Wow what a book. Haven't had time to read it yet, but I already know a number of these pieces from having heard Verlyn present them at conferences and workshops over the years (some of them dating back to when we first met, over twenty-eight years ago now!) For some reason, the amazon.com entry seems to lack a Table of Contents, so here's what all's in this book [N.B.: the essay numbering is not in the original, being added by me here to help differentiate between the sometimes-lengthy essay titles*]:
PART ONE: TOLKIEN SUB-CREATOR
1. Fantasy and Reality: JRRT's World and the Fairy-story Essay
2. The Music and the Task: Fate and Free Will in Middle-earth
3. Tolkien and the Idea of the Book
4. Tolkien on Tolkien: OFS, THE HOBBIT, and LotR
5. When Is a Fairy Story a Faerie Story?: SWM
6. The Footsteps of AElfwine
7. The Curious Incident of the Dream at the Barrow: Memory and Reincarnation in Middle-earth
8. Whose Myth Is It?
PART TWO: TOLKIEN IN TRADITION
9. Tolkien's Wild Men from Medieval to Modern
10. Tolkien and the Matter of Britain
11. Frodo and Aragorn: The Concept of the Hero
12. Bilbo's Neck Riddle
13. Allegory Versus Bounce: Tolkien's SWM [Flieger vs. Shippey]
14. A Mythology for Finland: Tolkien and Lonnrot as Mythmakers
15. Tolkien, KALEVALA, and 'The Story of Kullervo'
16. Brittany and Wales in Middle-earth
17. The Green Knight, the Green Man, and Treebeard: Scholarship and Invention in Tolkien's Fiction
18. Missing Person
PART THREE: TOLKIEN AND HIS CENTURY
19. A Cautionary Tale: Tolkien's Mythology for England
20. The Mind, the Tongue, and the Tale
21. A Post-modern Medievalist
22.Taking the Part of Trees: Eco-conflict in Middle-earth
23. Gilson, Smith, and Baggins
24. The Body in Question: The Unhealed Wounds of Frodo Baggins
25. A Distant Mirror: Tolkien and Jackson in the Looking-glass
I also found it interesting that when I read the blurbs on the back cover, for once I didn't think they exaggerated at all. Here are a few representative snippets:
"No one knows Tolkien's oeuvre better than Flieger,
or presents it more accessibly"
"It is not often that a new book makes me want
to stand up and shout 'Hallelujah!'"
--Diana Pavlac Glyer
"essential reading, not just for scholars but for all readers
who want to understand Middle-earth and its development"
"a book of insights and delights"
and finally my personal favorite, the one that says it all:
"these essays track a major scholar's deepening understanding
of the work of the master of fantasy"
--I know that, for my part, I'm going to be savoring these, one at a time, for weeks to come.
*many of these's topics are self-evident from their titles, although this is not the case with some ("Whose Myth Is It?" being about the Athrabeth while "Missing Person" suggests no Christ is coming to Middle-earth).