Crawlers, Cubes and Critters - and other Old-School Nonsense
Sunday, January 1, 2012
Tolkien - The Ring of Words
Very interesting. My friend Adam turned me on to The Ring of Words, a book about Tolkien's time spent as assistant on the staff at the Oxford English Dictionary when he was a young whippersnapper. It appears that many of JRRT's unique and interesting words were derived from his time in that job. For example, a Mathom (anything a hobbit had no use for but was unwilling to throw away) was a common term in Old English. But apparently, Mithril was completely a unique term - and in fact was the first original "Elven" word to appear in the OED.
The book also talks about Tolkien's deep understanding and appreciation of Anglo-Saxon and other ancient tongues, which clearly had a major influence on his writings.
I haven't read this yet, but it's on my short list.