Thomas Alan Shippey is a British scholar and retired professor of Middle and Old English literature, as well as medievalism and modern fantasy and science fiction. In particular he is considered one of the world's leading academic scholars on the works of J. R. R. Tolkien about whom he has written several books and many scholarly papers. Shippey was born in 1943 in Calcutta, British India, where he spent the first years of his life, he was sent to a boarding school in England, studied at King Edward's School in Birmingham from 1954 to 1960. When he was 14 years old, he was lent The Hobbit. Like Tolkien, Shippey became fond of Old English, Old Norse and Latin, of playing rugby. After Shippey's graduation in the early 1960s he did not start an academic career since the British economy of the time did not offer many jobs in academia. Only in the mid-1960s did he enroll at the University of Cambridge from where he graduated with an M. A. in 1968. He was awarded a PhD from Cambridge University in 1990.
Shippey became a junior lecturer at the University of Birmingham, a Fellow of St John's College, where he taught Old and Middle English. In 1979, he was elected to the Chair of English Language and Medieval English Literature at the University of Leeds. In 1996, after 14 years at Leeds, Shippey was appointed to the Walter J. Ong Chair of Humanities at Saint Louis University's College of Arts and Sciences, where he did teaching and publishing, he retired from there in 2008, now lives in Dorset. From 2003 to 2007, he served as the editor of the journal Studies in Medievalism and from 2003 to 2009, he was the President of the International Society for the Study of Medievalism. Under the pseudonym of "Tom Allen" he has written two stories that were published in anthologies edited by Peter Weston; the first published was the fantasy story "King, Dragon" in Andromeda 2 in 1977. Under the pseudonym of John Holm, he is the co-author, with Harry Harrison, of The Hammer and the Cross trilogy of alternate history novels.
Shippey had earlier assisted Harrison in devising fictional languages for the author's Eden trilogy. In addition to writing books of his own, he has edited both The Oxford Book of Science Fiction Stories, The Oxford Book of Fantasy Stories and reviews science fiction for the Wall Street Journal. In 2009, he wrote a scholarly 21-page introduction to Flights of Eagles, a collection of James Blish works. In late 1969 or early 1970, Shippey wrote his first academic work on Tolkien, he delivered a speech at a Tolkien day organised by a student association. This lecture, "Tolkien as philologist" became influential for Shippey's view of Tolkien. Joy Hill, Tolkien's private secretary, was in the audience and afterwards she asked him for the script, for Tolkien to read. On 13 April 1970, Shippey received a formal letter from Tolkien; the two and Tolkien, first met in 1972. Shippey was invited for dinner by Norman Davis who had succeeded Tolkien at the Merton Chair of English Language; when he became a Fellow of St. John's College, Shippey taught Old and Middle English using Tolkien's syllabus.
Shippey's first printed essay, "Creation from Philology in The Lord of the Rings", expanded on his 1970 lecture. In 1979, he was elected into a former position of Tolkien's, the Chair of English Language and Medieval English Literature at Leeds University, his first book, The Road to Middle-earth, was published in 1982. At this time, Shippey shifted from regarding Tolkien as a philologist to a "traumatised author" as he called it; this would include writers affected by war like Golding. Shippey appeared in several documentaries about Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings film trilogy; the dialect coaches were assisted by him and Shippey received a personal mention in the closing credits. He summarized his experiences with the film project as follows: "The funny thing about interviews is you never know which bits they're going to pick, it always feels as if they sit you down, shine bright lights in your eyes, ask you questions until you say something silly, that's the bit they choose. At least they didn't waterboard me.
But it was good fun, I'd cheerfully do it again." As an acknowledged expert on Tolkien, Shippey serves on the editorial board of Tolkien Studies: An Annual Scholarly Review. Shippey's education and academic career have crossed paths in many ways with those of Tolkien: like Tolkien, he attended King Edward's School in Birmingham and both taught Old English at Oxford University. Shippey occupied Tolkien's former position at the University of Leeds and was responsible for changing the curriculum that Tolkien himself had instituted. Old English Verse Poems of Wisdom and Learning in Old English Beowulf. Arnold's Studies in English Literature series; the Road to Middle-earth, 2nd ed. Revised and Expanded edition Fictional Space: Essays on Contemporary Science Fiction, Editor; the Oxford Book of Science Fiction Stories, Editor. The Oxford Book of Fantasy Stories, Editor. Beowulf: The Critical Heritage, with Andreas Haarder Medievalism in the Modern World: Essays in Honour of Leslie Workman, with Richard Utz J. R. R. Tolkien: Author of the Century (London: Harper Collins, 2000.
