Inside Tolkien’s mind

Thursday 4 March 2004

An insight into the mind of J. R. R. Tolkien – years before the release of his fantasy epic The Lord of the Rings – will be given at the University of St Andrews next week (Monday 8 March 2004).

Sixty-five years after his public lecture at the University, a one- day symposium on Tolkien’s work will be held. In addition to a series of short lectures and discussion, there will be a dramatic reading of part of Tolkien’s original lecture.

On 8 March 1939, Tolkien delivered the Andrew Lang Lecture – “On Fairy-Stories”. Among other things, the lecture addressed the importance of the fantastic imagination. While Tolkien’s own epic was still some years away from publication, its world was already taking clear shape in his mind. Tolkien’s message was that human beings cannot do without fantasy and that a world driven relentlessly by the demands of a mere scientific or political economy will finally be a joyless world in which hope and the humane cannot survive.

Tolkien’s works have enjoyed a new lease of life through their recent adaptation for the cinema. This week, Peter Jackson’s The Return of the King (adapted from the third volume of The Lord of the Rings) has won no fewer than eleven Oscars.

The public event, which is free of charge, is organised by the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts and will be held in Parliament Hall, South Street, St Andrews.

The reading will be given by actor, author and BBC Radio 4 presenter Nigel Forde. The day will end with a special Andrew Lang Lecture by Professor David Lyle Jeffrey, Distinguished Professor of Literature and the Humanities and Provost of Baylor University, Texas. His title will be ‘Foundational Literatures and the Future of Literary Studies: Was Tolkien Right?’.

For further details contact the School of Divinity on 01334 462850, or see


Issued by Beattie Media On behalf of the University of St Andrews For more information, please contact Contact Claire Grainger – 01334 462530, 07730 415 015 or [email protected]; Ref: press releases/tolkien View the latest University news at

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