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Old 01-06-2012, 01:29 PM   #1
TheLostPilgrim
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Tolkien himself

Does anyone else wonder Tolkien would've been like even say in casual conversation? Given the way his mind worked in writing, he seems to have dwelt--not in any negative way--in the stories and world he made. I do not mean this in a negative way at all--Just Tolkien himself seemed to be as much of a "force" as the characters in his stories were. I just wonder if he was someone of a pedantic sort, a "bore" to talk to, being an academic...He seems to have been, in general, a highly intelligent man. Is there anyone else that wishes they might've had the chance to meet him?

I just have this image of him as a solitary, lone scholar by candlelight--Probably not at all accurate. But not the most "approachable" man--Not for any meanness of character, but simply just someone removed from others in a way. I suppose I am just coloring my image of the Professor with the beautiful shades of his works, making him an almost real life Gandalf type figure.
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Old 01-06-2012, 01:38 PM   #2
Galadriel55
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Originally Posted by TheLostPilgrim View Post
Is there anyone else that wishes they might've had the chance to meet him?
Everyone here does.

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I just have this image of him as a solitary, lone scholar by candlelight--Probably not at all accurate. But not the most "approachable" man--Not for any meanness of character, but simply just someone removed from others in a way. I suppose I am just coloring my image of the Professor with the beautiful shades of his works, making him an almost real life Gandalf type figure.
From what I've heard it was the opposite - he was always cheerful and "approachable".
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Old 01-06-2012, 02:32 PM   #3
Estelyn Telcontar
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LostPilgrim, have you read Carpenter's biography of Tolkien? It gives some very interesting insights into his life and personality. There are other books that add to that, but this one is the best book to start with. Carpenter also edited Tolkien's Letters for publishing, and they're fascinating to read.
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Old 01-06-2012, 02:43 PM   #4
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If you wish to know more about the Professor's private life, I highly recommend you read his biography
and even better, his letters (to his publishers, friends & familiy)

To dissuade you from the idea of Tolkien as a solitary lone scholar, I also suggest you have a peep at the ongoing chapter-by-chapter discussion here (with some illustrations!)of Tolkien's "letters from Father Christmas" that he wrote for his children. I cannot imagine a more affectionate and loving father!
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Last edited by Guinevere; 01-06-2012 at 02:44 PM. Reason: cross-posted with Esty
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Old 01-06-2012, 04:11 PM   #5
Mithalwen
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Originally Posted by TheLostPilgrim View Post
Does anyone else wonder Tolkien would've been like even say in casual conversation? I just wonder if he was someone of a pedantic sort, a "bore" to talk to, being an academic...He seems to have been, in general, a highly intelligent man. Is there anyone else that wishes they might've had the chance to meet him?
I do wonder about the academics you have met! Academics tend not to do small talk certainly.... but if you read his letters he gives the impression of someone who it would have been delightful to meet. For me the greater grief is that I without realisng it lived in the next village to Christopher Wiseman his closest schoolfriend and who lived well into his nineties by which time I was already a Tolkien devote. T
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Old 01-06-2012, 06:36 PM   #6
Lalwendė
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Tolkien by all accounts wasn't an isolated, bookish person at all, he had quite an impish sense of humour and he was also very sociable, being part of the Inklings for such a long time, which was actually quite a large group of friends.

Tolkien was also a rugby player in his youth and they're not known to be shy and retiring When he was a student in Oxford, he took part in pranks as much as any other student - one evening he stole a bus and went on a joyride with some friends around the town. He wrote:

"It was chock full of undergrads before it reached the Carfax. There I addressed a few stirring words to a huge mob before descending and removing to the Martyr's Memorial where I addressed the crowd again."

There's also a very funny and silly letter framed on the wall in the Eagle & Child, signed by Tolkien (and Lewis), which they wrote to the pub landlord, praising the ham (I note here - I have it on good authority it's not the original, because they suffer quite a lot from light fingered Tolkien fans who even take the cutlery and menus home with them...). And groups of men drinking in English pubs, whether academics or not, do tend to get quite noisy and rowdy
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Old 01-10-2012, 05:06 AM   #7
Selmo
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I once worked with someone who was well aquainted with the Tolkien family. Her husband had been a collegue of Professor Tolkien at Oxford.

It's one of my great regrets in life that I didn't find out about her conections with JRRT until long after she had retired. I missed the chance to gain some insight of the private life of the great man and the opportunity to answer some of the points raised here.
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Old 01-10-2012, 02:57 PM   #8
Galadriel
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[QUOTE]
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Everyone here does.
Not me. I'd faint before I got a word out

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From what I've heard it was the opposite - he was always cheerful and "approachable".
I'd think so, too. He seemed to have quite a few close friends...at least, before half of them died
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Old 01-10-2012, 04:57 PM   #9
Lalwendė
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1420!

I was introduced to his grandaughter, but I'd had quite a number of pints of cider at the time so I don't think I asked her anything more pertinent than whether she was having a lovely evening.
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