Happy Birthday, J. R. R. Tolkien – 125 today
If you have time today, raise a glass of your favourite beverage to “Ronald” Tolkien, philologist, and Oxford professor. 125 today. You might also know him as J. R. R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. And the man who wisely advised us to: “Never laugh at live dragons.”
I previously mentioned that E.M. Forster was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature 16 times, but never won. Tolkien didn’t have any luck in that department either. According to this piece in The Telegraph newspaper, the Nobel Prize committee rejected him for poor storytelling and bad writing. Jury member, Anders Osterling, said that the work “has not in any way measured up to storytelling of the highest quality“. Hmm.
And so Tolkien disappeared into the storytelling dustbin of history, along with those other literary Nobel losers – Leo Tolstoy, Henry James, Marcel Proust, James Joyce, Lawrence Durrell, Virginia Woolf, Jorge Luis Borges, Vladimir Nabokov, W.H. Auden, Primo Levi, Chinua Achebe, E.M. Forster, John Updike, Robert Frost and Graham Greene. Enjoy your obscurity, suckers!
BELOW 1: Interesting interview in the video below. Tolkien says that the world of his childhood (he was born in 1892) had more in common with that of Shakespeare than “now” (late 1960s). I have heard others say something similar. Is the pace of change speeding up? Help!
BELOW 2: A beautiful poem in Elvish – by J.R.R. Tolkien. Does this language remind you of any other? Sounds rather Scandinavian to me.
(text below, read by the author in video below)
[NB: 14 March 2017: Apologies – video removed from Youtube after this post].
Ai! laurië lantar lassi súrinen,
yéni únótimë ve rámar aldaron!
Yéni ve lintë yuldar avánier
mi oromardi lisse-miruvóreva
Andúnë pella, Vardo tellumar
nu luini yassen tintilar i eleni
Sí man i yulma nin enquantuva?
An sí Tintallë Varda Oiolossëo
ve fanyar máryat Elentári ortanë,
ar ilyë tier undulávë lumbulë;
ar sindanóriello caita mornië
i falmalinnar imbë met, ar hísië
untúpa Calaciryo míri oialë.
Sí vanwa ná, Rómello vanwa, Valimar!
Namárië! Nai hiruvalyë Valimar.
Nai elyë hiruva. Namárië!