University of Glasgow is set to honour Lord of the Rings writer JRR Tolkien, on the 70th anniversary of his visit to the campus.
Author of two of the biggest-selling books of all time, Tolkien is widely regarded as the “father” of modern fantasy literature.
When he visited the university 70 years ago, he had written The Hobbit and was on the cusp of publishing the first volume of The Lord of the Rings.
In 1953, the then-Oxford University Merton Professor of English Language and Literature was in Scotland to give a lecture on late 14th-century poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
The poem is a source text for modern fantasy and was an inspiration for Tolkien in his Middle-earth mythology.
This year, academics at the university’s Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic will celebrate his Glasgow connection with a special event to mark the lecture’s 70th anniversary.
The hybrid event will be held on Thursday, April 27, from 5pm to 6:30pm at the Joseph Black Building for those attending in person.
Dr Dimitra Fimi, senior lecturer in Fantasy and Children’s Literature at the University of Glasgow said: “It was a thrill to discover more about Tolkien’s lecture at Glasgow and this fascinating connection to the city, including the venue it was held, and the handwritten letter by Tolkien in our archives.
“Today 70 years later at the University of Glasgow, Tolkien’s own work is on the curriculum of our Fantasy MLitt programme, and we have various PhD students working on Tolkien.”
Dr Andoni Cossio, postdoctoral fellow, Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic, said: “As a schoolboy, Tolkien had a great affection for Sir Gawain and the Green Knight poem, which even led to occasional recitations of certain passages for his friends.
“By the time of the Glasgow lecture, Tolkien had a deep knowledge of the poem that he put to good use in his university teaching, supervision and lectures.
£Tolkien had also prepared and published an edition of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in 1925 (together with his colleague EV Gordon), which is remains today an important textbook for students studying the poem and helped establish it as a canonical text in medieval studies.
“During his 1953 W. P. Ker lecture, Tolkien quoted from his own Sir Gawain translation, which was later broadcast by the BBC. The University of Glasgow lecture was only accessible much later to a wider audience when it was published in 1983.”
Tickets are free and can be booked via Eventbrite.