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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:

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It’s been worth the wait. Although we’ve have had a teaser trailer for some months now, today Warner Bros. finally revealed to fans their vision of the Middle-earth duo-trilogy (hexalogy)? Their vision is one of epic proportions blasting through any cuteness and trivialities to present a grim, dangerous, emotionally-complex and eye-watering spectacular Middle-earth. (more…)

For several years I’ve been keeping a bibliography of appearances by or references to the Inklings as characters in fiction. I’ve tried to keep it complete, so it’s a surprise to find an old one that I’ve missed.

A review copy of Raymond Edwards’ new biography, Tolkien (Robert Hale, 2014), revealed one. It’s in Tomorrow’s Ghost, a 1979 novel by the thriller writer Anthony Price.

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John Garth’s revelation that “The Notion Club Papers” contains a secret message from J.R.R. Tolkien (so I see it) is an interesting find. I could not help but be a failed Thief of Baghdad by leaving the path to the True Treasure to turn aside and reach for glistening little gems. In other words, once I read the Tolkien Society article and John’s blog about the connections Tolkien drew to the “Earendel” poem I could not help myself. I had to start thinking about related and distracting things.

Somewhere in-between the fact that Tolkien mentions Gollum eating a baby Orc in one draft of The Hobbit and the fact that Arundel is a village name of debatable etymology (one fabulous story suggests its name may originate from that of a horse) I have managed to stumble toward an oft-cited quote from The Lord of the Rings: “He that breaks a thing to learn what it is has left the path of wisdom”.
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When I wrote in a previous post that John Carey had reported that “green mildew grew on [Tolkien’s academic] gown,” but I queried whether this was really likely, Chaz Brenchley referred me to Tolkien’s Gown & Other Stories of Great Authors and Rare Books by Rick Gekoski (Constable, 2004) for the definitive word on this vital topic.

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The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books by John Carey (Faber)

I knew I had to get hold of this book after reading John Garth’s review. It is as Garth says, a readable and often funny book that, while it claims to be “a history of English literature and me, how we met, how we got on” (xi), it’s actually a personal memoir about a usual run of subjects. It’s just got a lot of book talk injected in it.

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