Tuesday, September 21, 2010

In Their Own Words....from the BBC

Have you ever heard of the BBC's series In Their Own Words: British Novelists - Interviews with Remarkable Modern Writers?

I just spent a totally enjoyable 27 minutes listening to a fascinating interview with J. R. R. Tolkien. Tolkien talks about how he came to write The Hobbit (on the back of a student's exam paper), and what he had in mind when he began to write The Lord of the Rings. Also present are students and fans of the trilogy - talking about what is special or unique and what Tolkien's books meant to them. Of course, there is the obligatory derogatory comment, deriding Tolkien's fiction as the worst kind of escapism. (Tell me - what' wrong with escaping, every so often?)

It was incredible to actually see Tolkien in person, as he sat in his own den or wandered about Oxford. The last view on the interview is a gradual panning out, from Professor Tolkien standing on a turret at the college, to the whole of Oxford - quite a spectacular view.

Other authors that you can listen to include Virginia Wolfe, Iris Murdoch, John LeCarre, Aldous Huxley, P. G. Wodehouse, Daphne DuMaurier and lots more. Video clips run from 8 minutes to 30 minutes. The Tolkien interview was first broadcast in 1968. (Tolkien died in 1973.) Meg



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