Peter Jackson’s three-part film of The Lord of the Rings (LOTR) may or may not please votaries of J. R. R. Tolkien’s prose epic, but it is a godsend to anyone like me. I love the book’s “northness,” its landscape of towering forests and monster-housing caves, and the creatures that inhabit that landscape; my problem is with the prose that conveys this world. Though Tolkien could write well—witness the charming prose of The Hobbit and the incisiveness...
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