Re: Book first or Films first? Never read LOTR... NO SPOILERS PLEASE!!!!
Oh, yes, and there are dozens, if not hundreds, such, in Shakespeare's work (and yes, Marlowe's, and Webster's, and...). Shakespeare could also tackle such a variety of subjects with that same eloquence and passion, from Hamlet's famed soliloquy to Prospero's beautiful summing up ("Our revels now are ended...") which applies to each and every one of us as well ("We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep"); or the ghost's warning ("I could a tale unfold whose lightest word would harrow up thy soul..."); or countless others.
And, to bring the thread back to JRRT: He, too, often summed up in beautiful language some of the deepest of human dreams, aspirations, passions, and experiences; there are passages in LotR which are almost heartbreaking in their clear insight and eloquence; including some which are very quiet moments, such as when Gimli first really looks into Galadriel's eyes at the first meeting in Lorien; or the poignant moment at which we see Smeagol almost come back... where the reader, too, can genuinely feel pity for this lost, twisted thing because, for just that moment, we see just what has been lost, and that moment pierces like a blade.
While his approach is definitely that of "old-fashioned, leisurely prose", I don't think much in Tolkien has dated because of that. If anything, as that has been the mainstream of English literature for many centuries, he dates much less than many of our contemporaries, who are too wrapped up in both the idioms and philosophies of our day, so that within a very short period, those who were so strikingly "new", fresh, original, and "relevant", will find themselves as inaccessible to readers of another era as does poor Bulwer today....