J.R.R. Tolkien discussion

On the Perilous Road: An Unauthorised Biography of J.R.R.Tolkien
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Tolkien's Life & Times > A New Biography: Fair or Foul?

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message 1: by Michael (last edited Jul 10, 2016 05:21AM) (new)

Michael | 453 comments Mod
I was alerted to this new Tolkien biography by Wayne G. Hammond's excoriating blog post.

Given Hammond's well-deserved reputation as a scholar, and particularly as a Tolkien scholar, I'm inclined to take him at his word in his criticisms of Elansea's research and tendency to make unwarranted assumptions. I wonder if anybody in the group has read On the Perilous Road: An Unauthorised Biography of J.R.R.Tolkien, or the earlier offering, J.R.R.Tolkien: Codemaker, Spy-Master, Hero: Au Unauthorised Biography, which describes Tolkien's supposed career as a spy? If so, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.

The idea that significant figures who were active during the World Wars may have been spies or intelligence agents might, perhaps, be something of a more general topic of speculation. I've read the same theory in respect of Harry Houdini in The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of the World's Greatest Mystifier by William Kalush. Does anybody know of other "celebrity" figures to whom a career in the twilight world of espionage has been ascribed?


message 2: by Neil (new)

Neil | 13 comments I'd like to bet Tolkien had something to do with code breaking. Frederick Norman the other big philologist in the uk certainly did.


message 3: by Michael (new)

Michael | 453 comments Mod
It's not an unappealing idea, though you might have expected some mention of it from the man himself.


message 4: by Neil (new)

Neil | 13 comments There's hardly anything on Frederick Norman's role at Bletchley Park but it's known that he worked there. He also didn't produce much written academic work like Tolkien. Both of them where seriously the top Germanic philologists of the day. They would be first choice for any government. I'm not saying that Tolkien did anything, but it wouldn't surprise me.


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