Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Best Tolkien Interview, Ever

So, sometimes I belatedly discover great things out there on the web.

In this case, it's thanks to Marjorie Burns passing along to me something she'd learned from John Garth, that Tolkien's 1965 radio interview with Denis Gueroult is available online.* Not only that, but this recording is much fuller than the one I currently have, the one issued on an old cassette by AudioForum back in the 80s or early 90s. That one was about thirty minutes in length;** this new one is thirty-nine, so about a quarter of it is new material.

I think this is by far the best interview Tolkien ever gave. It's one of only two that extends to a good length (the other being the Henry Resnik interview, as printed in NIEKAS) and the only one in which the interviewer had both done his homework and clearly carefully prepared for the interview. Just as importantly, Gueroult was not been content with extracting from Tolkien a few disconnected soundbite but asked follow-up questions and pressed Tolkien to expand upon his answers. Would that we had a half-dozen interviews like this. Instead we have only one, but what a treasure it is. It's rare that I write any article on Tolkien in which I do not quote from this interview at some point.

Here's the link:

--John R.
current reading: ibid.

*and apparently has been since April. I will say, in my defense, that this has been a really busy year.

**with an interview with Basil Bunting on the back

UPDATE: I've substituted the correct link, for Tolkien, in place of the one on Lord David Cecil (which belongs to a pending post instead). Thanks to Magister for the corrective.  --JDR

1 comment:

Magister said...

This link is to an interview with Lord David Cecil.

I found the Tolkien interview at