The Lord of the Rings, complete with the index and full appendices
20th edition, 1983 ("The fellowship of the Ring" 1954, "The two towers" 1955, "The return of the King" 1956). London, GraftonBooks. (1193 p.)
A fter I had read the first part of 'The Lord of the Rings', that was a few years ago, the Dutch version, I liked it very much. And after I read the whole book, I became a great admirer of Tolkien's work. I have read the whole Dutch version a couple of times, and when I saw this title on the literature list, I immediately got the idea of reading it in English. So I did, and I liked it even better.
O ne of the things that made me like it, is the use of language. The book is from the fifties, and so the used language is older then the English you hear nowadays. The difference isn't that big, that you'll find words as thee and thou, but he uses a florid kind of language, like in the following sentence:
A nother thing is, the way he described things. For example, when the travelers arrive at Lothlorien, Tolkien found just the words to bring over their astonishment and the reasons why. When I read them, it almost felt, as if I where there in the book. "The others cast themselves down upon the fragrant grass, but Frodo stood awhile still lost in wonder. It seemed to him that he had stepped through a high window that looked on a vanished world."( Page 369, 18-20) I liked his descriptions of persons very much too. Each character is worked out so well, it nearly comes alive.
T here is also a lot of poetry in the book, some in English, some in Elven- or another race's language. Some have a deeper meaning, like the title rhyme, "the rhyme of the Rings" (page 4), some are just for fun, like the one Frodo recites "There is an inn, a merry old inn"( Page 174-176).
B ut there is one thing that makes this book to my absolute favorite. The world that Tolkien created is so complete, so real, that it looks as if it really exists. He created a whole history, from the beginning of their world, to the end. He created the Elven- language and -alphabet. If you read the appendixes at the end of the book, you'll see how real it is. There is a detailed profile of creatures in the book, a map of their world, family trees and an index of poetry and songs, places and persons in the book.
I must admit, their are some parts in the book that aren't that good. Sometimes it is a bit long-winded. Some descriptions of landscapes are too lengthened, and some travelling reports could have been shorter. Another thing is, that after the travelers 'Fellowship' broke apart, and the book follows every member of it on his own wanderings, the story stays too long with one person. It would have been better, when the story would have changed earlier from view.
B ut those minor disadvantages are surely outweighed by the other parts of the book, so I have nothing else to say except that this book will always stay my favorite piece of reading material.