This book is a wonderful invitation to Tolkien's world. This rich treasury includes Tolkien's most beloved short fiction plus his essay on fantasy.
FARMER GILES OF HAM. An imaginative history of the distant and marvelous past that introduces the rather unheroic Farmer Giles, whose efforts to capture a somewhat untrustworthy dragon will delight readers everywhere.
THE ADVENTURES OF TOM BOMBADIL. A collection of verse in praise of Tom Bombadil, that staunch friend of the Hobbits in THE LORD OF THE RINGS.
ON FAIRY-STORIES. Professor Tolkien's now-famous essy on the form of the fairy story and the treatment of fantasy.
About the author: John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born on January 3, 1892, in Bloemfontein, South Africa. After serving in the First World War, he embarked upon a distinguished academic career and was recognized as one of the finest philologists in the world. He was a professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford, a fellow of Pembroke College, and a fellow of Merton College until his retirement in 1959. He is, however, beloved throughout the world as the creator of Middle-earth and author of such classic works as The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. He died on September 2, 1973, at the age of 81.
"The inspiration for the great fantasy novels of J.R.R. Tolkien cannot be separated from his profoundly Catholic approach to life:
"The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work," he wrote, "unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision. That is why I have not put in, or have cut out, practically all references to anything like "religion", to cults or practices, in the Imaginary world. For the religious element is absorbed into the story and the symbolism" (Letter 142).
In fact, two of the great loves in the hidden world of Tolkien's imagination were the Eucharist and Our Lady, - upon which all my own small perception of beauty both in majesty and simplicity is founded". By way of encouraging his son, he once wrote:
"Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament ... There you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves upon earth ... which every man's heart desires" (p. 53)." - December 1994 issue of Irish Family magazine