Sunday, January 3, 2016

Happy Birthday J. R. R. Tolkien, 2016

Today would have been J. R. R. Tolkien's 124th birthday; it is hard to think of any writer who has had such a continuing impact on literature and culture. I like to think it is because in many ways he offers a type of spiritual nutrition in such an attractive manner that people imbibe it which, when it is offered in its bare state, they would usually reject. It is the mental equivalent of broccoli and cheese.

I feel prompted at this time of celebration of "the Professor's" birthday to suggest a scholarly way of honoring his memory. I have noticed for quite a while that there are various quotes attributed to Tolkien that are more properly in origin from the film scripts by Phillipa Boyens and Fran Walsh, sometimes epitomizing ideas or longer phrases from the book, and sometimes made from the ladies' whole imagination. There is one quote, "A single fantasy is worth a thousand realities," that owes its association with Tolkien to a poster for Bakshi's animated version! I think it would please Tolkien's niggling spirit if we ascribed these things to their proper source.

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