to read about. I guess I didn’t want to know if the Professor was one of them.

He’s not.

If you had to write a fictional biography for Tolkien it would look much like this.

Orphaned at an early age, he fell In love with a girl, also orphaned and living in the same boarding house.

His fascination with languages, learning ancient languages and even developing his own secret languages based on strict linguistical rules, showed themselves at an early age.

The only disappointment to me was that his fascinating circle of friends didn’t include women. He was a complete product of his time, attending boys’ prep schools and colleges. Only in the very later years is a female graduate student mentioned. This is often reflected in his books, where usually (but not always) women have secondary roles, leaving the adventuring and hero-ing to men.

Highly recommended. ( )
  streamsong | May 30, 2023 |
Until I read this, I didn't know that biographies could be so engaging. Carpenter paints a vivid picture of Tolkien's life, skillfully balancing discussion of his day-to-day life with those elements that might tell us more about how his great works came to be. The writing style is immensely enjoyable, that even the mundanities of Tolkien's daily commutes seem like activity bursting with vitality. ( )
  mirryi | May 24, 2023 |
As a Tolkien fan, this was great! I got a new insight into the life of this history-changing author! After reading, I picked up the Hobbit again and fell into Middle-earth again. A must-read for fans of JRR Tolkien's works! ( )
  plitzdom | May 12, 2021 |
J.R.R. Tolkien is most well-known to the public as the author of the famous trilogy Lord of the Rings, surely one of the best works of art ever written in the English language. This work by Carpenter serves as his authorized biography. Tolkien’s professorial and academic life as an Oxford don dominates most of the narrative, but always lingering behind lies his unique love of language (philology) – particularly “sub-creating” worlds with language.

Carpenter achieves a balanced job of handling Tolkien’s life. He avoids hagiography while also avoiding smears. Tolkien comes off as a curious professor of Anglo-Saxon literature in an era before technology consumed modern life and before post-graduate research overtook leading universities. His eventual fame due to the famous trilogy comes off as unexpected and unplanned.

Women do not play a major role in this narrative. At the time, Oxford was a mostly male-run institution. Edith, Tolkien’s wife, only played a supporting role for most of his life. His daughter Priscilla did not play a leading role in Carpenter’s narrative either. One could aptly use the word “patriarchal” to describe the arrangement of Tolkien’s life. Indeed, similar words were sometimes used to describe his trilogy. This seems a fair criticism even if it aligned with the sense of his times.

Fans of Lord of the Rings will find Tolkien’s style of working especially interesting. Many are curious about the origins of this tale, and I’m not sure this book provides a definitive answer. It simply sprung from Tolkien’s imagination and life, not from any singular event. Certainly, his experiences in both World Wars played monumental roles as did his male friendships and lifelong experiences creating languages.

This work chronicles the life of this humble yet imaginative professor well and serves his continued cadre of fans. It also provides a historical record of mid-twentieth-century Oxford before it became such a dominant research university and before women played significant roles in its leadership. Carpenter’s work dates from the 1970s (44 years prior to my writing), yet it has aged quite well. I am left with a sense that Tolkien was a man of great curiosity, creativity, and imagination; much like Carpenter admits in his epilogue, I remain mystified, even befuddled, by the transcendent nature of the Lord of the Rings. ( )
  scottjpearson | Mar 6, 2021 |
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» Adicionar outros autores (13 possíveis)

Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Humphrey Carpenterautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Ebert, DietrichDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Krege, WolfgangTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Sisättö, VesaTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Vainikainen, JohannaTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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Tolkien had not really wanted to write any more stories like The Hobbit; he had wanted to get on with the serious business of his mythology.
[regarding The Lord of the Rings:] Tolkien himself did not think it was flawless. But he told Stanley Unwin: 'It is written in my life-blood, such as that is, thick or thin, and I can no other.'
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A biography of J.R.R. Tolkien, creator of the fictional world of Middle-Earth, discussing his early life, his career as a scholar and teacher, his decision to write and the development of his work.

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