The University of Exeter has brought together three leading experts on J.R.R. Tolkien, to celebrate his work and place in English literature.
Regarded by many as the "father" of fantasy literature Tolkien has written extensively in the field and entered the imaginations of millions through his 1937 children’s classic adventure The Hobbit. Tolkien is best known, however, for the Lord of the Rings a trilogy that began it's literary life in Cornwall in the 1930’s under the name The Lost Road.
"Steeped in Arthurian legend, Cornwall is often experienced and treated as a mysterious and mystical landscape, haunted by other worlds." Professor Nick Groom of Exeter University told the student guardian. The seeds for The Lord of the Rings were sown and published in three volumes during 1954/5.
Today three of the world's leading experts on Tolkien, are preparing to give presentations as part of Tolkien Day at Exeter University's Tremogh Campus in Cornwall to raise the profile of Tolkien's work as worthy of serious academic study.
‘The academic neglect of Tolkien can be put down to sheer prejudice, as his work doesn’t fit into an easy category", said Professor Nick Groom of Exeter University.
Professor Groom teaches Tolkien at postgraduate level and plans to launch an undergraduate option for BA English students dedicated to Tolkien’s achievements as a writer, scholar, and critic. ‘At the University we are interested in Tolkien’s mythology of England and his approach to different regional identities, which are deeply rooted in English literature and the landscape. We use his work as a point from which to focus on writing, place and identify,’ Professor Groom added.
Famously adapted to the screen Tolkien’s influence is unquestionable, under the direction of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King was critically acclaimed winning 11 Oscars from Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, in 2004, including Best Picture and Best Director. Tolkien’s work is also believed to have inspired the online computer game the World of Warcraft, which amuses millions across cyberspace every day, but it is Tolkien’s literary and scholarly quality that are often overlooked.
"Although Tolkien’s work goes in waves of fashion and popularity, the University of Exeter’s School of English is committed to developing academic research into one of England’s most popular and influential English writers." Esther White, Press Officer for Exeter University told the studentguardian:
Student Information: Professor J. R. R. Tolkien, C.B.E.,
Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford from 1925 to 1945, and from 1945 to 1959 Merton Professor of English Language and Literature
He was the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, which sold millions of copies and is widely translated.
Tolkien died in 1973 aged of 81.