The Road to Middle-earth: Revised and Expanded Edition (Paperback)
The Road to Middle-earth, Tom Shippey’s classic work, now revised in paperback, explores J.R.R. Tolkien’s creativity and the sources of his inspiration. Shippey shows in detail how Tolkien’s professional background led him to write The Hobbit and how he created a timeless charm for millions of readers. Examining the foundation of Tolkien’s most popular work, The Lord of the Rings, Shippey also discusses the contribution of The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales to Tolkien’s great myth cycle, showing how Tolkien’s more “difficult” books can be fully appreciated. He goes on to examine the remarkable twelve-volume History of Middle-earth, written by Tolkien’s son and literary heir Christopher Tolkien, which traces the creative and technical processes by which Middle-earth evolved.
Tom Shippey taught at Oxford University at the same time as J.R.R. Tolkien and with the same syllabus, which gives him an intimate familiarity with the works that fueled Tolkien's imagination. He subsequently held the chair of English language and medieval literature at Leeds University that Tolkien had previously held.
"Professor Shippey's commentary is the best so far in elucidating Tolkien's lovely myth." Harper's Magazine
"Shippey is a rarity, a scholar well schooled in critical analysis whose writing is beautifully clear." Minneapolis Star-Tribune
"[Tolkien] deserves his full do, and Shippey's appreciative assessment of his unique achievement provides it in full and satisfying measure." Philadelphia Inquirer