The buildings and people of Oxford were a valuable source of information for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
tolkien's Oxford charts tolkien's life in Oxford from 1911 to 1973, using old postcards, maps and photographs to paint a picture of the places and times that relate to one of the leading authors of the twentieth century.
The book covers such places as The Bird and Baby, where the Inklings met to read passages from their work; the Old Ashmolean Building on Broad Street where Tolkien worked on the Oxford English Dictionary; the University Botanical Gardens opposite Magdalen College, which contained tolkien's favourite tree under which to ponder; and the Wolvercote Cemetery where Tolkien was finally buried, with his wife, in 1973.
Presented in a handy guide-book format, this is an essential companion for anyone wanting to find the places that influenced Tolkien and his work.
The Roots of tolkien's Middle Earth
Because some might not have heard about Robert Blackham previous Tolkien book / guide, I will talk about it a little here; it has been mentioned as a reference by multiple Tolkien scholars, including T.A. Shippey, so it is for sure a book to explore!
The Roots of tolkien's Middle Earth is an exploration of many of the places in Birmingham, which would later appear in tolkien's writings and how, often by a miracle, many of them survived (e.g. the Shire Country Park).
J.R.R. Tolkien, creator of the fictional world of Middle Earth and arguably one of the most influential writers of the twentieth century, grew up and spent his formative years in the suburbs of Birmingham.
His memories of the area were later to become a valuable source of names, images and settings for his literary creations, now immortalised for millions in "The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings".
Robert Blackham, a keen student of the books and member of the Tolkien Society, has brought together a fascinating collection of images, contemporary and modern, of tolkien-related sites in Birmingham. Some are well known but many are new and original speculations.
This collection of images provides an important look at likely sources for the roots of Middle Earth that arose from the rural suburbs of Birmingham.
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