“If one is to take a tale of this kind seriously, one must feel that, however superficially unlike the world we live in its characters and events may be, it nevertheless holds up the mirror to the only nature we know, our own,” he wrote. “In this, too, Mr. Tolkien has succeeded superbly, and what happened in the year of the Shire 1418 in the Third Age of Middle-earth is not only fascinating in A.D. 1954 but also a warning and an inspiration.” Of Tolkien’s many strengths, perhaps none have proved more important than his creation of a deeply believable universe around his narrative. He convinces the reader that the action is unfolding within a living world that stretches far beyond the immediate drama. [More]