Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=91603
I just got back from a preview from the new Tolkien film which tells the story of the life of J.R.R. Tolkien, the creator of Middle Earth and author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. I’ll be reviewing the movie in next week’s Nashville Scene so no spoilers. Instead I’ll just say that bookish movies are notoriously difficult and I enjoyed the movie more than I thought I might. And when I came across this article about Tolkien’s own recordings of his works I was in the mood to share…
In the clips here, you can listen to Tolkien himself read from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, including a recording at the top of him reading one of the fantasy languages he invented, then created an entire world around, the Elvish tongue Quenya in the poem “Namarie.” Some of these YouTube clips have received their own cinematic treatment, in a YouTube sort of way, like the video below with a montage of Tolkien-inspired media and a dramatic score. This may or may not be to your liking, but the origin story of the recording deserves a mention.
Shown a tape recorder by a friend, whom Tolkien had visited to pick up a manuscript of The Lord of the Rings, the author decided to sit down and record himself. Delighted with the results, he agreed to read from The Hobbit. He liked the technology enough that he continued to record himself reading from his own work. Tolkien may not have desired to see his books turned into spectacles, but as we listen to him read, it’s hard to see how anyone could resist the temptation to put his magnificent descriptions on the big screen.
Check out the full Open Culture piece at the link above. Before you go see Tolkien at the theater — if you’re reading this post you’d likely enjoy the film — listen to the man himself read his famous words. Try to imagine what he imagined when he wrote them. That’s the stuff at the center of this new movie which is an important entry in the saga of Middle Earth on screen…
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