A long-unexpected party

Tolkien as Bilbo

The Master of Hobbitdom prepares to chat in Dutch and Elvish

Huffington Post is reporting that, thanks to the tireless effort of Jay Johnstone, one of the founders of the sf/f media Web site Legendarium.me, a tape recording of J.R.R. Tolkien addressing a dinner party of fans in Rotterdam in 1958 is being brought out of storage and restored digitally.  The tape was discovered in 1993 by Dutch Tolkien expert Rene van Rossenberg, who guarded it closely until Johnstone persuaded him to share it with LotR fans worldwide.

The “Rotterdam Hobbit Dinner” tape will be released sometime later in 2014, and it will contain Tolkien’s remarks, written as a parody of Bilbo’s dinner speech and covering the narrative construction of Lord of the Rings, a poem in Elvish recited aloud, and his general (if gloomy) take on how the wizards of WW2 had succeeded and left the hobbit-folk in danger, without magic weapons to save them.  But, he does finish with a hopeful wish:

“And yet here gentlehobbits, may I conclude by giving you this toast:

To the hobbits!  May they outlast all the Sarumans and see spring again in the trees!”

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