The Song of Middle-Earth by David Harvey

The Song Of Middle Earth: J. R. R. Tolkien's Themes, Symbols And Myths - David      Harvey

In The Song of Middle-earth, David Harvey explores the significance that myth and legends played in the fiction works of J.R.R. Tolkien.  This book examines the world of The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings to reveal the complex weaving of history and mythology that forms a basis for Tolkien's stories.  The common themes and symbols of world mythology are compared to the themes and symbols in Tolkien's work.

This is a reprint of the rather short book first published in 1985, before the publication of the History of Middle-Earth Series (and subsequent other scholarship), making the thesis of this book less complete and detailed than it could have been.  However, it still makes for a nice, interesting, and in some cases an overly philosophical,  addition to all the other literature that attempts to dissect Tolkien's creations in one way or another.

Illustration by John Howe (I adore this guy's paintings!)