Tolkien Collector's Guide

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In memory of Christopher Tolkien

Jan 16 (edited)
2020/1/16 19:32:27 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

French news is reporting that Christopher Tolkien passed away Wednesday night/Thursday morning. I will update this post with additional official news reporting as is becomes available.

Christopher has always been an amazing son, scholar, and estate executor. As a child he was an avid listener and a sharp sounding board for his father's writings. As an adult he was a robust scholar in his own right, but chose to dedicate his life to his father's legacy upon his passing in 1973. The insight, effort, and scholarship he brought to the Tolkien Estate allowed the world to see the inner workings of one of the greatest authors of our time - perhaps the best documented literary estate in the English language.

Christopher, your kindness, thoughtfulness, and support for your fans and fans of your father will always be remembered. I wish peace and comfort to your family and friends in this difficult time, and hope they all know how much you are loved, worldwide.

"You were so special a gift to me, in a time of sorrow and mental suffering, and your love, opening at once almost as soon as you were born, foretold to me, as it were in spoken words, that I am consoled ever by the certainty that there is no end to this. Probable under God that we shall meet again, 'in hale and in unity', before very long, dearest, and certain that we have some special bond to last beyond this life..."
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter to Christopher Tolkien, 30th April 1944.

"It is hard indeed to believe that one of so great wisdom, and of power – for many wonderful things he did among us – could perish, and so much lore be taken from the world."--JRR Tolkien, The Two Towers.

Namárië.
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Jan 17
2020/1/17 8:56:08 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Khamûl wrote:
Really sad to here about Christopher's death; feels like the end of an era.

I share your feelings of loss and ending, "this feels like an axe-blow near the roots". I am deeply sad to hear about Christopher's passing, but am equally grateful for (and in admiration of) his massive work in editing and publishing the works of his father.

"cwaédon þæt hé waére wyruldcyning
manna mildust ond monðwaérust"
[Beowulf, ll. 3180-31811]
Jan 17
2020/1/17 15:44:32 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
These are sad news!
The world would have been smaller and poorer without your fantastic work.
Thank you so much for travelling much longer in Middle Earth than ever expected. RIP Christopher!
Jan 17
2020/1/17 17:17:01 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
The Bodleian Libraries: The passing of a truly great scholar - Christopher Tolkien

Christopher will be remembered for his continued commitment to, and publication of, his father’s unfinished works, which include The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, Beren And Lúthien and The History of Middle-earth. It was Christopher who donated the Tolkien Archive to the Bodleian Libraries where the archive has been kept since 1979. It comprises the largest collection of original Tolkien manuscripts and drawings in the world.

Bodleian Library Publishing has been in the process of publishing a volume of essays to be presented as a Festschrift for Christopher Tolkien. This will now be published as a memorial volume to appear in 2020.
Jan 18
2020/1/18 10:29:04 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
BBC Radio 4 World at One, Christopher is at 33:21, https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000d7jt
Jan 18
2020/1/18 13:39:07 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Pity they couldn't find someone with a better grasp of what Christopher actually did to bring The Silmarillion into existence, and in publishing The History of Middle-earth.
Jan 18
2020/1/18 23:31:10 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Aelfwine wrote:
Pity they couldn't find someone with a better grasp of what Christopher actually did to bring The Silmarillion into existence, and in publishing The History of Middle-earth.

I agree, it sounded pretty good to me until she started saying that for Christopher it was “just a matter of taking [The Silmarillion manuscript] out of his father’s dead hands and putting it out there” and with the more recent books it was “largely rewriting with his father’s tone”. 🤦‍♂️
Jan 18
2020/1/18 23:36:10 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Deutsche Tolkien Gesellschaft: CHRISTOPHER TOLKIEN – THE LAST GOODBYE (EN)

A nice overview of Christopher’s life and works, with additional thoughts and contributions from Tobias M. Eckrich, Marcel Aubron-Bülles (Olwe), Tom Shippey, John Garth, Brian Sibley, Jeremy Edmonds (Urulókë), and Ted Nasmith.
Jan 20 (edited)
2020/1/20 13:53:21 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Thanks to Vincent Ferré for sharing, here is the official obituary notice in Le Monde.

Note the date is 16 January (not 15 January as widely reported).

Le Monde link (behind paywall) - Monday 20 January issue, p. 24

1_5e25b0b2ba9e7.jpeg 480X640 px
Jan 20
2020/1/20 15:27:12 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
That is not good, could take a long time to get it corrected on websites?

Was correctly reported by the Tolkien Society.
Jan 20
2020/1/20 23:33:16 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Christopher passed away in his sleep during the night of Jan. 15 – Jan. 16; I am told by a close source that it was early on the 16th. So not a mistake.
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