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The Ring of Words

The Ring of Words

New in paperback:

The Ring of Words

Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary

Peter Gilliver, Jeremy Marshall, Edmund Weiner

Praise for the hardback edition:

'A valuable contribution to the study of the OED itself ... The Ring of Words successfully reunites the academic and creative aspects of Tolkien, often seen at odds.' - Times Literary Supplement

'The Ring of Words is an excellent addition to the shelf of the best books about Tolkien, warmly recommended.' - Wayne G. Hammond, author of J.R.R. Tolkien: A Descriptive Bibliography and co-author of The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide.

The Ring of Words offers a previously unexplored angle on the creative work of one of the world's most famous and well-loved writers.

Written by senior editors of the Oxford English Dictionary and drawing on the resources of the OED's archives, The Ring of Words gives a unique insight into Tolkien's relationship with the English language, and presents archive material for the first time, including illustrations of Tolkien's own work for the Oxford English Dictionary.

Tolkien's earliest employment was as an assistant on the staff of the OED, and he later said that he had 'learned more in those two years than in any other equal part of [his] life'. Few novelists took so much of their inspiration from the shapes and histories of words. The authors of The Ring of Words, themselves senior editors of the OED, engage directly with the powerful and unique relationship between Tolkien's creative use of the English language and his professional work on the OED.

Two discursive sections explore Tolkien as a lexicographer and as a word user, reviver, creator; the centrepriece of the book is a collection of individual 'word studies', which explore the words found in Tolkien's fiction in terms of their origins, development, and significance in his fictional world. Words such as 'hobbit' amd 'dwarf', 'attercop' and 'mathom', 'precious' and 'Sméagol', 'Middle-earth' and 'waybread', are explored in fascinating detail.

The Ring of Words casts new light on Tolkien's creative world, and will fascinate not only readers and students of Tolkien, but also word-lovers interested in the history of the Oxford English Dictionary.


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