For some reason I turned to one of the great book reading experiences of my childhood, the trilogy about “The fellowship of the Ring” by J.R.R. Tolkien. Probably I read it already in the 60’s. Any way it was long before 1973 when I, together with a friend, visited London . We travelled by train through western Europe for a month, it was the so-called “Interrail”. In London I bought an english paperback-version of “The Lord of the Ring” , and put it in my bookshelf as I returned home. But by then I had already read it twice in a swedish translation.
Now, almost 40 years later , I again couldn’t lay the book aside until it was read, this time the english paperback-version, which I had looked for, and also had found.
This book is some kind of a riddle – where do you find a book of such kind, that is so extremely entertaining, that when you have read and read and then look to see, and find that there is still a lot to read, it only makes you happy! Yes, I know there are other opinions, but this is what I think.
Tolkien himself made an explanation to his work , when he was asked by people who searched for an allegorical type of meaning behind it, for example about politics or the World War II. He writes in the preface of the english paperback that his work was “primarily linguistic in inspiration”. So it is the author’s interest for languages, not least his speciality with ancient English and Scandinavian words, which inspired him.
There are a lot of web-sites that diverse Tolkien-groups have created. I have found such in different languages, and also in swedish, english and russian. There are some notion that says that the work of J.R.R. Tolkien was prohibited in the Soviet Union. But then, what does it mean that the book “Bilbo – the Hobbit” was published there in 1976, and the first part of “The Fellowship of the Ring” in 1982? A Soviet literary critic , Muravyev *), wrote about different examples of reviews on Tolkien in the West, the same year as “Bilbo – the Hobbit” was published in Russia: ” It seems to me as if people really have taken him into serious consideration. He is also fully worthy of the attention from our Soviet reviewers, but unfortunately, until now they have overlooked him “.
This he wrote back in the 70’s. And still, it was a few years after I had read these books in a swedish translation.
– Interesting post. Could “The Fellowship of the Ring”, as an alternative, contemporary myth, help us analyse our days and what is going on in the political as well as in the philosophical/theological realm?- I think I’ll try it. / They are excited..
*) A person with the same name translated the first version of “The Fellowship of the Ring” into russian.