Fantastic BBC Footage of J.R.R. Tolkien in 1968

The high points of this doc­u­men­tary on the great J.R.R. Tolkien, from the BBC Series In Their Own Words: British Nov­el­ists, are the moments that ful­fill the promise of the series’ title. Skip over the dis­tract­ing “man on the street” inter­views and long pans of the land­scape, meant per­haps to invoke Mid­dle Earth. In fact, you can skip over every scene that isn’t just the author’s mag­nif­i­cent talk­ing head.

Start at minute 2:49, where he describes first writ­ing the immor­tal words “In a hole in the ground there lived a hob­bit.” The anec­dote should inspire belea­guered grad­u­ate stu­dents and teach­ers every­where: He came up with the line while grad­ing exams.

We also loved Tolkien’s con­fes­sion about trees, start­ing at the 7:00 minute mark: “I should have liked to make con­tact with a tree and find out how it feels about things.”

You can watch the doc­u­men­tary on YouTube in two parts. The first part is above, the sec­ond here. The mate­r­i­al also appears in our col­lec­tion of 250 Cul­tur­al Icons.

via Bib­liok­lept

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Talk­ing Lit­er­a­ture with Great British Nov­el­ists

Sheer­ly Avni is a San Fran­cis­co-based arts and cul­ture writer. Her work has appeared in Salon, LA Week­ly, Moth­er Jones, and many oth­er pub­li­ca­tions. You can fol­low her on twit­ter at @sheerly.

by | Permalink | Comments (2) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (2)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.