Ordway’s book aims to challenge an assumption that J.R.R. Tolkien is “fundamentally rooted and grounded in the past, partaking only minimally of the modern world” (5). She hopes to accomplish this by proving her main argument that, “Tolkien’s modern reading was both more extensive, and more significant in its influence on the legendarium, than has hitherto been recognized” (291). Ordway gathers 148 authors and more than 200 titles that Tolkien is known to have owned or read, and traces their influence on the development of Middle-earth. Despite a number of factual errors, and a flawed assumption that those interested in Tolkien are largely unaware of his interest in modern literature, the text is engaging, avoids academic jargon, and gathers a large amount of information under one convenient cover.
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