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Tolkien Through Russian Eyes

Mark T. Hooker

Cormarë Series No. 5.

Tolkien Through Russian Eyes examines the sociological impact of the translation and publication of J.R.R. Tolkien's works in post-Soviet Russia. After 70 years of obligatory State atheism, when the Soviet Union collapsed, Russian society began actively seeking new sets of spiritual values. The Christian-like doctrine of Tolkienism has attracted a substantial following. During the Soviet era, The Lord of the Rings was a banned book, which was translated independently by a number of underground translators. The result of this is that there are numerous contemporary published translations competing with each other for the reader's attention. There are 10 translations of The Lord of the Rings; 9 translations of The Hobbit and 6 translations of The Silmarillion. Each translator has a slightly different approach to the text. Each translation has a slightly different interpretation of Tolkien. Each translator has a different story to tell. Most of the existing translations are only Tolkienesque, they are not really Tolkienian. They have been adapted to the Russian mental climate. This book relates the history of the publication of Tolkien's works; examines the philosophical distortions introduced by the competing translations, attempts to explain their origins and how they will be perceived by the Russian reader. No knowledge of Russian is necessary.

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 About the Author

Mark T. Hooker is a visiting scholar at Indiana University's Russian and East European Institute (REEI). Retired, he conducts research for publication. His articles on Tolkien have been published in English in Beyond Bree and Tolkien Studies, in Dutch in Lembas (the journal of the Dutch Tolkien Society) and in Russian in Palantir (the journal of the St. Petersburg Tolkien Society. He is the author of The Military Uses of Literature (Praeger, 1966), Implied, but not Stated: Condensation in Colloquial Russian (distributed by Slavica, 1999) and The History of Holland (Greenwood, 1999). He recently presented a paper on the Harry Potter vs Tanya Grotter controversy at the first international Harry Potter Conference, Nimbus-2003. He is a graduate of the Russian Advanced Course at DLIWC.

9 1/4 X 6 1/8 inches, 324 pages, Index, Walking Tree Publishers, 2003, Cormarë Series No 5, ISBN 3-9521424-7-6

Published simultaneously in Russian as Tolkin russkimi glazami: 8 1/8 X 5 3/4 inches, 304 pages, Index, Moscow: TTT, Saint Petersburg: TO, 2003, Tolkienistica Rossica Magna Series, ISBN 5-9900226-1-1.

Tolkien Through Russian Eyes is available from the following traders: (see this page)

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