Richard C. West, 1944–2020

— John D. Rateliff

5 October 2021 | Tolkien Studies, XVIII, 7

The passing of Richard Carroll West (August 13, 1944 to November 29, 2020) at the age of seventy-six marks the end of a career in Tolkien, Inklings, and fantasy studies that from the very start combined the enthusiasm of fandom with the scrutiny of scholarship. The eldest of eight children, Richard was born and raised in the Boston area. He attended Cathedral High School, graduating second in his class. Both devout and tolerant, he took a modest pride in his descent from the family of Archbishop John Carroll, the first bishop appointed to serve in the post-revolutionary United States. He never thought to impose his views on others, yet when attending cons or academic conferences he was careful to schedule time for mass on Sunday mornings. While still in high school he was already involved with fandom — in this case, comic book fandom. An avid reader and collector of comic books, at the age of seventeen he won a contest in the letters page of a DC Comic. His prize was the original script by Gardner Fox, with editorial annotations by comic book legend Julius Schwartz, of the Adam Strange story Challenge of the Rival Starman,” which appeared in the June 1962 issue of Mystery in Space. It was while pursuing his B.A. in English literature at Boston College, sometime during his sophomore year (circa 1964), that Richard discovered Tolkien.…

permalink 🔗︁
source URL 🌐
date recorded 📅2022-01-02
scribe 🖋worblehat