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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Tolkien at Oxford


Jan 15 2009, 11:09pm

Post #1 of 1 (283 views)
Tolkien at Oxford Can't Post

I dont know whether this has been mentioned before or if I am posting on the right forum, but there are two very good podcasts which explore the relationship between Tolkien and Oxford University: http://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/. They are available directly from the university website or through iTunes subscription.

The first conversation with Elizabeth Solopova of the Bodleian Library covered a lot of information about the influences of ancient languages on Tolkien's work. Much of this background information - Welsh, Finnish, Germanic languages etc - I had read before. She is the author of The Keys of Middle-Earth and has another book due out soon, again looking at Tolkien's languages.

But I found the second podcast especially interesting as it was discussing his work on the OED and his use of language as a lexographer. The authors of The Ring of Words was taking part so it was largely an exploration of their book. There were lots of quirky facts that were new to me and the last section of the book is a collection of 'word studies' looking at key words such as mathom, waybread, ent and hobbit (of course). I particularly liked their analysis of how Tolkien could use differing narrative registers to build up his world in a way that few, if any, of his imitators could emulate. Their discussion of the structure of The Council of Elrond was enthralling. I listened and immediately ordered the book. Laugh


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