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or, what Tolkien was doing when you weren’t paying attention.

I’ve been keeping an annotated bibliography of the Inklings in fiction, that is, their appearances as characters in stories by other writers. Many of these novels and stories I’ve read. For some of those I had not, the descriptions were sketchy and uninformed. I decided to correct this and read three of those I could easily get. I put succinct summaries in my annotations, but now I’m going to describe them in more detail here. I read these so you don’t have to, though one I’d recommend anyway. Call that one the good; the others are the bad and the ugly. Let’s start with those and end with the palate-cleanser.

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(April &) May 2016

As I explained a month ago, I managed to overwrite the work I had been doing on my April transactions, leaving me with just a few scraps. These, then, form the basis for this month’s work, along with a few other bits and pieces from April, and, of course, what I have come across during May.

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So last fall I wrote about TV host Stephen Colbert, his Tolkien trivia mastery, and the pitfalls thereof. Though I came to critique, Colbert’s show persona is clear: nobody bests him at Tolkien trivia.

Well, I’ve now seen somebody stumping Colbert, but they may have had to cheat to do it. It was actor Ryan Gosling with a question from his mom designed for the purpose. It went like this:
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Today, 18th May, is recognised worldwide as Internation Museum Day which aims to promote museums and educate the public about the challenges museums face. But one of the questions I am most frequently asked is “Why isn’t there a museum to J.R.R. Tolkien?(more…)

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.

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

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