I have just finished reading Deep Roots in a Time of Frost by Patrick Curry
This book is a collection of Curry’s published essays, and inevitably for the dedicated student of Tolkien this may easily result in having duplicate copies of some essays; indeed, for me it has resulted in having two copies of a footnote acknowledgement of my minute contribution to one of the essays! However, it’s a great benefit to have all these essays in one handy volume, and I’m glad to have it for my Tolkien bookshelves.
I won’t go through each essay in turn, since – as Curry says himself in the introduction – there is some understandable repetition from one to another.
Curry’s themes speak positively to me both in terms of his insights into Tolkien, and in terms of his related passions for Enchantment (Faerie), ecology (‘less noise and more green’), and his suspicion of ‘hyper-modernity,’ which aligns with Tolkien’s own (and with mine.)
He writes particularly well, and often amusingly, on the topic of the ‘critical response’ to Tolkien – meaning the ‘extraordinary critical hostility’ of ‘so many professional literary intellectuals’ that is still operative after – indeed probably because of – the even more extraordinary success and popularity of Tolkien’s writings. He argues for further reception studies of Tolkien’s writings, since there is still much to be investigated in the gap between his popular success and this critical disdain.
If you do not yet know Curry’s work, do look at this book, and also at his ‘Defending Middle-Earth’ (1998) – he has a lot to say that’s relevant not only to Tolkien, but also to the conditions of 21st Century life; especially those that affect us negatively.