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Tolkien Research 2009 ["This year’s findings in Tolkien Studies from eBay"]

Subject: Tolkien Research 2009 ["This year’s findings in Tolkien Studies from eBay"]
by Trotter on 2009/12/17 11:24:06

In this article I aim to discuss an area of Tolkien research that has not been given the attention it deserves by traditional Tolkien scholars such as Findegil.

After doing “a very deep study” I present “This year’s findings in Tolkien Studies from eBay”. I intend to stick to the principles of eBay and avoid any verifiable facts, documentation, references, provenance, proof, etc. as it just gets in the way.

1 – Distrust of the Royal Mail
We found out that for a period of Tolkien’s life he choose to turn his back on the traditional and well-served method of writing letters i.e. putting them in an envelope and posting them. Possibly he developed a fear of post boxes and chose instead to leave them in stranger’s lofts or attics. There is also evidence that other authors and celebrities such as T.E. Lawrence, Winston Churchill and C.S. Lewis were also doing the same thing, so there was a chance that the letters could cross if both parties picked the same loft to leave them in.

I am very glad that Tolkien ended this practice for at least the 354 letters that were published by Humphrey Carpenter. I am sure that Humphrey would have found the job much harder if he had to inspect all the UK lofts and attics to find the letters.

2 – Real and Imaginary Friends
Tolkien as we all know had a fantastic imagination with which he created his “legendarium”. He also used his imagination to invent a special Doctor friend called “Higgins”. Tolkien did correspond with real Doctor’s but he also liked to type letters to his imaginary friend “Higgins”. Possibly, he was also drunk while typing these letters to his real and imaginary friends as his typing was appalling and he forgot how to spell his close friends names.

We are also shown a preference for leaving letters to “Higgins” in loft’s in the Bournemouth area of England.

3 - Blue signatures
Again for Tolkien’s special friends (either real or imaginary), Tolkien used a special blue ink pen to sign his typed letters. It appears that he was concerned at running out of his special blue ink in the pen so always typed these letters and then signed them. In every case though they were always left in a loft, never posted.

4 - Time Travel
It came out this year, though sadly not on a reliable site like eBay, that Tolkien and Lewis were looking to collaborate on a story about Time Travel. We have now discovered that Tolkien time travelled from the 1960’s to the 1970’s in order to get a single sheet of paper to type a letter destined for yet another loft.

I am looking forward to finding out how Tolkien did this, as he forgot to include details in the letter.

What new revelations will be thrown up by eBay in the next year, to be included in the 2010 studies? One real area of concern is, Was Tolkien breaking into stranger's houses in order to leave signed letters and books? eBay strongly suggests he was and we know that he has written a book which starred a burglar.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.

Dr Trotter (PHD, University of eBay) (as real a doctor as "Higgins")