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Meditations on Middle-Earth: New Writing on the Worlds of J. R. R. Tolkien by Orson Scott Card, Ursula K. Le Guin, Raymond E. Feist, Terry Pratchett, Charles de Lint, George R. R. Martin, and more [Format Kindle]

John Howe , Karen Haber

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Présentation de l'éditeur


When J.R.R. Tolkien created the extraordinary world of Middle-earth and populated it with fantastic, archetypal denizens, reinventing the heroic quest, the world hardly noticed. Sales of The Lord of the Rings languished for the better part of two decades, until the Ballantine editions were published here in America. By late 1950s, however, the books were selling well and beginning to change the face of fantasy. . . . forever.

A generation of students and aspiring writers had their hearts and imaginations captured by the rich tapestry of the Middle-earth mythos, the larger-than-life heroic characters, the extraordinary and exquisite nature of Tolkien's prose, and the unending quest to balance evil with good. These young readers grew up to become the successful writers of modern fantasy. They created their own worlds and universes, in some cases their own languages, and their own epic heroic quests. And all of them owe a debt of gratitude to the works and the author who first set them on the path.

In Meditations on Middle-earth, sixteen bestselling fantasy authors share details of their personal relationships with Tolkien's mythos, for it inspired them all. Had there been no Lord of the Rings, there would also have been no Earthsea books by Ursula K. Le Guin; no Song of Ice and Fire saga from George R. R. Martin; no Tales of Discworld from Terry Pratchett; no Legends of Alvin Maker from Orson Scott Card. Each of them was influenced by the master mythmaker, and now each reveals the nature of that influence and their personal relationships with the greatest fantasy novels ever written in the English language.

If you've never read the Tolkien books, read these essays and discover the depthy and beauty of his work. If you are a fan of The Lord of the Rings, the candid comments of these modern mythmakers will give you new insight into the subtlety, power, and majesty of Tolkien's tales and how he told them.

Meditations on Middle-Earth is a 2002 Hugo Award Nominee for Best Related Work.

Biographie de l'auteur

George R. R. Martin, Raymond E. Feist, Poul Andersen, Harry Turtledove, Terry Pratchett, Robin Hobb, Ursula Le Guin, Orson Scott Card, Terri Windling.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 3535 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 256 pages
  • Editeur : St. Martin's Press (11 octobre 2002)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B003G93YC8
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°93.558 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)

