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Lord of the Rings Author (JRR) Tolkien 'Trained as Spy'
Herald Sun ^ | September 17, 2009

Posted on 09/16/2009 9:46:22 PM PDT by nickcarraway

LORD of the Rings author JRR Tolkien trained as a spy in the years leading up to World War II, it has emerged.

The Oxford University professor - who also wrote The Hobbit - was one of 50 intellectuals chosen by the British Government singled out to crack Nazi codes as it appeared increasingly likely Germany was preparing to declare war.

Tolkien was reknown as one of his generation's most respected linguists, and according to The Sun, was believed to have passed the training course “with flying colours”. Start of sidebar. Skip to end of sidebar.

End of sidebar. Return to start of sidebar.

He was offered the job at the famous Bletchley Park code-breaking centre, but for reasons unknown, turned it and its £50,000 ($94,000) salary down. The staff at Bletchley Park would later achieve fame worldwide by cracking the Enigma code and saving Britain by helping its navy intercept and destroy Hitler's U-boats.

The Daily Telegraph reports Tolkien - a professor of Anglo Saxon at Oxford University from 1925 to 1945 - visited the base for three consecutive days in March 1939.

A record of his training carries the word ''keen'' beside his name, but he refused the job and went on to complete his Lord of the Rings trilogy.

"We simply don't know why he didn't join,” a spokesman for the UK Government's spy base said.


TOPICS: Books/Literature; History; The Hobbit Hole
KEYWORDS: espionage; lotr; tolkien; worldwarii

1 posted on 09/16/2009 9:46:22 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: SunkenCiv; HairOfTheDog; John Farson

Ping


2 posted on 09/16/2009 9:47:58 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway
FWIW, he sent the first draft of The Fellowship of the Ring to his son Christopher, who was flying for the RAF in North Africa. In serial format, hand-typed. Now those are some letters from home!
3 posted on 09/16/2009 9:50:47 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: Billthedrill

Saruman is based on Rommel?


4 posted on 09/16/2009 9:52:57 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway
You left off the last sentence of the article:

“Perhaps it was because we declared war on Germany and not Mordor.”

5 posted on 09/16/2009 9:53:47 PM PDT by Constitutionalist Conservative (Two blogs for the price of none!)
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To: nickcarraway
Well, now we know from whence he derived Orc-speech, such as:

"Uglúk u bagronk sha pushdug Saruman-glob búb-hosh skai"

Listening to Hitler's speeches, eh?

Cheers!

6 posted on 09/16/2009 9:54:36 PM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: nickcarraway
Perhaps he was clairvoyant also and Sauron is Obozo.
7 posted on 09/16/2009 9:55:34 PM PDT by SoldierDad (Proud Dad of a U.S. Army Infantry Soldier whose wife is expecting twins SONS.)
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To: nickcarraway
He was offered the job at the famous Bletchley Park code-breaking centre, but for reasons unknown, turned it and its £50,000 ($94,000) salary down.

I find it hard to believe that in that era, he would have been offered so much money. A Spitfire in 1940 had a production cost of about $25,000. A P-51 mustang had a production cost of about $50,000.

8 posted on 09/16/2009 9:56:17 PM PDT by fso301
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To: grey_whiskers

John_Rhys Davies compared the baddies to Islam. He had been a lib until he went to see Thatcher give a speech. He was there to heckle her. He left being a conservative.


9 posted on 09/16/2009 9:57:19 PM PDT by Frantzie (Do we want ACORN running America's healthcare?)
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To: Billthedrill

He also did a Beowulf analysis that was fantastic, and I think it was he who also did the best Sir Gawain and the Green Knight I have ever read.

parsy, who has a tape of him/son reading the Beren and Luthien Tenuvial poem, which is like a half hour of so of pure ecstasy


10 posted on 09/16/2009 9:58:13 PM PDT by parsifal (Abatis: Rubbish in front of a fort, to prevent the rubbish outside from molesting the rubbish inside)
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To: nickcarraway
Tolkien was reknown...

That should be: Tolkien was renowned...

Oh well, even writers about linguists can misspell occasionally.

