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Magnificent Houses in Twentieth Century European Literature


Hugo G. Walter

Magnificent Houses in Twentieth Century European Literature is a collection of great and imaginative essays that explore the theme of magnificent and aesthetically interesting houses in twentieth century European literature. It focuses especially on important works by Thomas Mann, Evelyn Waugh, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Siegfried Lenz, while also discussing other significant houses in modern European literature.


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Chapter 3 J. R. R. Tolkien 179


C h a p t e r 3 J. R. R. Tolkien There are various aesthetically interesting and lovely houses in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, comprised of The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. In the Prologue to The Fellowship of the Ring, the first part of the trilogy, Tolkien writes that the craft of building among the Hobbits, as other crafts, probably was learned from the Dúnedain. Yet, there is also the suggestion that this creative capacity was learned directly from the Elves. For at the time that the Hobbits began to expand their building of homes beyond burrows and holes in the ground the Elves of the High Kindred were still in Middle-earth, living at the Grey Havens and in other locations accessible from the Shire. It was even possible at that time to see three Elf-towers beyond the western marches. With respect to the architectural inclinations of the Hobbits, they typically preferred houses which were solid, com- fortable, on or close to the ground, and long or extended. There existed a distinct preference for round windows and round doors in the architecture of the Hobbits as it developed. The dwellings of the Hobbits of the Shire were often large, as sizeable families generally lived together in one extended house. For example, Brandy Hall, the ancestral mansion of the Brandybucks, contained numerous tunnels where many family members lived in relative harmony. The house of Bilbo...

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