There are, of course, already numerous books around on JRR Tolkien and his work, but this is quite simply the best book on the topic I’ve read for a good while. Subtitled The Places That Inspired Middle Earth, it’s a lavishly illustrated examination of the landscapes, cities and architecture that Tolkien drew on in the creation of Middle Earth. The initial chapters are arranged according to geography (mainly the UK and Northern Europe) and topography (mountains, rivers and lakes, woodlands etc). The last four sections examine landscapes where mankind has left its physical mark – ancient ruins, industrial locations, farmlands, war damaged cities, etc. It’s a large format book printed on top quality paper and it’s filled with maps, illustrations, and reproductions of Tolkien’s own paintings, all accompanied by the author’s well-researched knowledgeable commentary. For example, a month long walking tour undertaken by Tolkien and his brother in the Alps in 1911 reveals early inspiration for settings such as Rivendell and the Misty Mountains. Indeed, Tolkien’s illustration of Rivendell is shown alongside an actual photograph of the Lauterbrunnen Valley, revealing them to be almost identical. A fascinating, must read book for Tolkien fans, revealing much about the inspiration for the magical world he created – and it’s an absolute snip at the price for such a top quality item.
Length of Read:Medium
Might appeal to people who enjoyed…
A very good accompaniment to the author’s earlier book, 2004’s Tolkien and The Great War, or 2018’s The Making of Middle Earth by Catherine McIlwaine, which accompanied the stunning exhibition at The Bodleian Library.
One thing you’ve learned
I was completely unaware of this work until I was alerted by Colin H’s recent thread on Tolkien, so a virtual vote of thanks to him!