Announcing "The Proverbs of Middle-earth" by David Rowe

An Arabic proverb says, “Before you shoot the arrow of truth, dip it in honey.” This book is both a quiver-full of well-pointed arrows, and a large jar of honey. It is a romp, as well as a thorough and deeply penetrating exploration of its subject.  [From the Foreword by Peter Kreeft]

     JRR Tolkien's masterpieces, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, are unique in English Literature, as they are filled with hundreds of original proverbs.  'Not all those who wander are lost', 'Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens', and 'Never laugh at live dragons' are all poetic, wise, and convincingly real-sounding, but they are also a lens, through which more can be seen.

     Tolkien did not merely fill his books with hundreds of original sayings – however great and unprecedented an achievement that is – he also invented entire wisdom traditions in which they belong. Each proverb reflects the culture, the philosophical worldview, and the history of those who use them. 

     In The Proverbs of Middle-earth, David Rowe discovers and investigates the degree to which the 'soul' of each of Tolkien's fictional civilizations can be understood through the lens of their proverbs.  What is revealed enriches the reader's experience of and delight in Tolkien's world, as well as illuminating the astounding depth and detail of creativity in his work. Arrows dipped in honey abound!

The Proverbs of Middle-earth will be available from Oloris on November 30th, 2016! 

David Rowe started reading The Lord Of The Rings aged seven, and hasn't stopped yet. Born in Sheffield, England, he has lived in four continents, now making his home in Charleston, SC, where he works for an Anglican church and teaches people how to make tea properly.

“In investigating Tolkien’s proverbs, I feel like Alice, falling down the rabbit-hole, or Mary Poppins, reaching into her carpet bag: the deeper I go, the more there has been to discover.  It has been said that Middle-earth is so deeply satisfying because “you can ask a question about it, and you’ll get an answer; and if you ask a question about the question, or a question about the answer, then you’ll get more answers.”  This is exactly what I have been doing over the past seven years, and along the way I have marvelled at the sheer magnitude of thoughtful detail Tolkien put into his peoples and their cultures; how much effort he put into facets of his work that few ever notice. I invite you to come and discover them too!” ~ David Rowe