Tolkien Research Library

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.
Click on image to enlarge.

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