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The Poetic Edda- Illustrated
(The Professor's Bookshelf)


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Authors

Margaret Armour
Olive Bray
Lucy Crane
Cecilia Dart-Thornton
Damien Davis
Lord Dunsany
E.R. Eddison
Christine Eddy
Cecilia Egan
P.V. Eyre-Walker
James L Gibb
H. Rider Haggard
Farrah Knight
Andrew Lang
Tanith Lee
George MacDonald
William Morris
Howard Pyle
Elizabeth M Reed
Linda Swainger
Margaret Thornton


Illustrators

Elizabeth Alger
Trish Hart
W.G. Collingwood
Walter Crane
H.J. Ford
Keith Henderson
W.B. MacDougall
Howard Pyle
Sidney Sime
Lancelot Speed
Jessie Wilcox-Smith
Ran Valerhon
Elena Vizerskaya
Peter Petrovic
Dianne Vanderee
Christine Eddy
Marina McAllan

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Prairie: A Canadian Autobiography
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Spotted Dick
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JRR Tolkien - author of the century!
Read the books that inspired Professor Tolkien, author of "The Lord of the Rings"
The Professor's Bookshelf

tolkien's books

Welcome to The Professor’s Bookshelf (the new, updated version of "Tolkien's Bookshelf")*, a collection of books that inspired the imagination of Professor JRR Tolkien; creator of Middle-earth, author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

All these titles have informed the professor’s writings in one way or another. Either the man himself revealed their influence in his essays or interviews, or his biographers and researchers uncovered the evidence, or the books were widely obtainable and popular in his literary circles, so that he certainly knew of them and there is little doubt he read them.

Professor Tolkien’s own drawings adorn the pages of The Hobbit and it is easy to imagine him as a boy, long before the invention of television, poring for hours over the images in his favourite volumes - images that helped shape his creation of Middle Earth.

Where possible we have selected illustrated editions available in his lifetime. Both texts and pictures have been reproduced, and our books are mostly copies of the editions the professor held in his own hands. Professor Tolkien's books, the books he read throughout his lifetime, include titles by notable authors such as William Morris, Lord Dunsany, George MacDonald and H. Rider Haggard.

Each Professor’s Bookshelf classic opens with an introduction by fantasy author Cecilia Dart-Thornton, about whose acclaimed Bitterbynde Trilogy Grand Master of Science Fiction Andre Norton wrote: ‘Not since Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings fell into my hands have I been so impressed by a beautifully spun fantasy.’

Literary scholars have studied the texts in The Professor's Bookshelf collection, finding threads and motifs linking them to the professor’s famous works. On reading Tolkien's books - the books he owned or borrowed or lent, the books he loved, the books that shaped his inner world - you will be awakened to that vast library of myth, magic, legend and fantasy whose legacy inspired the great English writer, poet and philologist, Professor J.R.R. Tolkien.

Tolkien's Bookshelf - the full set > See more at: The Professor's Bookshelf, (erstwhile "Tolkien's Bookshelf") the home of books that inspired Professor J.R.R. Tolkien     
the song of the nibelungs the red fairy book the book of wonder retro cookbook the princess and the goblin
THE SONG OF THE NIBELUNGS - A Book That Inspired Tolkien.
With original illustrations.
Translated by Margaret Armour, illustrated by W.B. MacDougall.

The Song of the Nibelungs, a thirteenth century Germanic Epic, greatly inspired Professor Tolkien.
Scholars have noted the influence of its pre-Christian heroic motifs - drawn from historic events and people of the 5th and 6th centuries - on his writing of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.
This classic saga, drenched in blood and tragedy, heroism and honour, beauty and nobility, gives us a glimpse into the literature
that helped inform Professor Tolkien’s imagination, ultimately flowering in his most popular work - The Lord of the Rings.


THE RED FAIRY BOOK - A Book That Inspired Tolkien.
With original illustrations.

Andrew Lang, illustrated by H.J. Ford and Lancelot Speed.

