Tag Archives: First World War

Win over £1,000/$1,000 worth of Tolkien books and help Oxford University preserve First World War history

I’ve donated five signed copies of Tolkien and the Great War to help raise money for this appeal. There are some substantially more valuable prizes too. It is only thanks to the personal letters and photographs preserved by various Great … Continue reading

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Gardening the corner of a foreign field

As the Commonwealth War Graves Commission marks its centenary, I recall a 2014 visit to Flanders and northern France when I spoke to the gardeners who keep the cemeteries pristine. With its postcards of poppies and memorials, its hotels and … Continue reading

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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

Note, 2 June 2017: Since writing this, Tolkien’s Beren and Lúthien has been published, so the speculations below regarding its content are out of date. My New Statesman review of the book as published can be read here.    In … 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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A turbulent darkness: Tolkien’s first story

Here’s a short review of Tolkien’s The Story of Kullervo that I wrote for the Mail On Sunday when the book came out in September 2015. I reproduce it here, with permission, as the book becomes available in the USA, … 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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A friend of Tolkien’s TCBS tells a neglected truth of war

The official death figures for the First World War, though incomprehensibly vast in themselves, fall well short of the full tally of fatalities, and give the barest indication of the suffering of soldiers and their loved ones. Today that is … Continue reading

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Why World War One Is at the heart of Lord of the Rings

It’s sixty years since the publication of J.R.R. Tolkien’s first volume of The Lord of The Rings. Why was he so inspired by the Great War—and a group of schoolfriends? War runs like iron ore through the bones of Tolkien’s … Continue reading

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