This article is about the real world.

The Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien: The Places That Inspired Middle-earth is an analysis of the real-world locations which inspired J.R.R. Tolkien in the creation of his legendarium. It was written by Tolkien biographer John Garth and published in 2020 by Princeton University Press.

While Garth's earlier book Tolkien and the Great War (2012) was intended more to "look at Tolkien and history", the focus of The Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien is chiefly geographical.[1]

"Garth identifies the locales that served as the basis for Hobbiton, the elven valley of Rivendell, the Glittering Caves of Helm’s Deep, and many other settings in Middle-earth, from mountains and forests to rivers, lakes, and shorelands. He reveals the rich interplay between Tolkien’s personal travels, his wide reading, and his deep scholarship as an Oxford don. Garth draws on his profound knowledge of Tolkien’s life and work to shed light on the extraordinary processes of invention behind Tolkien’s works of fantasy. He also debunks popular misconceptions about the inspirations for Middle-earth and puts forward strong new claims of his own."
from the publisher


Foreign Language Translated name
Danish Tolkiens verdener: Inspirationen til Midgård


  1. Interview with Laura Schmidt of the Marion E. Wade Center

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