The Tolkien and Middle-Earth Handbook

The Tolkien and Middle-Earth Handbook by Colin Duriez & Brian Sibley

Author:Colin Duriez (foreword by Brian Sibley)
Title:The Tolkien and Middle-Earth Handbook
Published:1992 by Monarch


This is presented in an A to Z format, but given that it deals primarily with the themes of Tolkien's works and also includes a lot of biographical information, it is far less comprehensive than similar guides by J. E. A. Tyler and Robert Foster. The subtitle of this text--An A-Z Guide to the Life, Thought and Writings of J. R. R. Tolkien--should serve as a caution to potential readers that it is more "Tolkien-centric" than "Lord of the Rings-centric", so if you're looking for an explanation of "Carn Dm", perhaps this book isn't for you.

Duriez' introduction to Tolkien's life, thought and writings is certainly enjoyable, informative and thought-provoking; but--at times--he does beat the reader over the head a little too vigorously with Jungian psychology and Christianity. No approach to Tolkien as a writer would be valid without some consideration of his Catholicism and of his theological approach to fantasy (and those interested in these apects of his life and work should definitely look at this book). It just needs to be balanced with a little more content dealing with some of the other political, philosophical, historical and social conditions under which his work emerges.

Notes and comments
  • An updated version of this text, The J.R.R. Tolkien Handbook: A Concise Guide to His Life, Writings, and World of Middle-Earth, was released by Baker Book House in 2002.
  • ISBN 0 801 03014 5 ( BN


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