Friday, November 16, 2012

Kernel's Library: For the Avid J.R.R. Tolkien Readers

The Tolkien Reader by J. R. R. Tolkien Book 00051: The Tolkien Reader by J. R. R. Tolkien

- The Tolkien Reader

First Publication:
- 1966 by Ballantine Books

- J. R. R. Tolkien is known with many other names: J, John, Ronald, Tollers, JRsquared, Ruginwaldus Dwalakôneis, Arcastar, "Eisphorides Acribus Polyglotteus, orator Graecorum", N.N, Fisiologvs, Kingston Bagpuize, Oxymore, Raegnold Hraedmoding .

Awards/Honors as an Author:
- D. Lit., in University College, Dublin (1954)
- Commander of Order of the British Empire (1972)
- Doctorate of Letters by Oxford University (1972)
- 6th "Best postwar British writer" (The Times, 2008)

There was a time when I wanted to read all of Tolkien's books: from his Middle Earth folklore to every anthology. Alas, I was not able to read all of them, because by the time I wanted to buy them, there were no more copies left. Luckily I was able to buy a few of his books outside the Lord of the Rings saga. The Tolkien Reader is one of them and I am still delighted to have had read this book.

This book is composed of stories of varied themes and focus. It contains an introductory essay by Peter S. Beagle entitled Tolkien’s Magic Ring; a short play entitled The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm's Son; an essay On Fairy-Stories; Leaf by Niggle and Farmer Giles of Ham; and the collection of sixteen poems known to readers as The Adventures of Tom Bombadil.

Most of these works appeared in other publications except from the Beagle essay and The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm’s Son. And most of them are highly entertaining in their own way. But the part that I liked best is Leaf by Niggle, which is some kind of a surreal adventure of a man whose dreams are yet to be discovered.

As a teaser to the whole book I can give you an excerpt from "Adventures of Tom Bombadil"

Wise old Bombadil, he was a wary fellow;
bright blue his jacket was, and his boots were yellow.
None ever caught old Tom in upland or in dingle,
walking the forest-paths, or by the Withywindle,
or out on the lily-pools in boat upon the water.
But one day Tom, he went and caught the River-daughter,
in green gown, flowing hair, sitting in the rushes,
singing old water-songs to birds upon the bushes.

He caught her, held her fast! Water-rats went scuttering
reeds hissed, herons cried, and her heart was fluttering.
Said Tom Bombadil: 'Here's my pretty maiden!
You shall come home with me! The table is all laden:
yellow cream, honeycomb, white bread and butter;
roses at the window-sill and peeping round the shutter.
You shall come under Hill! Never mind your mother
in her deep weedy pool: there you'll find no lover!'

Old Tom Bombadil had a merry wedding,
crowned all with buttercups, hat and feather shedding;
his bride with forgetmenots and flag-lilies for garland
was robed all in silver-green. He sang like a starling,
hummed like a honey-bee, lilted to the fiddle,
clasping his river-maid round her slender middle.

Lamps gleamed within his house, and white was the bedding;
in the bright honey-moon Badger-folk came treading,
danced down under Hill, and Old Man Willow
tapped, tapped at window-pane, as they slept on the pillow,
on the bank in the reeds River-woman sighing
heard old Barrow-wight in his mound crying.

Old Tom Bombadil heeded not the voices,
taps, knocks, dancing feet, all the nightly noises;
slept till the sun arose, then sang like a starling:
'Hey! Come derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling!'
sitting on the door-step chopping sticks of willow,
while fair Goldberry combed her tresses yellow.

*copyright © J. R. R. Tolkien

The are other Tolkien books that I really wanted to read, but it's unfortunate his rare books have no unavailable copies up to now, especially that The Hobbit movie is about to come out. Hopefully, one day, I will be able to complete his entire work. One collection to rule them all...

Grade: A+