Thursday, April 18, 2019

Tolkien in the news

J. R. R. Tolkien was famous as an author, but his day job was as a professor at Oxford.  He was one of the world experts on the epic poem Beowulf, and W. H. Auden wrote him a letter later in life saying how thrilling his Beowulf recitation and lectures were.

Tolkien firmly believed that Beowulf had been written by a single person, but this was controversial at the time.  Now a new study has backed the old Oxford Don up on that:
The epic poem Beowulf is the most famous surviving work of Old English literature. For decades, scholars have hotly debated both when the poem was composed and whether it was the work of a single anonymous author ("the Beowulf poet"). Lord of the Rings' scribe J.R.R. Tolkien was among those who famously championed the single-author stance. Now researchers at Harvard University have conducted a statistical analysis and concluded that there was very likely just one author, further bolstering Tolkien's case. They published their findings in a recent paper in Nature Human Behavior.
Statistical analysis of meter, punctuation, word choice, and letter combinations suggest a single author.

In other Tolkien news, someone has made a film; not about his stories, but about the author himself:

Opens mid-May.


ASM826 said...

Tolkien was at the Battle of Somme. It's likely he survived because of lice. He was bitten and contracted typhus. Sent to a hospital and was in treatment for the rest of the war. His closest friends were not so lucky. 125,000 British soldiers died at the Somme.

This movie will be on my must-see list.

Ed Bonderenka said...

I'm looking forward.
I wonder if C.S. Lewis will make an appearance.

Ken said...

(From the Foreword to The Lord of the Rings: "By 1918 all of my close friends but one were dead."