Tolkien and Italy

What:
Talk
When:
Thursday Aug 08   10:30 AM to 11:30 AM (1 hour)
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Discussion:
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Tolkien and Italy

In the 1920s, Tolkien took part in the recording of a foreign language course, Linguaphone, which was subsequently published in Italy. He was fond of Italian cooking. When he wrote The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, he devised a few Italian names for some Hobbits, for example Belladonna. These are just a few instances of Tolkien's relation with the Italian culture, but they can still provide us with some clues on the Professor. Academically, he was very aware of the Italian influences on one of his favourite Middle English authors, Geoffrey Chaucer, whose poem "Troilus and Criseyde" was an English reworking of Giovanni Boccaccio's Filostrato. CS Lewis wrote an article on this influence, and it was following CS Lewis' advice that Tolkien joined the Oxford Dante Society, a very prestigious intellectual symposium for the meetings of which Tolkien wrote what probably passes as his most embarassed piece of writing, concerning flattery in Dante, a writing which probably inspired the Professor his subsequent speech (and essay) "Middle English Losenger". Tolkien also travelled to Italy, twice, after finishing writing The Lord of the Rings. It is also interesting to consider Tolkien's publishing history in Italy, as well as his controversial reception.


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