Rare Fruit

The Saga of Eric Brighteyes

The Saga of Eric Brighteyes - A Book That Inspired Tolkien

With Original Illustrations

By H. Rider Haggard (Author)

a book that influenced jrr tolkien
With introduction by Cecilia Dart-Thornton
Illustrated by Lancelot Speed, first published 1891.

‘Rider Haggard is one of a handful of Victorian and Edwardian writers whom Tolkien acknowledged by name.’  So states Jason Fisher in Tolkien and the Study of His Sources: Critical Essays.

Professor Tolkien once said in an interview, “I suppose as a boy [Rider Haggard’s novel] She interested me as much as anything.” He added with enthusiasm that one of Haggard’s other novels, Eric Brighteyes, was ‘as good as most sagas and as heroic’.

Eric Brighteyes is an action-packed adventure filled with Viking feasts duels, battles on land and sea, romance, treachery, magic, beautiful women and brave men.

In The Lord of the Rings, Aragorn has grey eyes, as do most of the elves, while elven hair is described in detail; gold, silver, auburn and dark. Hair and eye colour was as important to Haggard as to Tolkien. He writes that Eric ‘was strong and great of stature, his hair was yellow as gold, and his grey eyes shone with the light of swords.’

This is one of the many striking motifs in Haggard's stories that inspired the great work of Tolkien.

Visit The Professor's Bookshelf, the home of books that inspired Professor JRR Tolkien.

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the saga of eric brighteyes

the saga of eric brighteyes

the saga of eric brighteyes

the saga of eric brighteyes

the saga of eric brighteyes

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Product Details
  • Publication Date: Jun 01 2013

    ISBN/EAN13: 0987555448 / 9780987555441

    Page Count: 376

    Binding Type: US Trade Paper

    Trim Size: 6" x 9"

    Language: English

    Color: Black and White

    Related Categories: Fiction / Fantasy / Epic
More About the Creators

> H Rider Haggard on Wikipedia



Sir Henry Rider Haggard, KBE (22 June 1856 – 14 May 1925) was an English author. He wrote adventure novels in exotic settings, chiefly colonial Africa, where he lived, worked and travelled for several years. His stories were the first in the 'Lost World' literary genre, which influenced popular American pulp writers such as Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, Philip José Farmer, and Abraham Merritt.
Tolkien greatly enjoyed Haggard's novels, in particular 'She' (1887)and 'Eric Brighteyes' (1891). It can be imagined that he would have been interested in the other three titles in the immensely popular 'She' series when they appeared - 'Ayesha: The Return of She' (1905),' She and Allan' (1921), and 'Wisdom's Daughter' (1923). Fantasy author H.P. Lovecraft, too, praised Haggard.

To 21st century readers parts of Haggard's work may seem 'politically incorrect'. He was a man of his time, as we are men and women of ours. His books are not devoid of racism, sexism and ruthless exploitation of wild animals; it is best, however, to with-hold judgement and not allow it to spoil the pleasure of reading literary classics.

Several of Haggard's books contain references to volcanoes. Reading them, one is reminded of Tolkien's descriptions of Mount Doom. In 'She', Haggard depicts marshlands reminiscent of the Dead Marshes in The Lord of the Rings. Haggard's protagonists, like Tolkien's, make long journeys, endure painful ordeals, travel underground and are often swept into wars. They encounter beings who are either impossibly long-lived or immortal. Landscape, rock formations and geography play a vital role in Haggard's adventures, as they do in Tolkien's work.
More About the Illustrator


Lancelot Speed (1860–1931) was a famous Victorian illustrator of books, usually of a fantastical or romantic nature. He is probably most well known for his illustrations for Andrew Lang's fairy story books. Speed is credited as the designer on the 1916 silent movie version of the novel She by H. Rider Haggard, which he had illustrated. He was also the director of a number of early British silent films.


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Leaves of Gold Press publishes international, premium quality fiction and non-fiction in hardcover, paperback and ebook format. Our books are printed on high grade, acid-free, book-grade, opaque paper stock sourced from responsibly managed forests. Our printers are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council™, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification™. Utilizing POD technology decreases the number of returns and reduces paper waste, thereby cutting down greenhouse emissions and conserving valuable natural resources. Our books are not endorsed by or affiliated with the Tolkien Estate or Tolkien Enterprises.
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