Sunday, 6 November 2011

The Hobbit

I follow a Cambridge cleric called Malcom Guite on Facebook
. He has been giving a series of talks on The Inklings, the group of academics who used to meet to read each other their own work. The group included C. S. (The Lion , The Witch and The Wardrobe) Lewis and J R R (The Lord of the Rings) Tolkien. I somehow missed out on reading Tolkein, and am going to start with The Hobbit. Malcolm Guite's seductive lecture on Tolkein's imaginary world argues that his vision is essential to compensate for the reductive, atomised nature of our modern scientific and technological world. There is a no doubt apocryphal anecdote that when Tolkein started to read one evening, one Inkling exclaimed 'Not another f*cking elf'. There will always be sceptics. Talking of scepticism: I published a haunting photograph yesterday, taken by my cousin James, of my mother standing in the sea, staring into the distance off the island of Spargi in Sardinia in 1960. She knew by then that my father was seriously involved with the woman who became my stepmother - he used to beetle off to the post office in La Maddalena to collect letters from her and post his replies. There is a brilliant study of the truth behind family photographs by Halla Beloff, professor of psychology at Edinburgh University. I looked online for a reference to it with no success, so have asked her to let me have chapter and verse. My cousin James recorded an interview also available online about his many years living and collaborating with Karl -Heinz Stockhausen His holiday snaps reveal a remarkable gift for photography too.

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