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November 22, 2013

BBC - In Their Own Words: British Novelists, J.R.R. Tolkien (1968)

High fantasy for young adults: "At Oxford in the nineteen-forties, Professor John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was generally considered the most boring lecturer around, teaching the most boring subject known to man, Anglo-Saxon philology and literature, in the most boring way imaginable."

It’s true that his fantasies are uniquely “thought through”: every creature has its own origin story, script, or grammar; nothing is gratuitous. But even more compelling was his arranged marriage between the Elder Edda and “The Wind in the Willows”—big Icelandic romance and small-scale, cozy English children’s book. The story told by “The Lord of the Rings” is essentially what would happen if Mole and Ratty got drafted into the Nibelungenlied. (J. K. Rowling intuitively followed this part of the formula by mixing a very old-fashioned kind of English public-school story in with Tolkien’s sword-and-sorcery realm.)

Posted by Ghost of a flea at November 22, 2013 08:48 AM