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University of Leeds

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University of Leeds

The University of Leeds is a centre for learning in the city of Leeds in Yorkshire, England. J.R.R. Tolkien taught there between 1920 and 1925; first as Reader but later a full Professor.

Contents

[edit] Tolkien at Leeds

The University was Tolkien's second post-war employer. After the New English Dictionary and a year of tutoring students in Oxford, Tolkien decided to apply for a post at the University of Leeds. Tolkien had an interview with George S. Gordon, the University's Professor of English, in June 1920.[1] It was a fruitful job interview: Tolkien was appointed a Reader in English Language in October of the same year, with a free commission to develop the linguistic side of a large and growing School of English Studies.[2]

The start was rough: though Gordon found Tolkien a room in Leeds,[3] Edith and young John still lived in Oxford. In weekends, Tolkien would go to his family - now expanded with the birth of Michael. Not until 1921 did Tolkien get full housing for his family, first at 5 Holly Bank[4] and then at 11 St. Mark's Terrace.[5] They later moved to 2 Darnley Road.[6]

Under Gordon, Tolkien began focusing on philology, and taught various courses, such as "History of English", "Middle English texts", "Old and Middle English philology", "introductory Germanic philology", the second-year course "Old Icelandic" and "Medieval Welsh".[2] He might even have continued to fret on some of his hardest assignments of his time at the OED; several notes of his time show his added thoughts on "walrus" and "walnut" in Leeds notebooks.[7] The post of Reader was changed into a Professorship,[3] and in 1922, Tolkien was joined by E.V. Gordon.[5] Together, they started work on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and Tolkien continued to work on his A Middle English Vocabulary.[8] A year later, they would be joined by Lascelles Abercrombie[3] and Wilfred Rowland Childe.[9]

Tolkien left Leeds somewhat abruptly in 1925 when he was elected to the Rawlinson and Bosworth Professorship of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford, so that he actually occupied both posts simultaneously for the duration of 1926.[3] Reflecting on his time at Leeds in a later letter, Tolkien refuted the idea that he did not enjoy his time there:

I was devoted to the University of Leeds, which was very good to me, and to the students, whom I left with regret. The present students are among my most attentive readers...[10]

[edit] Publications

Tolkien contributed several poems to The Gryphon, Yorkshire Poetry, A Northern Venture and Leeds University Verse. He also finished stories that would later become The Book of Lost Tales Part One.[5]

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. Humphrey Carpenter, J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography, "Oxford Interlude"
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 7, (dated 27 June 1935)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 46, (dated 26 November 1941)
  4. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (2006), The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide: I. Chronology, "1921"
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Humphrey Carpenter, J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography, "Northern venture"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Baillie Tolkien (ed.), Letters from Father Christmas
  7. Peter Gilliver, Edmund Weiner and Jeremy Marshall, The Ring of Words: Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary, p. 23
  8. Wayne G. Hammond, Douglas A. Anderson, J.R.R. Tolkien: A Descriptive Bibliography, "A: Books by J.R.R. Tolkien"
  9. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (2006), The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide: I. Chronology, "1922"
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 229, (dated 23 February 1961)

[edit] External links