The House of the Wolfings: The William Morris Book that Inspired J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings

The House of the Wolfings: The William Morris Book that Inspired J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings

by Michael W. Perry
     
 

J. R. R. Tolkien fans who long for more of the joy they get from The Lord of the Rings will find it in the writings of William Morris. He created the literature that Tolkien brought to such perfection. As a young man writing his future wife, Tolkien mentioned the inspiration he was getting from Morris: "Amongst other work I am trying to turn one of the short

Overview

J. R. R. Tolkien fans who long for more of the joy they get from The Lord of the Rings will find it in the writings of William Morris. He created the literature that Tolkien brought to such perfection. As a young man writing his future wife, Tolkien mentioned the inspiration he was getting from Morris: "Amongst other work I am trying to turn one of the short stories [of the Finnish Kalevala] . . . into a short story somewhat on the lines of Morris’ romances with chunks of poetry in between."
Forty-six years later, Tolkien recalled what he learned from Morris: "The Lord of the Rings was actually begun, as a separate thing, about 1937, and had reached the inn at Bree, before the shadow of the second war. . . . The Dead Marshes and the approaches to the Morannon owe something to Northern France after the Battle of the Somme. They owe more to William Morris and his Huns and Romans, as in The House of the Wolfings or The Roots of the Mountains."
As The Lord of the Rings was being written, Tolkien’s close friend, C. S. Lewis, wrote that Morris provides his readers with a “pleasure so inexhaustible that after twenty or fifty years of reading they find it worked so deeply into all their emotions as to defy analysis.” In words that apply equally well to Tolkien, he said: "It is indeed, this matter-of-factness . . . which lends to all of Morris’s stories their somber air of conviction. Other stories have only scenery; his have geography. He is not concerned with ‘painting’ landscapes; he tells you the lie of the land, and then you paint the landscapes for yourself. To a reader long fed on the almost botanical and entomological niceties of much modern fiction . . . the effect is at first very pale and cold, but also fresh and spacious. No mountains in literature are as far away as distant mountains in Morris. The world of his imagining is as windy, as tangible, as resonant and three dimensional, as that of Scott and Homer."
In short, if you like Tolkien’s Aragorn, if you admire the bravery of the Riders of Rohan, if you long for more adventure in an unspoiled wilderness, or if you wish Tolkien had more romances between men and women, then you will be delighted by this tale from William Morris.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940000790311
Publisher:
Michael W. Perry
Publication date:
11/29/2008
Sold by:
Smashwords
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
210,036
File size:
368 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

The writings of Michael W. Perry are many and varied. They range from an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's children's stories (Stories for Girls) to a scholarly 447-page look at the causes of World War II (Chesterton on War and Peace). He is the author of Untangling Tolkien, the only book-length, day-by-day chronology of The Lord of the Rings, and has contributed to encyclopedias on the writings of C. S. Lewis, J. R. R Tolkien, as well as the many scandals of U.S. presidents (Presidential Scandals). His books have been translated into Polish (Klucz Do Tolkena) and Italian (Eugenetica e altri malanni).

Most recently, he's taking a look back at the experiences that shaped his life. Three books in the 'hospital series' look at what it was like to care for children with cancer (Nights with Leukemia) and teenagers (Hospital Gowns and Other Embarrassments), as well as a telling criticism of legally sanctioned medical mistreatment given to a teen-aged girl (Caria, The Girl Who Couldn't Say No).

That'll be followed by a series on politically driven hatred in America. The first in the series, tentatively named To Kill a Mockingbird Revisited, will describe what it was like to grow up in the South in the last days of segregation, one-generation removed and some forty miles from the town described in Harper Lee's popular novel.

Partial Bibliography

* Assistant editor and major contributor: The C. S. Lewis Readers Encyclopedia (Zondervan, 1998), winner of the 1999 Evangelical Christian Publishers Association Gold Medallion Book Award as the best biography/autobiography.

* Major contributor: Presidential Scandals (CQ Press, 1999).

* Editor of a research edition of G. K. Chesterton's Eugenics and Other Evils (2000) that was praised in by bestselling author Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park), who said that: "The editor of this editor of this edition has included may quotations from eugenicists of the 1920s, who read astonishingly like toe words of contemporary prophets of doom."

* Author of Untangling Tolkien (2003), a detailed chronology of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and a must-have reference work for Tolkien fans.

* Contributor: J. R. R. Tolkien Encyclopedia by Michael D. C. Drout. (Routledge, 2006)

* Editor of Chesterton on War and Peace: Battling the Ideas and Movements that Led to Nazism and World War II. Winner of the American Chesterton Society "Outline of Sanity" award for 2009.

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