Tuesday, 3 January 2012


On the Octave day of St John the Evangelist, in the year of Grace 1892, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa. He is 120 years old today! He hasn't quite beat the Old Took yet, but there we are! Incidentally, 2012 will also mark the 75th anniversary of the publication of The Hobbit. Abebooks have a first edition, first impression, hard-back copy of The Hobbit signed by Tolkien himself, in very fine condition. It's only £9500. It would make a very nice birthday present!

The painting is, of course, by Tolkien himself, depicting Bilbo's travail on the Forest River after his escape from the Elven-king's halls in northern Mirkwood. I imagine that Tolkien and Bilbo were very much alike. At any rate The Red Book of Westmarch is the legendarium, preserved in Gondor and the Shire after Bilbo passed into the West.


  1. Why don't you tell people what you would actually like for your birthday? I'm not sure you really want a £10,000 book that one would only spill tea on (like I did to the presentation edition of Bœthius I once received as a birthday gift).

  2. As someone who admires Tolkien deeply (I am by no means a ''fan,'' in the modern sense) I would like something handled by him, like a letter, or a signed book. To me they would have the status of relics, and I would only handle them with the greatest care.

  3. Fair enough, but I wondered what a more realistic birthday present would be. I don't doubt you would treat something like that akin to relics. Still doesn't stop accidents/Sod's Law, though! ;-)