Tolkien in the Twenty-First Century: The Meaning of Middle-Earth Today
An original and thought-provoking journey into J. R. R. Tolkien’s world, revealing how his visionary creation of Middle-Earth is more relevant now than ever before.
*Finalist for the The 2023 Tolkien Society Best Book Award*
What is it about Middle-Earth and its inhabitants that has captured the imagination of millions of people around the world? And why does Tolkien's visionary creation continue to fascinate and inspire us eighty-five years after its first publication?
Beginning with Tolkien's earliest influence—and drawing on key moments from his life, Tolkien in the Twenty-First Century is an engaging and vibrant reinterpretation of the beloved author's work. Not only does it trace the genesis and inspiration for the original books, but the narrative also explores the later film and literary adaptations that have cemented his reputation as a cultural phenomenon.
Delving deep into topics such as friendship, failure, the environment, diversity, and Tolkien's place in a post-Covid age, Nick Groom takes us on an unexpected journey through Tolkien's world, revealing how it is more relevant now than perhaps Tolkien himself ever envisioned.
Praise for Tolkien in the Twenty-First Century: The Meaning of Middle-Earth Today
"This fascinating book explores 'The Hobbit' and 'The Lord of the Rings' from their genesis through all the different major adaptations of the Tolkien 'legendarium.' It starts off neatly summarizing Tolkien’s life and influences—such as his friendship with W.H. Auden and C.S. Lewis."
— The Wall Street Journal
"Groom, who first read The Lord of the Rings when he was 13, provides a fresh study of the impact Tolkien has on contemporary readers’ and viewers’ understanding of good, evil, war, and conflict."
— Library Journal
"University of Macau English professor Groom delivers a loving ode to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series. An adventure worth taking."
— Publishers Weekly
"An excellent, perceptive and superbly crafted analysis of the way our ever-changing world has responded to Tolkien. A stunning achievement."
— Brian Sibley, award-winning author of The Fall of Númenor
"A modern journey through Tolkien’s work, which has engendered a rich field of cultural activity. A thought-provoking examination. With the authority of extensive research, Groom unpacks the reasons for the appeal of Tolkien to a new generation."
— Kirkus Reviews
Praise for The Vampire: A New History:
"An authoritative take on the history of the vampire.”
— The New York Times Book Review
"Colossally smart. Groom is interested in undead Byron, but he is more interested in the aspects of vampirology that pop culture tends to neglect. It is a great relief to meet Groom’s vampire, still icy from the void and unburdened by the aesthetic of Gothic nightingale-lite.”
— The New Yorker
“Impressively manages to analyze vampires’ influence on almost every facet of private and public life—social, theological, political, medical, cultural, sexual, literary—over the span of four centuries."
“A vast undertaking—a tapestry of history, science, pseudoscience, theology, politics, and art.”
— Weekly Standard