O Tolkienovi je známo, že byl mimo jiné i skvělým vypravěčem.
Svým přednesem Beowulfa dokázal nadchnout stovky studentů na Oxfordu. Pokud
Vás stejně jako mě zajímá, jak vlastně Tolkien hovořil, tak nyní máte
možnost poslechnout si jeho hlas ...
se nachází rozhovor s tímto geniálním spisovatelem, který byl odvysílán
v lednu 1971 na BBC Radio 4 v programu "'Now Read On ...". Otázky
kladl Dennis Gerrolt. Záznam je ve formátu Real Audio (přehrávač naleznete
např. na www.real.com), trvá téměř 10
minut a má okolo 1135 Kb. Určitě obětujte tu trošku času a stáhněte si ho.
Můžete to učinit například tak, že na odkaz kliknete pravým tlačítkem
myši a vyberete "Uložit cíl jako ...".
Pokud by Vám náhodou činilo potíže Tolkienovi porozumět (a
že mě to potíže činilo), tak se snad zorientujete alespoň podle tohoto přepisu
T: ...long before I wrote The Hobbit and long before I wrote this I had
constructed this world mythology.
G: So you had some sort of scheme on which it was possible to work?
T: Immense sagas, yes ... it got sucked in as The Hobbit did itself, the
Hobbit was originally not part of it at all but as soon as it got moving out
into the world it got moved into it's activities.
[realistic BBC match striking sound effect]
G: So your characters and your story really took charge.
T: [lights pipe]
G: I say took charge, I don't mean that you were completely under their
spell or anything of this sort...
T: Oh no no, I don't wander about dreaming at all, it isn't an obsession in
any way. You have this sensation that at this point A, B, C, D only A or one
of them is right and you've got to wait until you see. I had maps of course.
If you're going to have a complicated story you must work to a map
otherwise you can never make a map of it afterwards. The moons I think finally
were the moons and sunset worked out according to what they were in this part
of the world in 1942 actually. [pipe goes out]
G: You began in '42 did you, to write it?
T: Oh no, I began as soon as The Hobbit was out - in the '30s.
G: It was finally finished just before it was published...
T: I wrote the last ... in about 1949 - I remember I actually wept at the
denouement. But then of course there was a tremendous lot of revision. I typed
the whole of that work out twice and lots of it many times, on a bed in an
attic. I couldn't afford of course the typing. There's some mistakes too and
also [relights pipe] it amuses me to say, as I suppose I'm in a position where
it doesn't matter what people think of me now - there were some frightful
mistakes in grammar, which from a Professor of English Language and Lit are
G: I hadn't noticed any.
T: There was one where I used bestrode as the past participle of bestride!
G: Do you feel any sense of guilt at all that as a philologist, as a
Professor of English Language with which you were concerned with the factual
sources of language, you devoted a large part of your life to a fictional
T: No. I'm sure its done the language a lot of good! There's quite a lot of
linguistic wisdom in it. I don't feel any guilt complex about The Lord of the
G: Have you a particular fondness for these comfortable homely things of
life that the Shire embodies: the home and pipe and fire and bed - the homely
T: Haven't you?
G: Haven't you Professor Tolkien?
T: Of course, yes.
G: You have a particular fondness then for Hobbits?
T: That's why I feel at home... The Shire is very like the kind of world in
which I first became aware of things, which was perhaps more poignant to me as
I wasn't born here, I was born in Bloomsdale in South Africa. I was very young
when I got back but at the same time it bites into your memory and imagination
even if you don't think it has. If your first Christmas tree is a wilting
eucalyptus and if you're normally troubled by heat and sand - then, to have
just at the age when imagination is opening out, suddenly find yourself in a
quiet Warwickshire village, I think it engenders a particular love of what you
might call central Midlands English countryside, based on good water, stones
and elm trees and small quiet rivers and so on, and of course rustic people
G: At what age did you come to England?
T: I suppose I was about three and a half. Pretty poignant of course
because one of the things why people say they don't remember is - it's like
constantly photographing the same thing on the same plate. Slight changes
simply make a blur. But if a child had a sudden break like that, it's
conscious. What it tries to do is fit the new memories onto the old. I've got
a perfectly clear vivid picture of a house that I now know is in fact a
beautifully worked out pastiche of my own home in Bloomfontein and my
grandmother's house in Birmingham. I can still remember going down the road in
Birmingham and wondering what had happened to the big gallery, what happened
to the balcony. Consequently I do remember things extremely well, I can
remember bathing in the Indian Ocean when I was not quite two and I remember
it very clearly.
