Although best known for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote all or part of these works while Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon in the University of Oxford, a position he held for twenty years. In this lecture, using archival material, including Tolkien’s so-called ‘Celtic Library’, his lecture-notes, his own heavily annotated editions of Beowulf, and various versions of his translation, first completed in 1926, but not published until last year, Andy Orchard, his successor in that role, considers Tolkien as a bold and brilliant interpreter of the greatest of all Old English poems, whose dashing and innovative work, developed over decades of teaching, can still offer a model to modern medievalists.
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Reception to follow.