11 posted on 09/16/2009 9:59:21 PM PDT by stripes1776 ("That if gold rust, what shall iron do?" --Chaucer)
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To: nickcarraway

Tolkien is also listed as one of the “principal collaborators in translation and literary revision” of the Jerusalem Bible. I own a copy of this Bible and find it very readable (if not always lyrical), and really enjoy its informative and insightful footnotes.


12 posted on 09/16/2009 10:01:58 PM PDT by milagro
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To: nickcarraway

Tolkien is also listed as one of the “principal collaborators in translation and literary revision” of the Jerusalem Bible. I own a copy of this Bible and find it very readable (if not always lyrical), and really enjoy its informative and insightful footnotes.


13 posted on 09/16/2009 10:02:01 PM PDT by milagro
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To: nickcarraway

A world without Legolas is a world I wouldn't want to live in.:)

14 posted on 09/16/2009 10:05:42 PM PDT by 444Flyer ( "Every society honors its live conformists and its dead troublemakers."--Mignon McLaughlin)
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To: nickcarraway

“...but he refused the job and went on to complete his Lord of the Rings trilogy.”

That might be the reason right there. You’ve got to have your priorities set and not let a little old World War get in the way. Probably for the better, too.


15 posted on 09/16/2009 10:19:16 PM PDT by PLMerite (Speak Truth to Stupid.)
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To: Saoirise

“with flying colours”

Pretty wild eh?


16 posted on 09/16/2009 10:23:01 PM PDT by 444Flyer ( "Every society honors its live conformists and its dead troublemakers."--Mignon McLaughlin)
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To: Constitutionalist Conservative
I didn't leave it off- The Telegraph makes you excerpt.
17 posted on 09/16/2009 10:42:51 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: HairOfTheDog; ecurbh; Corin Stormhands; RosieCotton; Rose in RoseBear; Lil'freeper

Philology Ping!!


18 posted on 09/16/2009 10:49:12 PM PDT by SuziQ
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To: nickcarraway

bookmark


19 posted on 09/16/2009 10:50:53 PM PDT by GOP Poet
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To: stripes1776

One minor Irony....In “Hobbit” Tolkien misspelled “Dwarfs” as “Dwarves”.


20 posted on 09/16/2009 10:58:31 PM PDT by donmeaker (Invicto)
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To: donmeaker
One minor Irony....In “Hobbit” Tolkien misspelled “Dwarfs” as “Dwarves”.

As Tolkien says in the introduction to the Hobbit, dwarves and dwarvish are used only to refer to "the ancient people to whom Thorin Oakensheild and his companions belonged." That spelling is part of the story. It's there to give a somewhat antique look to the place. It's part of the fiction. It helps to create the mood for receiving the story.

21 posted on 09/16/2009 11:25:46 PM PDT by stripes1776 ("That if gold rust, what shall iron do?" --Chaucer)
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To: 444Flyer
"A world without Legolas is a world I wouldn't want to live in.:)"

Oh, I dunno...Haldir kinda did it for me...

22 posted on 09/16/2009 11:37:02 PM PDT by redhead (Obama: LAME DUCK IN 2010. (...amen...))
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To: donmeaker; stripes1776
One minor Irony....In “Hobbit” Tolkien misspelled “Dwarfs” as “Dwarves”

Not ironic. Deliberate.

This is alluded to in the introduction to The Hobbit and fully explained in the Appendix to The Return of the King: Tolkien despised the Disneyesque rendition of dwarfs as much as he hated Shakespeare's interpretation of fairies. He took a number of small rebellious linguistic steps to separate his characters from the silly notions then in fashion.

23 posted on 09/17/2009 1:04:47 AM PDT by FredZarguna (It looks just like a Telefunken U-47. In leather.)
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To: FredZarguna; donmeaker
Not ironic. Deliberate. This is alluded to in the introduction to The Hobbit and fully explained in the Appendix to The Return of the King: Tolkien despised the Disneyesque rendition of dwarfs as much as he hated Shakespeare's interpretation of fairies. He took a number of small rebellious linguistic steps to separate his characters from the silly notions then in fashion.