Andrew Lang's Fairy Books captured the imagination of a generation of children and were sold worldwide in the 1880s and 1890s. Professor Tolkien read and enjoyed every book in the series, and they had a marked influence on his imagination.
THE BOOK of WONDER & THE LAST BOOK of WONDER - A Book That Inspired Tolkien.
With original illustrations.

Written by Lord Dunsany, illustrated by S. H. Syme.


Professor Tolkien frequently mentioned Dunsany’s works in his letters.
In one letter he spoke of Dunsany’s character-naming abilities.
Later in life Tolkien wrote affectionately about Dunsany’s story"Chu-Bu and Sheemish", and also remarked on "The Distressing Tale of Thangobrind the Jeweller", both of which are contained in The Book of Wonder.
"Tolkien also once presented a scholar, Clyde S. Kilby with
a copy of The Book of Wonder to help prepare him for his role working on Tolkien’s 'The Silmarillion.'" So says Rebecca Joines Schinsky in "The Top Ten Books That Influenced J.R.R. Tolkien."
THE STORY of the GLITTERING PLAIN - A Book That Inspired Tolkien.
With original illustrations.

William Morris, illustrated by Walter Crane.

Fantasy and medieval literature specialist Douglas A. Anderson writes, "William Morris was an enormous influence on Tolkien in terms
of the general shape of his literary interests. Tolkien discovered
Morris’s translations in his teens, and his interest in Morris
deepened at Exeter College, Oxford, where Morris had also been an undergraduate. Professor Tolkien’s earliest stories of his Middle-earth legendarium, published posthumously as The Book of Lost Tales, show a decided influence of Morris in their archaism and style."
THE PRINCESS and the GOBLIN - A Book That Inspired Tolkien.
With original illustrations.

George MacDonald, illustrated by Jessie Wilcox Smith.

Professor Tolkien was a great admirer of George MacDonald’s fairy-stories.
When his children were young, he used to read The Princess and the Goblin to them in the
evenings, before they went to bed.
In a 1938 letter to the Observer newspaper Tolkien stated that some ideas in The Hobbit "...derived from (previously digested) epic, mythology, and fairy-story—not, however, Victorian in authorship, as a rule to which George MacDonald is the chief exception".
‘Tolkien knew well MacDonald’s children’s books "The Princess and the Goblin" and "The Princess and Curdie", both of which influenced Tolkien’s depiction of goblins in
The Hobbit,’ writes literary expert Douglas A. Anders.

the poetic edda the-worm-ouroboros
eric brighteyes grimms fairy tales king arthur
THE POETIC EDDA - A Book That Inspired Tolkien.
With original illustrations.

Translated by Olive Bray, illustrated by W G Collingwood

A magnificent and magical collection of thirty-four Icelandic poems, interwoven with prose, dating from the 9th century to the 12th. Professor Tolkien readily acknowledged his debt to this source

THE DRAGON OUROBOROS - A Book That Inspired Tolkien.
With original illustrations.
Written by E.R. Eddison, illustrated by Keith Henderson

Professor Tolkien read this story, and praised it in print. Eddison, he stated, was ‘the greatest and most convincing writer of “invented worlds”’ he had ever read.
THE SAGA of ERIC BRIGHTEYES - A Book That Inspired Tolkien.
With original illustrations.
Written by H. Rider Haggard, illustrated by Lancelot Speed, first published 1891.

Rider Haggard is one of a handful of Victorian and Edwardian writers whom Professor Tolkien acknowledged by name.
GRIMMS' FAIRYTALES - A Book That Inspired Tolkien.
With original illustrations.

Translated by Lucy Crane, illust. Walter Crane.

Professor Tolkien mined the folklore of the Grimm brothers for literary gems

THE STORY of KING ARTHUR and HIS KNIGHTS - A Book That Inspired Tolkien.
With original illustrations.
Written and illustrated by Howard Pyle.
Professor. Tolkien greatly enjoyed Arthurian stories, which he called ‘powerful’

JuiceBeauty.com
* "Tolkien's Bookshelf" and "The Professor's Bookshelf" are the names of a book collection, not a business name. Since 2013, "Tolkien's Bookshelf" has been used to describe the books that inspired Tolkien, but since June 2018 it's been updated.

 
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