J. R. R. Tolkien
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, was an English writer, poet and academic, best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion. He served as the Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon and Fellow of Pembroke College, from 1925 to 1945 and Merton Professor of English Language and Literature and Fellow of Merton College, from 1945 to 1959, he was at one time a close friend of C. S. Lewis—they were both members of the informal literary discussion group known as the Inklings. Tolkien was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II on 28 March 1972. After Tolkien's death, his son Christopher published a series of works based on his father's extensive notes and unpublished manuscripts, including The Silmarillion. These, together with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, form a connected body of tales, fictional histories, invented languages, literary essays about a fantasy world called Arda and Middle-earth within it.
Between 1951 and 1955, Tolkien applied the term legendarium to the larger part of these writings. While many other authors had published works of fantasy before Tolkien, the great success of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings led directly to a popular resurgence of the genre; this has caused Tolkien to be popularly identified as the "father" of modern fantasy literature—or, more of high fantasy. In 2008, The Times ranked him sixth on a list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945". Forbes ranked him the 5th top-earning "dead celebrity" in 2009. Tolkien's immediate paternal ancestors were middle-class craftsmen who made and sold clocks and pianos in London and Birmingham; the Tolkien family originated in the East Prussian town Kreuzburg near Königsberg, where his first known paternal ancestor Michel Tolkien was born around 1620. Michel's son Christianus Tolkien was a wealthy miller in Kreuzburg, his son Christian Tolkien moved from Kreuzburg to nearby Danzig, his two sons Daniel Gottlieb Tolkien and Johann Benjamin Tolkien emigrated to London in the 1770s and became the ancestors of the English family.
In 1792 John Benjamin Tolkien and William Gravell took over the Erdley Norton manufacture in London, which from on sold clocks and watches under the name Gravell & Tolkien. Daniel Gottlieb obtained British citizenship in 1794, but John Benjamin never became a British citizen. Other German relatives joined the two brothers in London. Several people with the surname Tolkien or similar spelling, some of them members of the same family as J. R. R. Tolkien, live in northern Germany, but most of them are descendants of recent refugees from East Prussia who fled the Red Army invasion and subsequent ethnic cleansing. According to Ryszard Derdziński the Tolkien name is of Low Prussian origin and means "son/descendant of Tolk." Tolkien mistakenly believed his surname derived from the German word tollkühn, meaning "foolhardy", jokingly inserted himself as a "cameo" into The Notion Club Papers under the translated name Rashbold. However, Derdziński has demonstrated this to be a false etymology. While J. R. R. Tolkien was aware of the Tolkien family's German origin, his knowledge of the family's history was limited because he was "early isolated from the family of his prematurely deceased father".
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born on 3 January 1892 in Bloemfontein in the Orange Free State to Arthur Reuel Tolkien, an English bank manager, his wife Mabel, née Suffield. The couple had left England when Arthur was promoted to head the Bloemfontein office of the British bank for which he worked. Tolkien had one sibling, his younger brother, Hilary Arthur Reuel Tolkien, born on 17 February 1894; as a child, Tolkien was bitten by a large baboon spider in the garden, an event some think echoed in his stories, although he admitted no actual memory of the event and no special hatred of spiders as an adult. In another incident, a young family servant, who thought Tolkien a beautiful child, took the baby to his kraal to show him off, returning him the next morning; when he was three, he went to England with his mother and brother on what was intended to be a lengthy family visit. His father, died in South Africa of rheumatic fever before he could join them; this left the family without an income, so Tolkien's mother took him to live with her parents in Kings Heath, Birmingham.
