Tag Archives: Tolkien research

Making an ass of yourself, with Geoffrey Bache Smith

I’ve just returned from the first-ever conference focusing on Geoffrey Bache Smith, his poetry, and his influence on his great friend, Tolkien. In a previous post, I spotlighted an under-appreciated aspect of Smith: his sense of humour. In this new … Continue reading

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The Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien: The Places that Inspired Middle-earth

‘Magnificent. The commentary is great, really thoroughly researched; the pictures are stunning’ — Tom Shippey, author of The Road to Middle-earth and J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century From world-renowned Tolkien expert John Garth comes the authoritative exploration of the … Continue reading

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Tolkien’s last friend in Oxford when the world went to war

‘Not a single man I know is up except Cullis,’ Tolkien lamented at the start of his final year as an Oxford student. It was 1914, war had just broken out, and their friends had left in droves to enlist … Continue reading

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Teaching Tolkien in Las Vegas

Vegas brought out my worst vices. Handed carte blanche to indulge recklessly and obscenely for twelve months, I borrowed books from the university library in such numbers that when it came to returning them, I had to use a suitcase. I even … Continue reading

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Tolkien’s death of Smaug: American inspiration revealed

My latest article for the Guardian: As well as its familiar roots in Icelandic mythology, this Middle-earth story also has some surprising transatlantic sources The dragon soars overhead, its underside armoured with gems from its hoard. The bowman has one … Continue reading

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Middle-earth turns 100

It is 100 years since Middle-earth began. The earliest glimpse of any character or situation from his mythology was in a poem, ‘The Voyage of Éarendel the Evening Star’, which J.R.R. Tolkien dated 24 September 1914. He wrote it at … Continue reading

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Secrets of The Hydra: how Tolkien research uncovered lost Wilfred Owen magazines

Historic missing issues of a magazine edited by First World War poet Wilfred Owen have been found and donated to archives in Oxford, in a move hailed as ‘a stunning discovery’. When copies also went to an Edinburgh university, it … Continue reading

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