"Though J.R.R. Tolkien arrived at Exeter College as a Classics (Great Books) scholar, he found his real passion resided in Germanic and Northern language and myth. Actually, he loved all myth, but it was northern myth that most inspired him, especially the languages behind the myths. Mr. Garth does a wonderful job making the various classes Tolkien took as alive today as they were for him a century ago."
This is an interesting review of John Garth's book on Tolkien at Exeter. The book is titled Tolkien at Exeter College: How An Oxford Undergraduate Created Middle-earth (66 pages, Exeter College, 2015). The review is written by Bradley J. Birzer.
Never judge a book by its size. This little book is only sixty-three pages long, but its author, John Garth, knows very well how to write concisely and vigorously—White and Strunk would be proud. In other words, there is a lot in this short book.
Tolkien would be proud as well, for Mr. Garth does him nothing but justice. And, in what must be a bizarre coincidence, the two authors share not just a first name, but Garth actually means “beloved” in Tolkien’s Gnomish language of 1917. John Garth, is, quite truly, “John the Beloved.”
Mr. Garth’s longer book—the one that made him justly famous—Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-earth (Houghton Mifflin, 2003) is not only a must own, but, arguably, the finest scholarly book yet written on Tolkien as a man and a thinker. In that book, Mr. Garth ably demonstrated the necessity of friendship, association, and fellowship in Tolkien’s real and invented worlds.
Read it all here.
Related reading: Who Were The Inklings?; Tolkien's Hobbit at Age 75; J.R.R. Tolkien: Hope for the Older Writer; Tolkien Trained as a Spy; INDEX of Topics at One on One: The Writing Life