A New Look at a Modern Mythology

Authors and Tolkien fans should find the book discussed in this review highly intriguing. Click the link to learn more, readers – and see if this is something* you would like to purchase!

Return to Middle-earth

By BRADLEY J. BIRZER

September 26, 2021

A new, expertly edited collection of J. R. R. Tolkien’s writing on his elaborate mythology reminds us of its greatness.

When J. R. R. Tolkien (b. 1892) passed away in 1973, he left an immense amount of unpublished writings — much of which consisted of his own personal Middle-earth mythology, known as the legendarium, begun just prior to World War I. After his father’s death, Tolkien’s youngest son, Christopher (1924–2020), became his literary heir, publishing his father’s The Silmarillion in 1977, Unfinished Tales in 1980, the twelve-volume History of Middle-earth (1983–1996), the three great tales of the First Age, as well as several books on various non-Middle-earth mythologies, such as on the Nibelungenlied, Beowulf, and King Arthur.

Amazingly, however, even with Tolkien’s writings taking two adult professional lives to publish, the corpus of Tolkien’s work is still not completely available to the public in book form. Just this month, a full year and a half after Christopher Tolkien’s death, Houghton Mifflin has released yet another volume of Tolkien’s mythological writings. Titled The Nature of Middle-earth, it is beautifully and expertly compiled and edited by one of our greatest living Tolkien scholars, Carl F. Hostetter.

This new volume confirms that Tolkien was the 20th century’s greatest mythmaker, and that his mythology will — if there is justice in the world — rank someday with that of Homer, Virgil, and Dante. Just as Homer gave us profound insights into the Greek world, Virgil into the Roman world, and Dante into the medieval world, Tolkien gave us great insights into the modern world. Everything Tolkien wrote matters. Tolkien matters. National Review, especially, recognized this in the 1960s and 1970s.

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If you liked this article, friend Caroline Furlong on Facebook or follow her here at www.carolinefurlong.wordpress.com. Her stories have been published in Cirsova’s Summer Special and Unbound III: Goodbye, Earth, while her poetry appeared in Organic Ink, Vol. 2. She has also had stories published in Planetary Anthologies Luna, Uranus, and Sol. Another story was released in Cirsova Magazine’s Summer Issue in 2020, and she recently had a story published in Storyhack Magazine’s 7th Issue and Cirsova Magazine’s 2021 Summer Issue. Order them today!

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One thought on “A New Look at a Modern Mythology

  1. “Just as Homer gave us profound insights into the Greek world, Virgil into the Roman world, and Dante into the medieval world, Tolkien gave us great insights into the modern world. ”

    That, at least, is entirely true. I always say that if you want to really understand the 20th century and its spawn, the two books you most need to read are Chesterton’s ‘Ballad of the White Horse’ and Tolkien’s ‘Lord of the Rings’.

    Liked by 1 person

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