Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Tolkien's Little List

So, the  previous post on Tolkien's brief correspondence with the great folklorist Katharine Briggs reminded me of something I'd come across a while back about Tolkien's connection with Briggs.

In Scull & Hammond's excellent CHRONOLOGY, they give an entry mentioning a list of people Tolkien wanted sent an author's complementary copy of SMITH OF WOOTTON MAJOR (ten in England and three more in America), then move on to give a second list of ten names "to whom future publications should be sent, since he owes them 'a considerable amount for help, encouragement, and gifts . . .' 

    Simonne d'Ardenne

    George Sayer

    Austin and Katharine Farrar

    the Reverend Mother Prioress of Oulton Abbey

    K. M. Briggs

    Professor P. N. U. Harting of Amsterday

    the Earl of Halsbury,

    Professor Clyde Kilby

    Edmund Fuller,

    and W. H. Auden"


It was just their bad luck that Tolkien published v. little during those final years, but the list remains a marker that he held a high opinion of each of these ten --some of them names familiar to any Tolkien scholar, some I confess to never having heard of before (the Reverend Mother and the Dutch Professor). 

--John R.

--current reading: A STRANGER IN OLONDRIA.

1 comment:

Marcel R. Bülles said...

Pieter Harting has a short Wikipedia entry (NL) as a philologist, specialised in Sanskrit, English and Dutch. He was a tutor at UCL (1920-1923), and a tutor for Dutch at Oxford University from 1923-1925. 1958-1966 he was editor in chief for "Neophilologus". See this letter: His inaugural address with the University of Amsterdam was on "Studying Chaucer."

So basically those two must have run into each other, both physically in Oxford as well as in publishing/ academic terms. My apologies for this infodump but I was intrigued myself and I am sure there is quite a bit more story to find on this.