Tales Before Tolkien
by Douglas A. Anderson (ed)
Category: Fiction / Fantasy
432 pages; ISBN: 0345458540
Rating: 8/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
JRR Tolkien is considered by many to be the father of modern fantasy though he often referred to the classic Beowulf. This collection looks at twenty-two stories that may have influenced him in his creation of hose adorable Hobbits. The selections were based on the premises that the tales were published before any Middle Earth story and that the author was born at least five years before Mr. Tolkien. Several were written in the nineteenth century, but were chosen because Mr. Tolkien makes reference to them in his letters or commentaries.
Although not for everyone as the contributions in many cases feel a bit dated, this anthology is a fun collection. Notables are included such as Frank Stockton, Lewis Carroll, H. Rider Haggard, and L. Frank Baum, etc. Besides those curious of the genre’s heritage, generalists will appreciate the tales as for the most part they are well written and worth the look back though where is the most influential, Beowulf?
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