Category Archives: Tolkien in the First World War

Tolkien at Exeter College: Birth of a legend

In which I blow my own trumpet… When you picture J.R.R. Tolkien, it’s probably as a member of Oxford’s Inklings, writing The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings in the 1930s and ’40s, or in old age when fame … Continue reading

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Tanks at Gondolin

Here’s an excerpt from my book Tolkien and the Great War to mark the centenary of Tolkien’s discharge on 9 December 1916 from military hospital, where he had begun writing his first ‘lost tale’ of Middle-earth, ‘The Fall of Gondolin’. … Continue reading

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Beren and Lúthien, a centenary publication

In a wood filled with a cloud of white flowers, a soldier walked in the spring of 1917 with his wife, and she sang and danced for him. To that battle-worn lieutenant, J R R Tolkien, Edith’s dance was an unforgettable glimpse of … Continue reading

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Robert Quilter Gilson, TCBS – a documentary

When Tolkien writes in the Foreword to The Lord of the Rings that ‘by 1918 all but one of my close friends were dead’, he is referring to his friends in a clique formed at school but later bonded by … Continue reading

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Tolkien’s ‘immortal four’ meet for the last time

Best Article, Tolkien Society Awards 2016 Also available in Spanish and Portuguese. One hundred years ago today, four young men convened in an English town, not having seen each other for some time. What makes this trivial event significant is … Continue reading

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Tolkien at fifteen, a warrior-to-be

A newly discovered photograph reveals J.R.R. Tolkien at fifteen in his school’s new cadet corps—launched in 1907 as nations geared up for war. Tolkien is one of some 120 unnamed figures in the picture, unearthed by the history department at … Continue reading

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Tolkien, the Somme and scholarship

Did Tolkien share the view that First World War soldiers were “lions led by donkeys”? It’s a large question to which I would suggest the short answer is, “Sometimes.” But some pertinent new evidence has been revealed by Dr Stuart … Continue reading

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