Soon after, in 1896, they moved to Sarehole a Worcestershire village annexed to Birmingham. He enjoyed exploring Sarehole Mill and Moseley Bog and the Clent and Malvern Hills, which would inspire scenes in his books, along with nearby towns and villages such as Bromsgrove and Alvechurch and places such as his aunt Jane's farm of Bag End, the name of which he used in his fiction. Mabel Tolkien taught her two children at home. Ronald, as he was known in the family, was a keen pupil, she taught him a great deal of botany and awakened in him the enjoyment of the look and feel of plants. Young Tolkien liked to draw landscapes and trees, but his favourite lessons were those concerning languages, his mother taught him the rudiments of Latin early. Tolkien could write fluently soon afterwards, his mother allowed him to read many books. He disliked Treasure Island and The Pied Piper and thought Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll was "amusing but disturbing", he liked stories about "Red Indians" and the fantasy wor
Théoden is a fictional character in J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy novel, The Lord of the Rings; the King and Lord of the Mark of Rohan, he appears as a major supporting character in The Two Towers and The Return of the King. When first introduced, Théoden is weak with age and sorrow and the machinations of his top advisor, Grima Wormtongue, he does nothing as his kingdom is crumbling. Once roused by Gandalf, however, he becomes an instrumental ally in the war against Saruman and Sauron. Théoden is introduced in The Two Towers, the second volume of The Lord of the Rings, as the King of Rohan. By the time of the War of the Ring, Théoden had grown weak with age, was controlled by his chief advisor Gríma, secretly in the employ of the corrupt wizard Saruman. In Unfinished Tales, it is implied that the failure of the king's health was "...induced or increased by subtle poisons, administered by Gríma". As Théoden sat powerless, Rohan was troubled by Orcs and Dunlendings, who operated under the will of Saruman, ruling from Isengard.
When his son Théodred was mortally wounded at a battle at the Fords of Isen, Théoden's nephew Éomer became his heir. However, Éomer was out of favour with Wormtongue, who had him arrested; when Gandalf the White and Aragorn, along with Legolas and Gimli, appeared before him in The Two Towers, Théoden rebuffed the wizard's advice to oppose Saruman. When Gandalf revealed Wormtongue for what he was, however, Théoden returned to his senses, he restored his nephew, took up his sword Herugrim, in spite of his age, led the Riders of Rohan into the Battle of the Hornburg. After this he became known as the Renewed. In The Return of the King, Théoden led the Rohirrim to the aid of Gondor at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. In that battle he routed the Harad cavalry killing their chieftain and banner-bearer in the process, he challenged the Witch-king of Angmar, the leader of the Nazgûl, was mortally wounded when his horse Snowmane fell upon him. He was avenged by his niece Éowyn and the hobbit Meriadoc "Merry" Brandybuck, who had ridden to war in secret.
Before mustering the Rohirrim to ride to Gondor's aid, Théoden enlisted Merry into his army, but did not let the hobbit ride into battle at Pelennor. In his last moments, he appointed Éomer the next king. Théoden's body lay in Minas Tirith, he was the last of the Second Line of the kings, judging from direct descent from Eorl the Young. The appendices of The Return of the King explain that Théoden was the only son of King Thengel and Morwen of Lossarnach, he was the second-born of five children, the only boy. Théoden was closest to Théodwyn, he was born in Gondor. Théoden became king after the death of his father. Théodwyn lived with him in Edoras, he married Elfhild. After Théodwyn and her husband, Éomund died, he adopted their children, Éomer and Éowyn. In his prime, Théoden was a strong and vital king respected by his subjects; as with other Men of the Riddermark, Théoden was a skilled horseman. He acted as the First Marshal of the Mark after the death of Éomund, his sword was called Herugrim. In the etymology of Middle-earth, the name Théoden is a translation of Rohirric Tûrac, an old word for King.
Some scholars relate Théoden to the Old English word þēoden, meaning "leader of a people". As with other descriptive names in his legendarium, Tolkien uses this name to create the impression that the text is "'historical','real' or'archaic'"; the character of Théoden was inspired by a concept of courage as found in Norse mythology in the Beowulf epos: the protagonist of a story shows perseverance while knowing that he is going to be defeated and killed. This is reflected in Théoden's decision to ride against Sauron's far superior army in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. There are repeated references by Tolkien to a historic account of the Battle of the Catalaunian Fields by Jordanes. Both battles take place between civilizations of the "East" and "West", like Jordanes, Tolkien describes his battle as one of legendary fame that lasted for several generations. Another apparent similarity is the death of king Theodoric I on the Catalaunian Fields and that of Théoden on the Pelennor. Jordanes reports that Theodoric was thrown off by his horse and trampled to death by his own men who charged forward.
