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Tolkien’s Tinúviel: A Postscript

All Nightingale photos (c) 2016 Michael FlowersNgalesingingcrop

When writing my recent piece on Nightingales in Tolkien’s writings, I compiled a list of places in Arda which were, or could have been, associated with the species.  This was originally intended as another appendix to the essay, however, as the tone was so different, I decided against including it with the main essay.  Despite this, I am including this now as a more light-hearted piece, which I trust will be taken in that spirit, and possibly a point of discussion.


Tolkien’s Tinúviel: The Nightingale in Tolkien’s Writings

A Nightingale at rest in Lincolnshire

A Nightingale at rest in Lincolnshire (c) 2009 Michael Flowers

In late-April Nightingales are still returning to southern Britain, so this seems an appropriate time to recall Tolkien’s treatment of this exquisite songster.  Tolkien refers to nightingales (mainly in passing) in a surprisingly high number of his works, but I’m not going to refer to them all here.  Instead, I list all the titles of his books in which I’ve been able to locate an allusion to this species in the almost obligatory appendix. (I tried to time this blog post to coincide with the arrival of this species in the UK, so apologies for any rushed elements).


1934 Sketch of Tolkien Discovered


Professor J.R.R. Tolkien by Fred A. Farrell

In The Advocate of 9 August 1934 a head and shoulder portrait of an academic (right) was published with the accompanying text: “Professor John Tolkien has been Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon in Oxford University since 1925.  He served with the Lancashire Fusiliers from 1915-18.  Born of a South African family in 1892, he was educated at the King Edward VI. School, Birmingham, and Exeter College, Oxford.  He was Professor of English Language in Leeds University in 1924-5.”  This sketch does not appear to have been published for over seventy years until it resurfaced earlier this week.  The use of John rather than Ronald suggests that Tolkien was probably not actually consulted about the text.

‘New’ drawings of Tolkien are not unearthed every day, especially from the period before the publication of The Hobbit in 1937, so this image of the author dating from 1934 is particularly interesting.  What was Tolkien doing in 1934?  He had probably fairly recently completed the first version of The Hobbit.  He was a busy academic, lecturing and teaching on a daily basis, and was also working on several academic publishing projects.  The poems ‘The Adventures of Tom Bombadil’ and ‘Looney’ had also been published for the first time earlier that year.  It is interesting that although he had not published any fiction at this point, he was considered of sufficient international significance as a Catholic to be featured in an antipodean religious publication.


A Dark and a White Tower at a Time of War

Map shwing the route (top left) from Thirtle Bridge to Edith's lodgings in Withernsea - to the right of the lighthouse

Map showing the route (top left) from Thirtle Bridge to Edith’s lodgings in Withernsea – to the bottom right of the lighthouse

I am aware that my latest blog post may be a little controversial, but before anyone rushes to condemn it out-of-hand, please either obtain an OS Explorer map of East Yorkshire (292), or use the StreetMap I’ve included on this blog.  From this you should be able to see that what is now the B1242 heads from Thirtle Bridge in the top left hand corner of the map south-east down towards Withernsea.  Edith’s lodgings are in the bottom right-hand corner of the map.  The proximity of the massive white structure of Withernsea Lighthouse to Edith’s lodgings is evident on the map.


Battle of the Five Armies – Opening Press Reviews


What follows is a selection of excerpts from some of the major press reviews on the opening day of the final Hobbit film.


Tolkien on BBC Look North News

Barbed wire at Easington in 2013.  Similar to how it must have looked when Tolkien was stationed there during WW1

Barbed wire at Easington in 2013. Similar to how it must have looked when Tolkien was stationed there during WW1

Yesterday to mark Armistice Day the BBC Look North (East Yorkshire & North Lincolnshire) regional news programme included a short feature on J.R.R. Tolkien’s convalescence in East Yorkshire during World War One.  I wrote a piece for this blog back on 11th of August, so this acts as a sort of sequel to the more detailed information on there.  As the programme is only available on BBC iPlayer for 24 hours, and not available outside the UK at all, what follows is a transcript of that one-and-a-half minutes of TV time:


Michael’s Miscellany Links for Amon Hen 249

Amon Hen 249 contains my first compilation of recent articles and media references to Tolkien and his world.  Apparently, some readers would like to be directed to the full online articles, so what follows are links to those mentioned in the current issue.

To view the full Miscellany, join the Society today!


In Tolkien’s Genuine Footsteps

The Eagle and Child, Oxford. (c) 2013 Lyn Wilshire. A popular meeting place of the Inklings.

The Eagle and Child, Oxford. (c) 2013 Lyn Wilshire. A popular meeting place of the Inklings.

Tourism is an important source of income for any city, region, or country. It was estimated that in 2013 tourism was “worth £106bn to England’s economy”(1). It should therefore come as no surprise that there is such a thing as a Tolkien tourist industry. For several decades Tolkien’s readers have been making private pilgrimages to Oxford; posing for photographs outside one of his residences; visiting the various colleges at which he studied, or where he later became a tutor and lecturer; paying their respects at his graveside, or even dropping in to ‘The Eagle and Child,’ one of his favourite pubs, for a drink. The tourist industry is now galvanising its resources and offering dedicated Tolkien Tours. In April this year Birmingham produced a new Tolkien Trail leaflet, which recommends visits to Sarehole Mill, Moseley Bog, the houses where Tolkien once lived, and the places he worshipped. This is an invaluable resource for those wishing to visit all the genuine sites associated with Tolkien in the area in which he grew up. However, a more pernicious aspect of tourism is also beginning to rear its head; locations which have only a tangential Tolkien connection, or in extreme cases with absolutely no link to the author are attempting to jump on the tourist bandwagon.


A Hemlock by any other name…

The leaves were long, the grass was green,
The hemlock-umbels tall and fair,
And in the glade a light was seen
Of stars in shadow shimmering.

[The Fellowship of the Ring, ‘A Knife in the Dark’, p. 191]


About the Author: Michael Flowers
I am a self-employed wildlife guide. I take people to beautiful places to learn about their local nature.

I've been reading Tolkien from the age of 9, and have recently become interested in Tolkien's time in East Yorkshire during WW1. I completed a Masters degree from the University of Sheffield in the Victorian Ghost Stories of Ellen [Mrs Henry] Wood.