I am pleased to announce that my guest post on my personal journey reading Tolkien has been posted at Pages Unbound for their Tolkien Reading Event. Here is a taste.
Tolkien chose to live his life as a certain kind of man. He came from and re-entered the upper middle class. He held a chair at the most prestigious university in England for 34 years and published two landmark works in his field (his edition of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and his lecture Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics). He of course came to international fame with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
But he chose to live a “middle-class, conventional, well-regulated existence . . . because he believed it was the right way to live.” He learned respect for working class Brits “in the trenches” of France and maintained “a deep admiration for ordinary people—butchers, police officers, mail carriers, gardeners” throughout his life. For all his success as a writer of scholarship and fiction he was infamously dilatory in completing projects—perhaps because he attended Mass daily and wrote elaborate Christmas stories for his children. The views reflected in The Lord of the Rings—with its heroic, deeply admirable working class Sam and its esteem for nature and the simple life—were reflected in his personal life. (All quotes from The Fellowship by Philip and Carol Zaleski.)
Want to know what that means to me? You can find the full post here.