Théoden rallies his men shortly before he falls and is crushed by his horse. And like Theodoric, Théoden is carried from the battlefield with his knights weeping and singing for him while the battle still goes on. In one of Tolkien's early drafts, Théoden had a daughter by the name of Idis, but she was removed when her character was eclipsed by that of Éowyn. In Ralph Bakshi's 1978 animated version of The Lord of the Rings, the voice of Théoden was provided by Philip Stone. Théoden appears in Rankin/Bass's attempt to complete the story left unfinished by Bakshi in their television adaptation of The Return of the King, though he speaks little, is voiced by Don Messick, his death is narrated by Gandalf. In the 1981 BBC Radio 4 version of The Lord of the Rings, Théoden's death is described in song rather than dramatized conventionally. In this adaptation he is voiced by Jack May. Théoden is an important character in Peter Jackson's film adaption of the Lord o
The Hobbit, or There and Back Again is a children's fantasy novel by English author J. R. R. Tolkien, it was published on 21 September 1937 to wide critical acclaim, being nominated for the Carnegie Medal and awarded a prize from the New York Herald Tribune for best juvenile fiction. The book is recognized as a classic in children's literature; the Hobbit is set within Tolkien's fictional universe and follows the quest of home-loving hobbit Bilbo Baggins to win a share of the treasure guarded by Smaug the dragon. Bilbo's journey takes him from rural surroundings into more sinister territory; the story is told in the form of an episodic quest, most chapters introduce a specific creature or type of creature of Tolkien's geography. Bilbo gains a new level of maturity and wisdom by accepting the disreputable, romantic and adventurous sides of his nature and applying his wits and common sense; the story reaches its climax in the Battle of the Five Armies, where many of the characters and creatures from earlier chapters re-emerge to engage in conflict.
Personal growth and forms of heroism are central themes of the story, along with motifs of warfare. These themes have led critics to view Tolkien's own experiences during World War I as instrumental in shaping the story; the author's scholarly knowledge of Germanic philology and interest in mythology and fairy tales are noted as influences. The publisher was encouraged by the book's critical and financial success and, requested a sequel; as Tolkien's work progressed on the successor The Lord of the Rings, he made retrospective accommodations for it in The Hobbit. These few but significant changes were integrated into the second edition. Further editions followed with minor emendations, including those reflecting Tolkien's changing concept of the world into which Bilbo stumbled; the work has never been out of print. Its ongoing legacy encompasses many adaptations for stage, radio, board games, video games. Several of these adaptations have received critical recognition on their own merits. Bilbo Baggins, the titular protagonist, is a reserved hobbit.
During his adventure, Bilbo refers to the contents of his larder at home and wishes he had more food. Until he finds a magic ring, he is more baggage than help. Gandalf, an itinerant wizard, introduces Bilbo to a company of thirteen dwarves. During the journey the wizard disappears on side errands dimly hinted at, only to appear again at key moments in the story. Thorin Oakenshield, the proud, pompous head of the company of dwarves and heir to the destroyed dwarvish kingdom under the Lonely Mountain, makes many mistakes in his leadership, relying on Gandalf and Bilbo to get him out of trouble, but proves himself a mighty warrior. Smaug is a dragon who long ago pillaged the dwarvish kingdom of Thorin's grandfather and sleeps upon the vast treasure; the plot involves a host of other characters of varying importance, such as the twelve other dwarves of the company. Gandalf tricks Bilbo into hosting a party for Thorin and his band of dwarves, who sing of reclaiming the Lonely Mountain and its vast treasure from the dragon Smaug.
When the music ends, Gandalf unveils Thrór's map showing a secret door into the Mountain and proposes that the dumbfounded Bilbo serve as the expedition's "burglar". The dwarves ridicule the idea, but Bilbo, joins despite himself; the group travels into the wild, where Gandalf saves the company from trolls and leads them to Rivendell, where Elrond reveals more secrets from the map. Passing over the Misty Mountains, they are driven deep underground. Although Gandalf rescues them, Bilbo gets separated from the others. Lost in the goblin tunnels, he stumbles across a mysterious ring and encounters Gollum, who engages him in a game of riddles; as a reward for solving all riddles Gollum will show him the path out of the tunnels, but if Bilbo fails, his life will be forfeit. With the help of the ring, which confers invisibility, Bilbo escapes and rejoins the dwarves, improving his reputation with them; the goblins and Wargs give chase, but the company are saved by eagles before resting in the house of Beorn.
