Adventures in Bookland: Tolkien by Raymond Edwards


Humphrey Carpenter’s 1977 biography of Tolkien remains deservedly the definitive biography of the Good Professor, in part because, alone of the writers mining Middle-earth, he was given access to Tolkien’s private papers, yet in the half century since then a huge amount of material has come to light, particularly relating to JRRT’s professional life. Raymond Edwards’ new biography pays particular attention to this and, since Edwards’ own background is Oxford philology, he makes the struggles, intrigues and battles of academic departments quite fascinating. There is also an engaging strain of waspishness to his judgements – always enjoyable in a biography which, let’s be honest, is really gossip writ literary style – so I’d recommend this to anyone who has read Carpenter and wants some more detail about Tolkien’s life.


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