Tolkien at Exeter College

John Garth profiles his Tolkien at Exeter College: Birth of a legend in his blog. A very good booklet as far as it goes, and the scholarship is of course sound. It’s well worth getting if you’re interested in the pre-war Tolkien, but be aware that there are huge gaps and elisions.


3 comments on “Tolkien at Exeter College

  1. John Garth says:

    Thank you for drawing your readers’ attention to my book (and blog post). But I wonder what “gaps and elisions” you consider ought to be filled in a book about Tolkien’s life at Exeter College. If you’re thinking of what was going on in Tolkien’s personal life, I would suggest that I cover it here as far as it falls within this specific topic. If you are thinking about his on-going friendship with his former schoolfriends, the TCBS, or about the further development of his legendarium after “The Voyage of Éarendel the Evening Star” and “The Story of Kullervo”, I refer you to my earlier book, TOLKIEN AND THE GREAT WAR, which surely gives these matters the attention they deserve.

    • David Haden says:

      Mostly the near-complete omission of an examination of his tutors, their backgrounds, interests, and likely points of influence. How can the likes of his personal tutor Robert Ranulph Marett have been limited to a terse one line footnote, for instance?

      • John Garth says:

        Yes, that’s an avenue that could be profitably explored. I felt it deserved more space than I could give it – partly because the question of influence (which justifies the whole inquiry) is speculative and would need careful handling. On Marett, it’s not at all clear how much contact he and Tolkien would have had: a personal tutor did not teach, but was assigned to give guidance in cases of personal difficulties. I have more to say on Tolkien’s tutors, but I’ll have to reserve it for elsewhere.

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