William Cater Interviews J.R.R. Tolkien, 1972

Excerpts from: Cater, William. “More and More People are Getting the J.R.R. Tolkien Habit.” Los Angeles Times (April 9, 1972), 14, 18.

And “future students of Norse legend or early English poetry (the subjects of Tolkien’s academic life) will exclaim that they are ‘full of Tolkien,’ like the man who complained that Shakespeare was all quotations.  Tolkien once told me he had been distressed that the English had few myths of their own and had to live on foreign borrowings, ‘so I thought I’d make one myself.’” (Cater, Tolkien Interview, 1972, p. 14)

“He also declares he has given enough interviews for a lifetime, for one thing they add to the interruptions which have delayed completion of his next work, ‘The Silmarillion.’” (Cater, Tolkien Interview, 1972, p. 14)

“At a time when it was distinctly unfashionable for undergraduates to be enthusiastic about anything, a Tolkien lecture received a standing ovation; as one student said, with Tolkien you were in the meadhall; he was the bard you were the drinking, listening guests.” (Cater, Tolkien Interview, 1972, p. 14)

“The pernicketyness means there are few loose ends to his plots; when people march in his books they do so not on some random heroic scale but according to Field Service Regulation distances.  Genealogies, summarized histories, designs for the invented languages overflow Tolkien’s files.  ‘Of course,’ he once said, ‘the elfish language is deliberately made to follow to some extent the same type of changes that turned primitive Celtic into Welsh.’” (Cater, Tolkien Interview, 1972, p. 14)

“He is as spry as most of us could wish to be on our 80th birthday, with the most humourous eye I’ve ever seen on mortal man.” (Cater, Tolkien Interview, 1972, p. 14)

“The temptations of climate and tax-relief which lure successful authors to the Mediterranean pass him by because, he asks, what pleasure could there be in living in a foreign country where you couldn’t make jokes or understand other peoples?” (Cater, Tolkien Interview, 1972, p. 14)

“For the rest, he can only be described through his own creatures: There’s a considerable amount of the gentleness, love of strange tongues and veiled lightning of Gandalf the wizard; a touch of the Ents–he loves trees; a little of the hidden imperiousness of Aragorn.  And more than a little Hobbit.” (Cater, Tolkien Interview, 1972, p. 14)

About bradbirzer

By day, I'm a father of seven and husband of one. By night, I'm an author, a biographer, and a prog rocker. Interests: Rush, progressive rock, cultural criticisms, the Rocky Mountains, individual liberty, history, hiking, and science fiction.
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