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Tolkien's Lost Chaucer

John M. Bowers

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Oxford University Press
10 October 2019
Tolkien's Lost Chaucer uncovers the story of an unpublished and previously unknown book by the author of The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien worked between 1922 and 1928 on his Clarendon edition Selections from Chaucer's Poetry and Prose, and though never completed, its 160 pages of commentary reveals much of his thinking about language and storytelling when he was still at the threshold of his career as an epoch-making writer of fantasy literature. Drawing upon other new materials such as his edition of the Reeve's Tale and his Oxford lectures on the Pardoner's Tale, this book reveals Chaucer as a major influence upon Tolkien's literary imagination.
Imprint:   Oxford University Press
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 241mm,  Width: 165mm,  Spine: 27mm
Weight:   670g
ISBN:   9780198842675
ISBN 10:   0198842678
Pages:   336
Publication Date:  
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  College/higher education ,  Undergraduate ,  Further / Higher Education
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

John M. Bowers is an internationally known scholar of medieval English literature with books on Chaucer, Langland, and the Gawain Poet. Educated at Duke, Virginia, and Oxford where he was a Rhodes Scholar, he taught at Caltech and Princeton before settling at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. His work has been supported by fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, and the Great Courses released his lecture series The Western Literary Canon in Context.

Reviews for Tolkien's Lost Chaucer

Bowers' book is full of such insights for the Tolkien aficionado. And if you're a Chaucer fan or scholar, youll also find much to admire in Tolkien's detailed and sometimes illuminating work on the great poet. * Oliver Tearle, Interesting Literature * For anyone seriously interested in either Tolkien or Chaucer, Bowers' book will be indispensable. For others, it is a meticulous, elegant, and at times moving look into how one great author read another ... Bowers' book is insightful and enjoyable: a fitting testament to the two writers with whom it is concerned. * Daniel Sutton, The Oxonian Review * The surviving material of the 'lost Chaucer' is fairly slight and in places very technical, but Bowers demonstrates neatly that even the most arcane philological detail could act as creative inspiration for Tolkien. It is refreshing that he discusses how this aborted edition displays Tolkien's weaknesses as a scholar ... as well as his superb literary skill ... The book also offers a fascinating, at times startling, insight into medieval studies in thefirst half of the 20th century ... The appetite for Tolkien's works, however fragmentary, seems to continue unabated. This book is a very welcome addition to the ever-growing library of his unfinished tales. * History Today * ... Bowers recounts the history of the Clarendon Chaucer, beginning with the circumstances under which it was commissioned and running up to the moment of its rediscovery. This is a surprisingly gripping story - Bowers does an impressive job of immersing us in the ups and downs, starts and stops that attended this ill-fated project. * The Times Literary Supplement *

  • Winner of Recipient of the Mythopoeic Societys 2021 Scholarship Award.

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