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aerial photo of Olrig House
Olrig House
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The 1911 Swiss walking tour: A sentimental education and some of its fruits, Part 1

— Nancy A. Bunting | Elizabeth Currie

6 May 2021 | Beyond Bree, May, 2021, 1

The major biographical sources on Tolkien have understandably focused on his education, first at King Edward’s School in Birmingham and then at Oxford. However, Tolkien’s life included more than spending time in ivory towers, no matter how excellent. Travel, with its exposure to the new and unexpected, has always been a source of learning and memorable experiences. This paper reviews Tolkien’s participation, just before he entered Oxford, in a 1911 Swiss walking tour with its context of the distinct and rigid class differences and financial realities, the New Woman” of the turn of the twentieth century, and his probable view of his Aunt Jane Neave whose financial situation as a widow was so starkly different from that of Tolkien’s mother, Jane’s sister. The tour’s events and personalities would add to the leaf mould” of Tolkien’s mind, enriching not only his writing The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, but also his artwork. (Bio 126; L 391 – 3, 409) …

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date recorded 📅2022-02-05
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