Here is an in-depth look at the role myth, morality, and religion play in J.R.R. Tolkiens works such as The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion, including Tolkiens private letters and revealing opinions of his own work. Richard L. Purtill brilliantly argues that Tolkiens extraordinary ability to touch his readers lives through his storytelling, so unlike much modern literature, accounts for his enormous literary success.
This book demonstrates the moral depth in Tolkiens work and cuts through current subjectivism and cynicism about morality. A careful reader will find a subtle religious dimension to Tolkiens work, all the more potent because it is below the surface. Purtill reveals that Tolkiens fantasy stories creatively incorporate profound religious and ethical ideas. For example, Purtill shows us how hobbits reflect both the pettiness of parochial humanity and unexpected heroism.
Purtill, author of 19 books, effectively addresses larger issues of the place of myth, the relation of religion and morality to literature, the relation of Tolkiens work to traditional mythology, and the lessons Tolkiens work teaches for our own lives.
Richard Purtill is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington, and the author of twenty published books, including seven fantasy and science fiction novels. He has made more than twenty visits to Greece, and lived several years in England. His stories have been published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Isaac AsimovÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Science Fiction Magazine, Marion Zimmer BradleyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Fantasy Magazine, Alfred HitchcockÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Mystery Magazine, and The YearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Best Fantasy Stories.He is a popular presenter at conferences and conventions, and has been guest of honor at Mythcon in San Diego. He is a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the AuthorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Guild, and the National WriterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Union.
'Richard Purtill is both a clear and commonsensical philosopher and an accomplished fantasy writer. Discovering him is like meeting Strider in the Inn at Bree: we have found a Ranger, a reliable guide through Middle-earth.'
, Peter Kreeft, Author, C. S. Lewis for the Third Millenium