Tolkien's Heroic Quest by Robert Rorabeck
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A nifty book that examines a wide range of J.R.R.Tolkien's literature and gives a thorough and scholarly insiders view of his philosophy that is easily read by the laymen. Mr. Tolkien was a Philologist who taught at Oxford University. He was part of a group of people called the "Inklings" which included CS Lewis. His writing has often been considered a travel to the land of faeries. His work was also heavily influenced by life event, Norse Mythology and his Catholic Background. His writing was also a critique if society in general. Mr. Tolkien it should be noted lived through two world wars.
For Tolkien writing was both a journey into the faerie world and the faerie world which was based on the real world was also meant to convey social criticism. Two themes in general that concerned Mr. Tolkien were Ofermod and industrialization. Ofermod could be described as too much pride, and power hunger. Such a trait exhibited by our leaders in his opinion would lead the world to ruin. Industrialization was another concern. Man was distancing himself too far from nature and the machines were also ruining the landscape. Man was being dehumanized into a mere cog in the machine.
Tolkien believed in some divine order that was superior to man made order. The book is not that exact but he does criticize Ofermod and chivalry. In the Battle of Modon the leader of the anglosaxons could have crushed the Viking before they crossed the river but to follow the rules of warfare he allowed them to brook on the other side to make the fight fair. The anglosaxon lost the battle and died. Oaths that should not be followed are also deemed destructive. Tolkien's hero the Hobbit, Frodo or Gawain the Green Knight are not invincible fighters but rather dedicated servants who are very humble. They do not quest for power but rather strive to divset themselves of it. Tolkien does not have that much romance in his books. The books focus on male to male bonding....brotherhood.
Tolkien also believed that humans like his main God Iluvatar had the ability to create. We did this by works of Art and writing. In the Niggle Story the artists world does become real. All I can say is that I enjoyed reading this simple and educational work. Safe Journey's my friends.
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