Our Own Dear John Ronald: Discoverer of Legend

“He did not see himself as an inventor of story but as a discoverer of legend.”

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But most important of all, Bilbo led John Ronald over the Misty Mountains,

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through the Mirkwood Forest,

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and across the Long Lake to the base of the Lonely Mountain.

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~ Caroline McAlister: John Ronald’s Dragons.  Illustrated by Eliza Wheeler.

 

Early in 1915 he turned back to his original Earendel verses and began to work their theme into a larger story.  He had shown the original Earendel lines to G.B.Smith, who hat said that he liked them but asked what they were really about.  Tolkien had replied: ‘I don’t know.  I’ll try to find out.’  Not try to invent: TRY TO FIND OUT.  He did not see himself as an inventor of story but as a discoverer of legend.

~ Humphrey Carpenter: J.R.R. Tolkien. A Biography.

I think the above quoted children’s picture book biography of J. R. R. Tolkien illustrates rather well what Carpenter points out concerning Tolkien’s attitude towards “story writing”.

Incidentally, I recommend this wonderful children’s book for all who wish to introduce their children to the author and to the genre of biography.

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