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quote 2017-04-07 13:16
[But] I fear that in the individual lives of all but a few, the balance is in debit - we do so little that is positive good, even if we negatively avoid what is actively evil.
The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien - J.R.R. Tolkien,Humphrey Carpenter,J.R.R. Tolkien

J. R. R. Tolkien, The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, p. 80

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text 2017-03-06 21:11
193 of 432 (45%)
The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien - J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien,Humphrey Carpenter

It is actually shameful how long it's taken me to read only this much of Tolkien's letters. In my defense, my last semester of school was crazy, and I have about a million sticky notes in this because I used so much of it for my essay. I stopped having time to read it when I started writing my thesis, and then when I graduated, I was just like, "I NEED A BREAK FROM READING," and haven't touched just about anything since...

 

For those who don't know (I'm assuming most of you), I wrote my senior thesis on The Lord of the Rings because I'm a nerd. Usually, the English department of my school wouldn't allow a thesis on something that hasn't really broken into the classical literature mold (dumb scholars have a hard time accepting fantasy as great literature, even now), but my teachers also knew me well enough to see that I was passionate about Tolkien in a way that I could craft a unique, critical thesis of his work and make it academic.

 

(I did awesome, by the way, ya'll can read it if you want.)

 

ANYWAY, The Letters of JRR Tolkien was my greatest asset to writing this paper, and the more I read from Tolkien about crafting The Lord of the Rings, the more I love it and him and everything he accomplished. I truly believe Tolkien is a genius for this work, and my heart breaks a little bit every time I meet someone who hasn't read (or even seen) The Lord of the Rings because you're seriously missing out on one of the greatest stories in English literature.

 

I'm currently in the middle of a letter to Peter Hastings, who criticized Tolkien for playing God too much in his work by allowing things that God (as Catholics believe) does not do in reality. I think the whole world could do with a lesson from Tolkien about not allowing ridiculous accusations from people to bother him. This response of his is incredibly long, and he addresses everything so perfectly, but in the end, he never sent it because "it seemed to be taking myself too importantly."

 

Also, I found out what happened to the Ent-wives, which I literally never knew. Apparently they were all either killed or enslaved by Sauron, and the remaining Ent-wives moved West, only to be taken captive by the people in those lands. They eventually fell asleep as prisoners and never woke up (just like the Ents that Treebeard says have forgotten what they truly are). So in case you need some morbidity in your life, every fruit tree you see is just an enslaved Ent-wife...

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review 2008-06-29 00:00
J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography - Humphrey Carpenter I always enjoy reading about the lives of my favorite authors. I found this one particularly sad because of Tolkien's courtship of his wife; the willful obstruction of his mentor, a Catholic priest; and his acquiescence to the situation.
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2008-01-17 00:00
J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography
J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography - Humphrey Carpenter This review is based upon the first edition which was written in 1977.

This biography is fair and gives a vivid detail of not only the life of Tolkien but also the times and events that shaped the man. I would have liked to have seen more into the light of his religion as well as the depth of his relationships particularly with Lewis,Dyson, and Williams.

I have to say that the ending had me near tears. It is hard to imagine that a man that has brought so much joy and creativity into the world that he would have died on a bed of loneliness. It was also sad for me to hear that the relationship between him and C.S. Lewis had fallen out and Lewis passed away before there could ever be any "rewrites" to make up for the past trespasses.

All in all this is one of the better biographies out and I will look forward to reading other biographies out there on Tolkien to give a solid comparison to this one.
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review 2006-02-16 00:00
The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien - J.R.R. Tolkien,J.R.R. Tolkien,Humphrey Carpenter I believe that this was the first time I actually finished this book. It is a must-read for any serious Tolkien lover. It gives a much more comprehensive view of Tolkien’s character than any other work, including Carpenter’s excellent biography. It includes some wonderful letters to his sons which are very personal and also many which shed light on different aspects of the writing of his books. Highly recommended for anyone who has read his works. It does contain a few minor swear words, I believe.
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