The company enters the black forest of Mirkwood without Gandalf. In Mirkwood, Bilbo first saves the dwarves from giant spiders and from the dungeons of the Wood-elves. Nearing the Lonely Mountain, the travellers are welcomed by the human inhabitants of Lake-town, who hope the dwarves will fulfil prophecies of Smaug's demise; the expedition finds the secret door. The enraged dragon, deducing that Lake-town has aided the intruder, sets out to destroy the town. A thrush had overheard Bilbo's report of Smaug's vulnerability and reports it to Lake-town defender Bard. Bard's arrow slays the dragon; when the dwarves take possession of the mountain, Bilbo finds the Arkenstone, an heirloom of Thorin's dynasty, hides it away. The Wood-elves and Lake-men besiege the mountain and request compensation for their aid, reparations for Lake-town's destruction, settlement of old claims on the treasure. Thorin refuses and, reinforces his position. Bilbo tries to ransom the A
John Howe (illustrator)
John Howe is a Canadian book illustrator, living in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. One year after graduating from high school, he studied in a college in Strasbourg, France at the École des arts décoratifs in the same town, he is best known for his work based on J. R. R. Tolkien's worlds. Howe and Tolkien artist Alan Lee served as chief conceptual designers for Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, Howe did the illustration for the Lord of the Rings board game created by Reiner Knizia. Howe re-illustrated the maps of The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion in 1996–2003, his work is however not limited to this, includes images of myths such as the Anglo Saxon legend of Beowulf. Howe illustrated many other books, amongst which many belong to the fantasy genre He contributed to the film adaptation of The Lion, the Witch, the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis. In 2005 a limited edition of George R. R. Martin's novel A Clash of Kings was released by Meisha Merlin, complete with numerous illustrations by Howe.
Howe has illustrated cards for the Magic: The Gathering collectible card game. For The Hobbit films, original director Guillermo del Toro and replacement director Peter Jackson both consulted with Howe and fellow conceptual artist Alan Lee to ensure continuity of design. Howe is a member of the living history group the Company of Saynt George, has considerable expertise in ancient and medieval armour and armaments. John Howe was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, he was drawing with his mother's help. Around primary school age he found his mother's ability no longer living up to his expectations, got frustrated once at both his mother and himself at not being able to draw a cow to his expectations. Howe's school years were complicated by moves which took place with a timing that left the art classes full, left him in classes like power mechanics, he did find his ability as a draughtsman to be profitable in biology class though, where he and a friend would produce renderings of microscopic organisms for classmates at fifty cents each.
As a child, he collected the covers of paperbacks. His collection included items from Frank Frazetta, Barry Smith, Bernie Wrightson. In his adolescence, Howe read The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien, he said he got "a real spark" from the Hildebrandt calendars, which showed him that the books could be illustrated. Howe made drawings of his own versions of the scenes depicted in the calendar; these drawings, according to Howe, may not have survived. A year after his high school graduation, Howe found himself in France attending college; the following year, he enrolled into the École des arts décoratifs. He cites his experience of this period as follows: The first year was spent not understanding much, the second at odds with what I did manage to understand, the third eager to get out, although in retrospect I owe whatever clarity of thought I possess to the patience of the professor of Illustration. Throughout his first years in Europe, Howe was taking in as much as he could in the way of art and everything, "simultaneously ancient and novel."
He says the only piece of his art work that survived from this period is his "The Lieutenant of the Black Tower of Barad-dûr", a piece inspired by Tolkien's, The Lord of the Rings. He says if this is not his first published piece, it must be the earliest. Howe's earliest commissions included political cartoons, magazine illustrations, animated films, advertising, of which he says were nightmares, he said that he would end up redoing sketches so many times that there was nothing left of "his" in them. This frustrated him, he wondered how he would make it in the profession. Projects in which Howe worked include The Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien's Books and Merchandise, Robin Hobb's books, The Lion, The Witch, The Wardrobe, Cards for Magic: The Gathering, The Hobbit, Pan's Labyrinth. Howe has