“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.” – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
J.R.R. Tolkien was born, January 3, 1892. Today is his 120th birthday.
I have a confession to make. If pressured to answer, this is not my favorite style of written story. The worlds of elves, half-lings, goblins, trolls, orcs, or any number of beings never really interested me. I have read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The movies, all 15 hours or so, have my interest.
Oh, I have many friends who love Tolkien’s work. In fact, I know why they love his work. Tolkien’s creativity is a labor of love. It represents so much he valued during his life. Tolkien’s work oozes from his caring deliberate style and expertise.
Last year, I read a number of Joseph Campbell’s books and I find Neil Gaiman’s works, today’s Tolkien, so fascinating. These readings cemented how important Tolkien is to literature the last century. His work will endure for as long as man endures.
And my friends’ love for Tolkien’s work has led me to take a course on Tolkien. I started just before Christmas. If you desire, you can take this course, too. The professor is Corey Olsen and he teaches at Washington College in Maryland. I listen to his course by podcast through iTunes (Look up: Tolkien Professor). You can also listen through his site http://www.tolkienprofessor.com/ .
The first Olsen lecture gives an overview of Tolkien and why he is important. The second lecture is on Tolkien’s essay “On Fairy Stories” (Google it to find a pdf). Then, we are off to the major body of Tolkien’s work.
So, on the day of J.R.R. Tolkien’s birth, let us toast to those who live their labors of love, to those that discover their adventures, and to those who are inspired to find their own paths! Let us live as Tolkien lived!
Read more about Tolkien http://www.theonering.net/torwp/2012/01/02/52310-tolkien-birthday-post-january-3-2012/
Make a toast and read the toasts to the Professor http://www.tolkiensociety.org/toast/2012/list.php
Thank you, Gene, for the pointer on his birth.