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Amazon.com: 3.7 étoiles sur 5  20 commentaires
19 internautes sur 20 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Authors gush over Tolkien 22 février 2002
Par David Bratman - Publié sur Amazon.com
Easily found and bearing a highly illustrious cast, this book presents fifteen noted fantasy authors, plus scholar Douglas A. Anderson and artists Tim and Greg Hildebrandt, expressing what they get out of Tolkien. It's a change from listening to authors hawk their own work on convention panels.
Despite the obligatory "how I discovered Tolkien" anecdotes, which can be annoying in such quantity (I often find them charming, myself), the contributors avoid much repetition. A few simply burble, trying unsuccessfully to be amusing. Several discuss how Tolkien's example freed them to write their own kind of fantasy: Poul Anderson's juxtaposition of =LotR= with his own =Broken Sword=, and Harry Turtledove's bashful confession of his early life as a naked Tolkien imitator, are the most notable. Others try to analyze the reasons for Tolkien's popularity, but with less success: that's a skill of critics, not of authors. But a few, including Raymond E. Feist and Terri Windling, have some good points to make along the way. The best essays are by those who do have it in them to be critics. Douglas A. Anderson is here to remind us that Tolkien wrote other books besides =LotR= and =The Hobbit=, and to warn us of the perils of undiscriminating popularity. Michael Swanwick offers a brief but thoughtful character study. Slightly less elevated than these is Orson Scott Card's diatribe against symbolic analysis: my instinct is to agree, but I finish the essay thinking there's points to be made for the other view. The outstanding contribution is Ursula K. Le Guin's: she simply sits down, as a good author with an ear for style can, and =demonstrates= Tolkien's quality by analyzing his use of rhythm, recurrence, and opposition to create emotional effects in a sample chapter of =LotR=, "Fog on the Barrow-Downs".
The authors make few factual errors, but the book offers many typos, including a character named Owyn. Illustrations by John Howe brighten a few pages.
15 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Uneven but enjoyable 28 novembre 2001
Par L. Feld - Publié sur Amazon.com
As with any collection of writings (in this case, essays), "Meditations on Middle-earth" varies widely in style, theme, effectiveness, and overall quality. So it's no surprise that (for me at least) some of these essays work much better than others. In fact, I would have to say that a couple pretty much never captured my interest. It was also a little off-putting to me, at least initially, to know that this book was published as an obvious commercial tie-in to the movie. I hate commercial tie-ins! But, such is life, I guess, in our capitalist society, so what can you do? These caveats notwithstanding, I have to say that, overall, I enjoyed this book very much. Most of the writers do a good job in describing their own personal experience of Tolkien/"Lord of the Rings," and several are truly outstanding. I particularly liked Michael Swanwick on various Tolkien themes -- integrity, truth, honesty, sadness, life/actions as having real consequences - as well as his view of "the true purpose of the Ring-quest" as a "test of all creation." Orson Scott Card has some interesting points to make on "escapist" vs. "serious" reading, on who the REAL hero of "The Lord of the Rings" was (hint: not Frodo), and most importantly on the "wild," "untamable" nature of all great tales, including Tolkien's. Ursula Le Guin does an excellent job analyzing Tolkien's prose style (using the chapter 8 in Volume 1, "Fog on the Barrow Downs"), his rhythmic patterns, and his "'trochaic' alternation of stress and relief" throughout his saga. Terri Windling writes a hair-raising essay on good and evil, fantasy and reality, and her own escape from a truly horrific childhood and an evil stepfather, in part thanks to Tolkien.
In sum, "Meditations on Middle-earth" is a very good, albeit uneven, collection of essays on one of the great authors (JRR Tolkien) and books ("The Lord of the Rings") of all time. If you're into Tolkien, you should definitely like this book, and if you've never read Tolkien, then this book might make you curious to do so. Either way, you can't go too wrong reading and thinking about "The Lord of the Rings."
18 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Fantasy Authors Reflect Upon Tolkien's Impact 14 décembre 2001
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
This is a collection of 17 short essays about J.R.R. Tolkien penned by contemporary fantasy & sci-fi authors. (Actually, 15 essays are by authors-- one is by bibliographer/editor Douglas Andersson and another is an interview with the Hildebrant Brothers, who are reknowned fantasy artists).
As others have noted, the essays are something of a mixed bag. Of them, only three try to take a critical, scholarly, analytical look at Tolkien. This is probably for the best, as authors usually make terrible critics. Of these three, the strongest is Ursula LeGuin's discussion of the poetic rhythms in Tolkien's prose. While thoughtful, it is nonetheless a bit dull-- and frankly, a much better essay on this same subject can be found in _J.R.R. Tolkien and his Literary Resonances_. The weakest of these three, Orson Scott Card's essay on "How Tolkien Means", is also the worst in the whole book. Although his basic contention-- that the essence of Tolkien's fiction lies in "Story" rather than "Meaning"-- is reasonable enough, his point is overwhelmed by an arrogant tone and intermittent rantings against feminists, multiculturalists, literary critics, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Sigmund Freud, James Joyce, people who like James Joyce, modernists, postmodernists, and pretty much anyone and everyone who doesn't share (or whom he suspects might not share) the exact same approach to literature as he does.
