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Cabinet containing items relating to Roos and Beren and Luthien

A small Tolkien Exhibition has opened in the Hull History Centre and runs until 31 October 2018.  Phil Mathison, the author of Tolkien in East Yorkshire, has been trying to organise something on these lines for the last five years.  The current exhibition marks the centenary of Tolkien’s departure from the area after spending nearly 18 months here during 1917-1918.  he had returned from the Battle of the Somme after contacting Trench Fever in October 1916.

There are two colourful maps of Middle-earth on the walls in the centre, over a Beren and Lúthien cabinet.  This includes an illustrated Silmarillion, 3 photos of Roos, a large print Beren and Lúhien, and the 2018 calendar.

2 maps of Middle-earth surrounded by images relating to Thirtle Bridge Army Camp

One side cabinet focuses on Hornsea and Withernsea, and includes photos of: Margaret Strickland-Constable, 1 Bank Terrace (where Edith stayed), a detail from an OS map, and Hornsea Musketry Camp.  Withernsea is represented by Edith’s lodgings at 76 Queen Street, The cabinet is sprinkled with copies of Amon Hen, The Hobbit, and The Return of the King.

The second side cabinet concentrates on sites in Hull associated with Tolkien.  Here, there are photos of Brooklands Officers’ Hospital and the former Endsleigh College. A photo of Mother Mary Michael who visited Tolkien at Brooklands is included, as is a copy of one of his medical reports.  Extra colour is provided by copies of Amon Hen, Mallorn, The Fellowship of the Ring, and a recent hardback Hobbit.

Items relating to Hornsea and Withernsea

The central notice states that Tolkien left the area on 11 October 1918, but Wayne Hammond has proved in a recent email to me that Tolkien actually left for Blackpool Convalescence Hospital on 11 September of that year.

 

 

 

 

Cover art for The Fall of Gondolin, due out August 2018

J.R.R. Tolkien is such a prolific author that, 45 years after his death, he is still providing us with publications that sell in their tens of thousands. With so many coming out in recent years – and the latest, The Fall of Gondolin, arriving in a couple of weeks – it is important to understand their significance to Tolkien’s legacy and not dismiss them as an attempt to make a quick buck. (more…)

Keen-eyed Tolkien fans have discovered that some bookseller sites are advertising the release of a new Tolkien book later this year.

Two days ago the book was simply listed as Untitled, so there was some speculation amongst fans as to what the subject matter was, and if indeed it was a genuine new title.

Just as with Beren and Lúthien which was published on 1 June 2017, The Fall of Gondolin, is reported to be written by J.R.R. Tolkien, and edited by Christopher Tolkien.

The news has taken many people by surprise, because in the introduction of Beren and Lúthien, Christopher Tolkien gave a strong hint that that was likely to be his final contribution.

According to Amazon the book is reported (which they still list as Untitled) to be 304 pages in length, and is due to be published on 23 August 2018.  The book is advertised to be published both as a hardback and as a deluxe slipcased version.  Amazon also mentions the simultaneous publication of a large-type version.  However, Book Depository, which does include the name of the book, has 1 August as publication day.

There is bound to be speculation as to just what the book will contain.  The very detailed but uncompleted text published in Unfinished Tales (1980) as ‘Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin’ is a strong possibility followed by the more terse version ‘Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin’ as published  in The Silmarillion (1977).  However, there is always the possibility that associated texts and fragments may also be included.

At the time of writing there has been no official press release from either Tolkien’s official publisher, HarperCollins, or The Tolkien Estate.  Of course the Tolkien Society will provide more details as soon as they become known.

  • ISBN-10: 0008302766
  • ISBN-13: 978-0008302764

Of all the negative reviews that The Lord of the Rings ever received, the most infamous is “Oo, Those Awful Orcs,” by the renowned American critic Edmund Wilson. It was published in the journal The Nation in 1956, and reappeared in Wilson’s collection The Bit Between My Teeth (1965) and various other sources, earning a place in the otherwise laudatory Tolkien Scrapbook edited by Alida Becker (1978).

From misspelling a principal character’s name as “Gandalph” to such declarations as “The hero has no serious temptations; is lured by no insidious enchantments, perplexed by few problems,” or “We never feel Sauron’s power,” Wilson’s review is so staggeringly imperceptive that some have found it hard to believe that Wilson read the book at all, let alone, as he states, aloud in its entirety to his 7-year-old daughter just before writing the review. I’d cut Wilson a little more slack than that.

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I suppose I should say something about the recent spate of news articles to the effect that Amazon has contracted to make a tv series based on The Lord of the Rings.

I’m not really your go-to expert on matters like this. I got into Tolkien studies to study Tolkien and his works, not media spinoffs. Willy-nilly they have intruded themselves on my attention, and I’ve been warned that I count as an expert on the Jackson movies even though I really don’t want to be one.

But I can say that the news reports have conveyed that this will not be a remake of The Lord of the Rings itself, but fan fiction prequels.

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J.R.R. Tolkien in 1916

A pale, drawn man sits in a convalescent bed of a wartime hospital. He takes up a school exercise book and writes on its cover, with calligraphic flourish: ‘Tuor and the Exiles of Gondolin’. Then he pauses, lets out a long sigh between the teeth clenched around his pipe, and mutters, ‘No, that won’t do anymore.’ He crosses out the title and writes (without the flourish): ‘A Subaltern on the Somme’.

This is not what happened, of course. Tolkien produced a mythology, not a trench memoir. […] Tolkien’s writing reflects the impact of the war; furthermore, […] his maverick voice expresses aspects of the war experience neglected by his contemporaries. […] they represent widely divergent responses to the same traumatic epoch. (Garth: 287)

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