Monday, October 1, 2018

I'm at Marquette

So, first it rains, then it pours, as they don't say in Bree.

Or in this case, having gotten to see the Tolkien Exhibit in the Bodley on a quick trip to Oxford, today I started a one-month stint with the manuscripts in the Marquette Archive. Today was the first day and it feels like I'm off to a good start, trying to sort out the manuscript sequence that records Tolkien's resumption of work on LotR after his break by Balin's tomb.

I brought with me three book: UNCLE CURRO: JRRT'S SPANISH CONNECTiON, which I'm now reading; the new edition of THE FALL OF GONDOLIN, which I've been looking for the chance to dig down into; and Raymond Edward's underrated TOLKIEN biography, which I skimmed a year or two ago and wanted to read and absorb. Plus a plethora of other titles on the Kindle, where I'm currently reading about recent excavations at Stonehenge and the vicinity. And now two books by Bernard Shaw checked out of Marquette's Memorial Library, one of which is to look for a quote I remember from reading the play SAINT JOAN back in graduate school and the other a collection of short stories (who knew that Shaw wrote short stories?). I've never read one of Shaw's famous Prefaces before, so that shd be interesting.

And after an evening being interviewed about old TSR days I got to wrap up the evening watching a Bodleian podcast (or 'bodcast'): a forty-two minute presentation by Tom Shippey on Tolkien as Morris-ian and philologist*, which I v. much enjoyed. Shippey was in fine form, full of interesting information presented through strong opinions. Highly recommended.

I even learned more about two new forthcoming Tolkien books: TOLKIEN'S LOST CHAUCER by Jn Bowers, which I knew was in the works but nothing more than that about it, and TOLKIEN'S LIBRARY by Cili Oronzo, which was wholely new to me. More good things on the way.

Here's the Shippey link: enjoy

--John R.

*thanks to Bill F. for the link.

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