written and illustrated children's books; the Fisherman & His Wife, transl. From Brothers Grimm. ISBN 0871919370 — picture book The Enchanted World: Night Creatures The Enchanted World: Water Spirits The Enchanted World: Dwarfs The Enchanted World: Giants and Ogres Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving, retold by John Howe ISBN 0316375780 Jack and the Beanstalk, retold by John Howe ISBN 0316375799 Knights: A 3-Dimensional Exploration ISBN 978-1-85707-071-2 The Knight With the Lion: The Story of Yvain ISBN 978-0-316-37583-2 A Diversity of Dragon by Anne McCaffrey with Richard Woods ISBN 978-0-689-31868-9 Images of Middle-Earth ISBN 978-0-261-10310-8 The Maps of Tolkien's Middle-earth by Brian Sibley ISBN 978-0-618-39110-3 The King of Winter's Daughter ISBN 978-0-316-88837-0 Fantasy Encyclopedia Wizardology: The Book of the Secrets of Merlin Myth and Magic: The Art of John Howe ISBN 978-0-7607-8686-4 Fantasy Art Workshop ISBN 978-1-60061-009-7 Forging Dragons: Inspirations and Techniques for Drawing and Painting Dragons ISBN 978-1-60061-323-4 Fantasy Drawing Workshop ISBN 978-1-60061-773-7 Lost Worlds ISBN 978-0-7534-6107-5 Works inspired by J. R. R. Tolkien Official website An interview with John Howe John Howe at the
Songs for the Philologists
Songs for the Philologists is a collection of poems by E. V. Gordon and J. R. R. Tolkien as well as traditional songs, it is the most difficult to find Tolkien-related book. A collection of typescripts compiled by Gordon in 1921–26 for the students of the University of Leeds, it was given by A. H. Smith of University College London, a former student at Leeds, to a group of students to be printed in 1935 or 1936, printed in 1936 with the impressuum "Printed by G. Tillotson, A. H. Smith, B. Pattison and other members of the English Department, University College, London." Since Smith had not asked permission of either Gordon or Tolkien, the printed booklets were not distributed. Most copies were destroyed in a fire, only a few around 14, survived. Of the 30 songs in the collection, 13 were contributed by Tolkien: From One to Five, to the tune of Three Wise Men of Gotham. Syx Mynet, to the tune of I Love Sixpence. Ruddoc Hana, to the tune of Who Killed Cock Robin'. Ides Ælfscýne, to the tune of Daddy Neptune.
Reprinted, together with a Modern English translation in The Road to Middle-earth. Bagmē Blōma, to the tune of Lazy Sheep. Reprinted, together with a Modern English translation in The Road to Middle-earth. Éadig Béo þu!. to the tune of Twinkle, Little Star. Reprinted, together with a Modern English translation in The Road to Middle-earth. Ofer Wídne Gársecg, to the tune of The Mermaid. Reprinted, together with a Modern English translation in The Road to Middle-earth. La Húru, to the tune of O’Reilly. I Sat to the tune of The Carrion Crow. Natura Apis: Morali Ricardi Eremite to the tune of O’Reilly; the Root of the Boot, to the tune of The Fox Went Out. Reprinted in Anderson’s Annotated Hobbit, in a revised form in The Return of the Shadow. Reprinted in The Tolkien Papers: Mankato Studies in English. Revised and printed in The Lord of the Rings and The Adventures of Tom Bombadil as'The Stone Troll'. Frenchmen Froth, to the tune of The Vicar of Bray. Lit' and Lang', to the tune of Polly Put the Kettle On.
TolkienBooks.net - Songs for the Philologists Songs for the Philologists by J. R. R. Tolkien E. V. Gordon - article and review
The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun
The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun is a poem of 508 lines, written by J. R. R. Tolkien in 1930 and published in Welsh Review in December 1945. Aotrou and Itroun are Breton words for "lord" and "lady"; the poem is modelled on the genre of the "Breton lay" popular in Middle English literature of the 12th century, it explores the conflict of heroic or chivalric values and Christianity, their relation to the institution of marriage. A major source for the poem has been identified as the Breton song'An Aotrou Nann hag ar Gorigann', which Tolkien knew through Wimberly's Folklore in the English and Scottish Ballads. Tolkien adds to his source a stern moral - repudiation of all traffic with the supernatural. In the poem and Itroun are a couple of Breton nobility, they are childless, Aotrou seeks the help of a witch. When Itroun is with child, the witch reappears, revealing herself as the Corrigan, asks for Aotrou's love as payment. Aotrou sacrifices his knightly honour to Christian values, breaks his word. "I gave no love.
My love is wed. Aotrou died followed by his wife with a broken heart, they are buried together, they do not live to see their offspring grow up - something, interpreted as a judgement on Aotrou for excessive family pride. The lay was published in The Welsh Review in 1945 but had been unavailable for decades. A book form, edited by Tolkien scholar Verlyn Flieger, was published on 3 November 2016. Flieger edited Tolkien's The Story of Kullervo. A. Lewis ed. Leaves from the Tree T. Keightly, The Fairy Mythology