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.

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