Most authors here, however, have (wisely) avoided criticism, analysis, and polemic-- and have instead penned more autobiographical essays, reflecting upon how/when/why they first read Tolkien, how it impacted them both immediately and later on, how it changed their reading habits, how it influenced their own writing, and the like. Although these essays all have their own unique character and specific content depending on each author's own experiences and style (unsurprisingly, the essays by Terry Pratchett and Esther Freisner are quite funny), one can't help but note a common pattern of experience. With one or two exceptions, most of the writers here encountered Tolkien for the first time as an adolescent during the 1960s. Most describe reading the _Hobbit_ and the _Lord of the Rings_ as a life-changing event-- as a kind of epiphany or even as a magical experience. Many say that reading Tolkien inspired them to become writers themselves-- and several describe how many of their own early works were specifically modeled on Tolkien. Virtually all observe note that they probably could never have made a living writing the kind of fantasy fiction that they do if Tolkien hadn't proven to publishers that there was a huge market for this sort of thing.
Of all the essays in the book, the hands-down best is Michael Swanwick's "A Changeling Returns", an introspective piece that contrasts his childhood memories of reading Tolkien (where he saw mostly magic, adventure, and freedom), with his adulthood re-readings of it (he now sees that the powerful sense of loss and mortality that permeates Tolkien's fiction), and with the experience of reading Tolkien aloud to his children (who are encountering it as he first did as a child... but who can still sense that there is something deeper, sadder, that lies beneath). Whereas most of the other essays in this book were merely 'interesting', I found this one to be profoundly moving. (Then again, maybe that's just because I found Swanwick's experiences to be closest to my own).
All in all, I can't say that this is a must-have book for either Tolkien fans or scholars, but it does give an intriguing and suggestive first-hand account of how many of today's great fantasy & sci-fi writers have been influenced by Tolkien... although many of the most suggestive elements come not from what individual writers themselves say, but from seeing the commonalities of experience among them. My only real criticism of the book as whole is that it would have been nice to include as a contrast some essays by authors who *aren't* fantasy writers, by authors whose primary language wasn't English, and/or by authors who were of a different generation that those featured here.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Redundant Praise 12 juin 2002
Par Eric Wilson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Some wonderful and successful writers gather their thoughts in this book to bear light on the magic of Tolkien's writing. Being a fan myself, I enjoyed the individual tales of discovering "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" for the first time. I related to the same sense of awe and dread, of wonder and inspiration. Surely, Tolkien has inspired many.
Unfortunately, the praise gets to be redundant and--may I say it?--almost hollow, without the balance of some thoughtful criticism. Personally, I wouldn't have much negative to say regarding Tolkien's work, but I found very little that was genuinely fresh or enlightening in this collection of "meditations." I did discover an interest in some of the authors included (not a bad reason for their involvement in the project) and in earlier 20th century writers that I have never familiarized myself with. Lord Dunsany, E.R. Eddison, Fritz Leiber, and Mervyn Peake are only a few of the old standbys mentioned repeatedly.
Although interesting, a quick read, and well-written, this collection might best serve those curious in unearthing the inspiration beneath some of their favorite authors. I was hoping for something with more vitality, but overall I'd recommend the book.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Wonderful conversations with SF & F's best 7 janvier 2002
Par David Hudson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Imagine if you could gather some of the world's best Science Fiction and Fantasy authors into a room for an informal chat about Tolkein's influence on their personal and professional lives. Unfortunately, the authors are not all IN the same room, so each conversation is quite a bit different from the last. The authors were clearly given a lot of lattitude and therein lie the strengths and weaknesses of this collection.

The tone of the essays are personal, even familiar. For fans of Tolkein or of the contributing authors, the book is worth reading, if for no other reason than to spend some time with distant friends. Another perk is the reading list inadvertently provided by each author as they comment on their other influences. Apparently there are a few seminal works in the genre that I have completely missed.

The quality is admittedly a bit spotty, even within the same essay. Some of the best essays came from authors I had never heard of. However, like any good conversation, there are snippets of great wisdom throughout. (It is the rare friend who offers up nothing but gems.) I can assure you that every essay will leave you smiling, or nodding and a few might even have you reaching for a pen. In short, you will find much to enjoy in this collection.

I should note that there is something here for everyone: hobbyist, devotee, english major, or bibliophile. Rarely does one get to listen in on the personal conversations of authors as they discuss their lives, their work and the influences that have made their careers possible.
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