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The Lord of the Rings: Tolkien's Legacy
To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the publication of the final volume of Tolkien’s fantasy epic, The Lord of the Rings, the Bodleian Libraries and TORCH hosted a panel discussion on reactions to Tolkien’s work, then and now. The discussion was introduced by Elleke Boehmer (Acting TORCH Director and Professor of World Literature, University of Oxford), and chaired by Stuart Lee (Lecturer in English Literature, University of Oxford).
In a series of three short talks, scholars considered Tolkien's legacy from a range of perspectives. Patrick Curry (Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Wales, Lampeter) addressed the question: “Is the Lord of the Rings a good book?”, describing Tolkien as a counter-culturalist who focused on the “primacy of storytelling”. Dimitra Fimi (Lecturer in English, Cardiff Metropolitan University) discussed the challenges and opportunities of teaching Tolkien's work, and examined why his work is rarely a compulsory part of the university curriculum in the UK. Andy Orchard (Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon, University of Oxford), who holds the same chair at the University of Oxford that Tolkien held from 1925 – 1945, explored Tolkien's contribution to academia, which he suggested rivals his contribution to fiction. The panel also discussed a range of topics, including uptake of Old Norse, the literary canon and Tolkien's work with DPhil students, in response to audience questions.