G: Frodo accepts the burden of the Ring and he embodies as a character the
virtues of long suffering and perseverance and by his actions one might almost
say in the Buddhist sense he 'aquires merit'. He becomes in fact almost a
Christ figure. Why did you choose a halfling, a hobbit for this role?
T: I didn't. I didn't do much choosing, I wrote The Hobbit you see ... all
I was trying to do was carry on from the point where The Hobbit left off. I'd
got hobbits on my hands hadn't I.
G: Indeed, but there's nothing particularly Christ-like about Bilbo.
G: But in the face of the most appalling danger he struggles on and
continues, and wins through.
T: But that seems I suppose more like an allegory of the human race. I've
always been impressed that we're here surviving because of the indomitable
courage of quite small people against impossible odds: jungles, volcanoes,
wild beasts... they struggle on, almost blindly in a way.
G: I thought that conceivably Midgard might be Middle-earth or have some
T: Oh yes, they're the same word. Most people have made this mistake of
thinking Middle-earth is a particular kind of Earth or is another planet of
the science fiction sort but it's just an old fashioned word for this world we
live in, as imagined surrounded by the Ocean.
G: It seemed to me that Middle-earth was in a sense as you say this world
we live in but at a different era.
T: No ... at a different stage of imagination, yes.
G: Did you intend in Lord of the Rings that certain races should embody
certain principles: the elves wisdom, the dwarves craftsmanship, men husbandry
and battle and so forth?
T: I didn't intend it but when you've got these people on your hands you've
got to make them different haven't you. Well of course as we all know
ultimately we've only got humanity to work with, it's only clay we've got. We
should all - or at least a large part of the human race - would like to have
greater power of mind, greater power of art by which I mean that the gap
between the conception and the power of execution should be shortened, and we
should like a longer if not indefinite time in which to go on knowing more and
Therefore the Elves are immortal in a sense. I had to use immortal, I didn't
mean that they were eternally immortal, merely that they are very longeval and
their longevity probably lasts as long as the inhabitability of the Earth.
The dwarves of course are quite obviously - wouldn't you say that in many ways
they remind you of the Jews? Their words are Semitic obviously, constructed to
be Semitic. Hobbits are just rustic English people, made small in size because
it reflects (in general) the small reach of their imagination - not the small
reach of their courage or latent power.
G: This seems to be one of the great strengths of the book, this enormous
conglomeration of names - one doesn't get lost, at least after the second
T: I'm very glad you told me that because I took a great deal of trouble.
Also it gives me great pleasure, a good name. I always in writing start with a
name. Give me a name and it produces a story, not the other way about normally.
G: Of the languages you know which were the greatest help to you in writing
The Lord of the Rings?
T: Oh lor ... of modern languages I should have said Welsh has always
attracted me by it's style and sound more than any other, ever though I first
only saw it on coal trucks, I always wanted to know what it was about.
G: It seems to me that the music of Welsh comes through in the names you've
chosen for mountains and for places in general.
T: Very much. But a much rarer, very potent influence on myself has been
G: Is the book to be considered as an allegory?
T: No. I dislike allegory whenever I smell it.
G: Do you consider the world declining as the Third Age declines in your
book and do you see a Fourth Age for the world at the moment, our world?
T: At my age I'm exactly the kind of person who has lived through one of
the most quickly changing periods known to history. Surely there could never
be in seventy years so much change.
G: There's an autumnal quality throughout the whole of The Lord of the
Rings, in one case a character says the story continues but I seem to have
dropped out of it ... however everything is declining, fading, at least
towards the end of the Third Age every choice tends to the upsetting of some
tradition. Now this seems to me to be somewhat like Tennyson's "the old
order changeth, yielding place to new, and God fulfills himself in many ways".
Where is God in The Lord of the Rings?
T: He's mentioned once or twice.
G: Is he the One?...
T: The One, yes.
G: Are you a theist?
T: Oh, I'm a Roman Catholic. Devout Roman Catholic.
G: Do you wish to be remembered chiefly by your writings on philology and
other matters or by The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit?
T: I shouldn't have thought there was much choice in the matter - if I'm
remembered at all it will be by The Lord of the Rings I take it. Won't it be
rather like the case of Longfellow, people remember Longfellow wrote Hiawatha,
quite forget he was a Professor of Modern Languages!