The Worlds of J. R. R. Tolkien: The Places That Inspired Middle-earth

John Garth

nonfiction biography
adventurous informative slow-paced

208 pages | first published 2020

A lavishly illustrated exploration of the places that inspired and shaped the work of J.R.R. Tolkien, creator of Middle-earth.

This new book from renowned expert John Garth takes us to the places that inspired J.R.R. Tolkien to create his fictional locations in The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and other classic works. Featuring more than 100 images, it includes Tolkien’s own illustrations, contributions from other artists, archive images, maps and spectacular present-day photographs.

Inspirational locations range across Great Britain – particularly Tolkien’s beloved West Midlands and Oxford – but also overseas to all points of the compass. Sources are located for Hobbiton, the elven valley of Rivendell, the Glittering Caves of Helm’s Deep, and many other key spots in Middle-earth, as well as for its mountain scenery, forests, rivers, lakes and shorelands.

A rich interplay is revealed between Tolkien’s personal travels, his wide reading and his deep scholarship as an Oxford professor. Garth uses his own profound knowledge of Tolkien’s life and work to uncover the extraordinary processes of invention, to debunk popular misconceptions about the inspirations for Middle-earth, and to put forward strong new claims of his own.

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