Understanding The Lord of the Rings: The Best of Tolkien Criticsm: Edited by Rose A. Zimbardo and Neil D. Isaacs, First Published in 2004

Elves and Dragons
Elves and Dragons.
© John Howe.
 
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This definitive collection of essays on The Lord of the Rings,
spanning fifty years of critical reaction,
offers penetrating insights and thoughtful guidance
for a new generation.

--Houghton Mifflin



Neil Isaac's introduction is on the pleasures of reading and writing Tolkien criticism and is an interesting read for those who enjoy a good all around Tolkien discussion.

The main body if the book consists of several chapters written by various authors, each exploring a different criticism. Each author establishes their point in favor of Tolkien, by sighting their various examples from the book.

Of Special Interest:

Of interest is the last chapter written by Tom Shippey entitled Another Road to Middle-earth: Jackson's Movie Trilogy. Shippey thoroughly understands the nature of both media - narrative prose and cinema - their strengths and weaknesses - and, as in the case of Peter Jackson's movies, the way in which one media can transform the other and yet retain its deeper meaning.

Another chapter of note is Frodo and Aragorn: The Concept of Hero. Verlyn Flieger is the author of this chapter and her premise is this; "The word hoard of Northern myth upon which Tolkien deeds give epic sweep to great events (Aragorn) and the common man whose trials lend to his actions a poignancy that draws the reader into the text to experience events with him (Frodo)."

Reviewed by Celebrindal

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Last edited: 20 July 2007 08:54:41