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Tales Before Tolkien: The Roots of Modern Fantasy


Publisher:Del Rey



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About the book:

The Roots of Modern Fantasy
Classic Stories that Inspired the Author of The Lord of the Rings

Edited and with commentary by Douglas A. Anderson
Editor of The Annotated Hobbit

Once upon a time, fantasy writers were looked down upon by the literary mainstream as purveyors of mere escapism or, at best, bedtime tales fit only for children. Today fantasy novels stand atop the bestseller lists, while fantasy films smash box office records. Fantasy dominates the role-playing and computer gaming industries, and classic works in the genre are taught in schools and universities throughout the world. Credit for this amazing turnaround belongs to one man more than any other: John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, the beloved author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

Terry Brooks. David Eddings. George R. R. Martin. Robin Hobb. The top names in modern fantasy all acknowledge J. R. R. Tolkien as their model and master, the author whose work first fired their imaginations and inspired them to create their own epics. But what writers influenced Tolkien himself? Sir Isaac Newton once wrote, If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. As with the scientific genius of Newton, so, too, with the literary genius of Tolkien. Now internationally recognized Tolkien expert Douglas A. Anderson has gathered the fiction of some of those giants together for the first time in a collection destined to become a classic in its own right.

In The Golden Key, the inspiration for Tolkiens short story Smith of Wootton Major, George MacDonald tells the tale of a boy whose quest for the end of the rainbow leads beyond the borders of the world. Andrew Langs romantic tale, The Story of Sigurd, features magic rings, an enchanted sword, and a brave hero loved by two beautiful womenand cursed by a ferocious dragon. Tolkien read E. A. Wyke-Smiths The Marvelous Land of Snergs to his children, delighting in these charming tales of a pixieish people only slightly taller than the average table. Also appearing in this collection is a never-before-published gem by David Lindsay, author of Voyage to Arcturus, a novel which Tolkien praised highly both as a thriller and as a work of philosophy, religion, and morals.

In stories packed with magical journeys, conflicted heroes, and terrible beasts, this extraordinary volume is one that no fan of fantasy or Tolkien should be without. These tales just might inspire a new generation of creative writers.

Tales Before Tolkien: 22 Magical Stories

The Elves by Ludwig Tieck
The Golden Key by George MacDonald
Puss-Cat Mew by E. H. Knatchbull-Hugessen
The Griffin and the Minor Canon by Frank R. Stockton
The Demon Pope by Richard Garnett
The Story of Sigurd by Andrew Lang
The Folk of the Mountain Door by William Morris
Black Heart and White Heart by H. Rider Haggard
The Dragon Tamers by E. Nesbit
The Far Islands by John Buchan
The Drawn Arrow by Clemence Housman
The Enchanted Buffalo by L. Frank Baum
Chu-bu and Sheemish by Lord Dunsany
The Baumhoff Explosive by William Hope Hodgson
The Regent of the North by Kenneth Morris
The Coming of the Terror by Arthur Machen
The Elf Trap by Francis Stevens
The Thin Queen of Elfhame by James Branch Cabell
The Woman of the Wood by A. Merritt
Golithos the Ogre by E. A. Wyke-Smith
The Story of Alwina by Austin Tappan Wright
A Christmas Play by David Lindsay

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