Lucas North & John Porter Forever!!
Nice retrospective with an appropriate title - by Giz the Gunslinger..
JRR Tolkien was 24 years of age in late 1916, and had recently returned to England after a brief tour on the Western Front of World War I. He had survived his part in the deadly Somme offensive only to fall prey to “trench fever” a short time later.
Tolkien’s illness kept him in and out of the hospital, and often bedridden, for the next several months. It was during this time that he scratched the first few lines of his imagined world to paper.
This was the start of something that was to have a lasting and profound influence on the last 46 years of his life. As his son and editor, Christopher Tolkien, notes in the forward to The Silmarillion, “throughout my father’s long life he never abandoned it, nor ceased even in his last years to work on it”.
What was Tolkien’s ultimate purpose in creating this alternate universe?
His goals and vision were multifold. Tolkien was many things: a writer, a linguist, a naturalist, a father, a mythologist, a scholar, a professor, a Roman Catholic, a medievalist, and a soldier.
JRR Tolkien and Nature began a love affair in early childhood that lasted for the remainder of his days. This love of nature was a driving force behind the creation of Middle-earth and becomes a major theme in the works themselves.
Tolkien was born in South Africa, but returned to England with his mother when he was only four years old, retaining very few memories of the South African landscape.
Shortly after returning to England, the Tolkiens moved to the idyllic small village of Sarehole.
The Hobbit - The Hobbit was first published in 1937. It was Tolkien’s first published piece of fiction, and remains not only one of the best-selling books of the 20th century, but a minor masterpiece in its own right.
The Hobbit first introduces us to Bilbo Baggins and some of Tolkien’s other most loved characters. It also introduces us to hobbits in general. The word “hobbit” is Tolkien’s own creation, and he admitted later that he had no idea how the name had come about.
As the story goes, he was grading papers during the “summer session” of 1928 when he came across a page which had been left blank. Tolkien was an inveterate doodler on any paper or margin that was available. Many of the earlier stories in his Middle-earth “mythologies” were first recorded this way, and The Hobbit was no exception.
On that blank page, Tolkien wrote the sentence, “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” This has since become one of the most recognizable sentences in all of English literature.
Tolkien, of course, had no idea what the sentence meant. He had never heard of “hobbits” and hadn’t the foggiest idea what a hobbit was. But as with most of Tolkien’s stories, the idea begins with a word...usually a name.
JRR Tolkien.. sold many of his original manuscripts (including those of The Hobbit) to Marquette University, Milwaukee, in 1957.
With all of The Hobbit manuscripts residing at Marquette, Christopher Tolkien made no attempts to compile and publish those writings.
Tolkien scholar Taum Santoski began the process, during the mid-1980’s, of organizing and collecting the early ‘Hobbit’ manuscripts. But Mr. Santoski passed away early in the process and the work passed to John D. Rateliff. Rateliff spent the next twenty years working on the project, organizing, researching, and compiling the various handwritten manuscripts, typescripts, and maps of The Hobbit from the collection at Marquette.
The final result is a two-volume study of these early drafts, complete with detailed commentary, released in the UK in May 2007 and in the US in September 2007.
The History of The Hobbit is broken into two volumes: Mr. Baggins - Return to Bag-End
Excerpt from an interview with John Rateliff: One thing that really stood out in your scholarship was a deep knowledge of Tolkien’s sources, both mythological and pre-Tolkienian fantasy (William Morris, Dunsany, etc…). Is this the primary field of your expertise?
John Rateliff: Aside from being a Tolkienist my primary focus is the history of fantasy literature. My dissertation, for example, is on Lord Dunsany, the most influential fantasy writer of the first half of the twentieth century, just as Tolkien was of the second half. My original dissertation proposal, which was not approved by the committee, was a study of the emergence of fantasy as a modern literary genre, focusing particularly on the roles played by Morris, MacDonald, Yeats, Dunsany, and Tolkien. And of course you can’t understand invented mythologies without knowing the real thing, particularly those that most influenced the writers inventing those latter-day fantasy mythologies (in Tolkien’s case, Norse/Old English and Celtic, but also to a lesser degree Finnish, Roman, Egyptian, Christian apocryphal traditions) http://www.tolkien-online.com/hobbit.html
I'd never heard of Viggio Mortensen before The Hobbit casting announcement, and the subsequent grazing on tidbits about past Tolkien films. There's a striking resemblance to RA's Guy3 in following poster. Peter Jackson is no doubt using his former successful casting instincts to create another movie blockbuster...