By Jared Lobdell
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Extra info for A Tolkien Compass: Including J. R. R. Tolkien's Guide to the Names in the Lord of the Rings
It is to this period that the origins of the Inklings‡ belongs. This literary group of male friends centred around the friendship of the two men, and other friends of Lewis’. In a letter to Donald Swann on 14 October 1966, Tolkien explains that the title originally belonged to an undergraduate group (of a type common in Oxford in those days). He speaks of reading an early version of his poem, ‘Errantry’, to them (later set to music by Swann): I read it to an undergraduate club that used to hear its members read unpublished poems or short tales, and voted some of them into the minute book.
Following the vengeful Gollum, who cannot see him, he finds his way out of the mountains, on the other side. Bilbo later gives a false account of the finding of the Ring, preserved in the first edition of The Hobbit. He does this because the pernicious influence of the Ring is beginning to work. Gandalf and the others realize this and the true story eventually emerges, incorporated into the second edition. Tolkien developed the plot in this way as the story of The Lord of the Rings developed. * They are almost burnt alive by orcs, only to be rescued by eagles,† who whisk them aloft to safety high in the mountains.
Leaf by Niggle’, a short allegory, was first published in January 1945 in the Dublin Review and was republished in Tree and Leaf‡ (1964). The allegory, an unusual form for Tolkien, is also atypical in that it has autobiographical elements, concerning the nature and dilemmas of imaginative creation. Tolkien’s little story suggests the link between art and reality. Even in heaven there will be a place for the artist to add his or her own touch to the created world. The allegorical element could be interpreted with Niggle the painter signifying Tolkien the writer, and Niggle’s leaf the tales of Middle-earth (or perhaps just The Hobbit).
A Tolkien Compass: Including J. R. R. Tolkien's Guide to the Names in the Lord of the Rings by Jared Lobdell