Yes, I agree that the spelling was deliberate. If he took small steps in spelling, he made a gigantic leap in the imagination. I think I read some place that the copy editor at his publisher was always correcting his spelling, which irritated him immensely.

24 posted on 09/17/2009 1:26:16 AM PDT by stripes1776 ("That if gold rust, what shall iron do?" --Chaucer)
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To: redhead

And everyone thinks Aragorn is the one who wins all the lady’s hearts...


25 posted on 09/17/2009 7:51:54 AM PDT by 444Flyer ( "Every society honors its live conformists and its dead troublemakers."--Mignon McLaughlin)
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To: fso301; nickcarraway
I find it hard to believe that in that era, he would have been offered so much money.

I have to agree. $94k in 1940 would be worth over $1 Million in today's dollars. FDR as president only made $75,000 a year then.

26 posted on 09/17/2009 8:30:37 AM PDT by Ditto
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To: 444Flyer

FTA “We simply don’t know why he didn’t join,” a spokesman for the UK Government’s spy base said.”

I do, he had a bigger purpose and calling for his life.


27 posted on 09/17/2009 9:57:58 AM PDT by Saoirise (Right the wrong and free SGT. Hutchins, NOW!)
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To: nickcarraway

Beren and Luthien wouldn’t have been able to penetrate the fastness of the Great Enemy without JRR Tolkien’s undercover work.


28 posted on 09/17/2009 3:15:34 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/__Since Jan 3, 2004__Profile updated Monday, January 12, 2009)
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To: stripes1776

When did Disney come out with Snow White? 1937.

When did Tolkien write “The Hobbit”? 1932, though it was published in 1937, back then there would have been no time to rewrite it in reaction to a movie.

Rather odd sense of History you have. As a professor he made a mistake, and covered it up in his later writings. A comfortingly human reaction from a curiously human author.


29 posted on 09/17/2009 9:50:27 PM PDT by donmeaker (Invicto)
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To: donmeaker
When did Disney come out with Snow White? 1937.

OK, so what?

When did Tolkien write “The Hobbit”? 1932, though it was published in 1937, back then there would have been no time to rewrite it in reaction to a movie.

I never mentioned anything about Tolkien reacting to a movie. That was a different poster. What I did was quote from his introduction to the Hobbit. Since I didn't quote the entire passage, let me do that now:

In English the only correct plural of dwarf is dwarfs, and the adjective is dwarfish. In this story dwarves and dwarvish are used, but only when speaking of the ancient people to whom Thorin Oakenshield and his companions belonged.
That spelling is essential to the story. And as for the word dwarf, my American Heritage Dictionary lists both dwarfs and dwarves as alternative plurals.

Rather odd sense of History you have. As a professor he made a mistake, and covered it up in his later writings. A comfortingly human reaction from a curiously human author.

Again, I never said anything about Tolkien reacting to a movie. But he didn't like modern fairy tales, the sort of stuff that was written in the 19th century. In those books, the authors made a change in their depiction of imaginary creatures. Elves became sweet diminutive creatures. Well, Tolkien didn't like that modern (19th century) depiction. He knew from his reading of old Anglo-Saxon and Germanic literature that elves were tall, elegant creatures, capable of goodness, possessing great power, but at the same time very dangerous to encounter. So in his tales he went back to the older sort of elves--tall, elegant, but also dangerous. It's the dwarves who are short in stature, but also stocky, and equally dangerous to encounter. And of course elves and dwarves hate each other.

Have you ever Spencer's Faerie Queene? Please don't let anyone spell it "Fairy Queen". That will spoil the poetry. C.S. Lewis recommends getting an old copy in a heavy leather binding with blackletter (gothic) type. At the very least read it in an edition with the old spellings. Those old spellings are essential to the meaning of the poem. It will help you as a reader to enter into the atmosphere of the story.

Tolkien's odd spellings are essential to the story. He would not let his editor change them for good reason. Those spellings help to create the atmosphere of an ancient past.

30 posted on 09/17/2009 11:27:33 PM PDT by stripes1776 ("That if gold rust, what shall iron do?" --Chaucer)
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