17834Re: [mythsoc] Re: new member introducing herself
- Mar 15, 2007At 09:35 PM 3/15/2007 -0400, Wayne G. Hammond wrote:
>Daniel Grotta later expanded his surname to Grotta-Kurska, under whichOther way around: the first edition was signed Grotta-Kurska, the latter
>later editions of his book have been published.
It wasn't him, under either name, who came up with the Mabel-in-Zanzibar
story: that comes, if I recall, from William Ready (an outstandingly bad
book), and has been picked up by various other would-be Tolkien biographers
Grotta does, as John Rateliff notes, have a few useful tidbits here and
there, which makes his book of some modest value to the advanced student.
But overall it's one of maybe a dozen extraordinarily dubious books that
call themselves Tolkien biographies, which are best avoided. These books
either rehash Humphrey Carpenter's biography, in which case Carpenter does
it better, or invent new material which is simply wrong. Thus, where they
are true, they are not original; and where they are original, they are not
The list of WORTHWHILE books on Tolkien's life is very small and consists of:
1. Humphrey Carpenter, Tolkien: A Biography (and, supplementarily, his The
2. John Garth, Tolkien and the Great War
3. Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond, J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide
4. John and Priscilla Tolkien, The Tolkien Family Album
That's the good stuff; that's it. A few of the better critical books also
have reliable biographical material, but that's secondary to their function.
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