Guys, listen up, here’s something nice that happened because of Tumblr.
A few months ago I got a few asks about Oxford and Cambridge and I basically said I wouldn’t feel comfortable studying there and that I felt they were elitist and unwelcoming to people who didn’t fit the ‘Oxbridge mould’.
After that a few current students from Oxford, Cambridge and other elite universities sent me messages and replies telling me about their experiences and how they didn’t match my idea of those universities. I spoke to a few people about it and I began to take on a different idea about those places.
Fast forward to today and I have just accepted an offer to go to Oxford as a graduate student to read the PGCE Secondary Religious Education. Whilst I still feel apprehensive about Oxford I am incredibly happy to be going and to hopefully have my preconceptions rebuffed and to contribute to the changing culture of the university. I really feel like I’m going to be challenged by Oxford’s rigorous academic postgraduate education and I’m even excited about the chance to join and live in a college.
So thank you everyone for making me more broad minded about universities. I would never have applied to Oxford without having had those conversations and now I am going to be an Oxford student. Incredible.
On this day in 1937, J.R.R Tolkein’s fantasy novel The
Hobbit, or There and Back Again was published in the United Kingdom. The novel follows the adventures of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, as he assists a group of dwarves to reclaim their homeland, and tries to claim a share of treasure guarded by the fearsome dragon Smaug. Tolkein, an academic at Oxford University, found inspiration for the novel in his studies of Old Norse mythology and language. Upon completion, Tolkein had several notable literary friends, including C.S. Lewis of Narnia fame, read the manuscript. The novel was published by George Allen & Unwin Ltd. in September 1937, with an initial run of 1,500 copies, which quickly sold out. The Hobbit was a great
success, popular among adults and reviewers despite its childlike tone, and was nominated for the Carnegie Medal. The popularity of The Hobbit led Tolkein’s publisher to request a sequel, which became The Fellowship of the Ring (1954), the first book in The Lord of
the Rings series. His work on these novels led Tolkein to amend certain portions of The Hobbit to accommodate Middle Earth lore introduced in the new books. The Fellowship of the Ring was followed by The Two Towers and The Return of the King, and the trilogy - along with its precursor The Hobbit - remain immensely popular literary classics.
“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet
hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry,
bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a
hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.”
Joss Ackland narrates a search through the BBC archives for unheard gems from J. R. R. Tolkien, as Oxford academic Dr Stuart Lee, discovers the unheard offcuts from an interview given by the author.
Tolkien gave the interview for a BBC film in 1968, but only a tiny part of it was used in the broadcast programme. It was one of only a handful of recorded interviews he ever gave, and was also to be his last. Dr Lee’s search for the unbroadcast rushes takes him to the depths of the BBC film archives and back to the making of the original film, Tolkien, in Oxford.
For the director, Leslie Megahey, only 23 at the time, this was his first film, and the one that launched a prestigious career. The programme reunites him with three others: researcher Patrick O’Sullivan, Tolkien fan Michael Hebbert, and critic Valentine Cunningham, who describes how he was brought in to be the voice of dissent – challenging the burgeoning Tolkien cult spreading from America.
What emerges is a picture of a playful academic whose fiction was little respected by adults at the time and looked down on as a lesser form of literature. But he is robustly defended by Professor Tom Shippey and remembered fondly by his colleague Dr Roger Highfield.
Lee presents the results of his search through the archives to Dr Dimitra Fimi, who considers any new words from Tolkien’s mouth as “gold”, while for Lee, the real dragon’s hoard is the privilege of hearing Tolkien in relaxed mode reflecting on his life as never before.