Thomas Alan Shippey (1943) is one of the most well known scholars on J.R.R. Tolkien, as well as fantasy and science fiction in general. He describes himself as a "Tolkien polemic".
Many commenters have noticed the parallels between his life and Tolkien's: born in a colony, moved to Birmingham at a young age, followed by an academic career in Oxford and Leeds.
Shippey was born in India, where his father worked as a bridge builder. He spent the first several years of his life there. His father then sent him to a strict boarding school in England, and when his father came back, Shippey was transfered to King Edward's School in Birmingham, where he studied from 1954 to 1960.
Here he was introduced to science fiction, and The Hobbit, which was lent to him when he was 14 years old. Shippey quickly developed an affinity for Old English, Old Norse, German and Latin (like Tolkien) and playing rugby (like Tolkien), and he was able to afford The Lord of the Rings when he won a school contest.
Shippey did not immediately pursue an academic career after graduation, as the British economy in the early 1960's did not offer much work. Not until the mid-sixties did he enroll in Cambridge. His first academic work on Tolkien was from late 1969 or early 1970. Shippey, a junior lecturer at the University of Birmingham, was asked to speak at a Tolkien day organised by a student association. That lecture, "Tolkien as philologist", would form Shippey's view of Tolkien - a philologist - for years to come. Unbeknownst to him, Joy Hill, the private secretary of Tolkien, was in the audience. After the lecture, she asked him for the script, for Tolkien to read. Tolkien wrote to Shippey on April 13, 1970, with what first seemed like a formal reply.
The first meeting between Shippey and Tolkien took place in 1972. Norman Davis, successor of Tolkien at the Merton Chair of English Language, invited Shippey over for diner. Shippey, then a Fellow of St. John's College, taught Old and Middle English with Tolkien's syllabus, and his meeting with Tolkien at the diner left him full of professional piety.
After Tolkien's death, Shippey's admiration only grew. His first printed essay, "Creation from Philology in The Lord of the Rings", was much of an elaboration of his 1970 lecture. In 1979, he was elected to the Chair of English Language and Medieval English Literature at the University of Leeds, a former position of Tolkien. He published his first book, the famed The Road to Middle-earth, in 1982. At this time, Shippey shifted from the view of Tolkien as a philologist to a view of a post-war writer, or what he called "traumatised authors", like Vonnegut and Golding.
After 14 years at Leeds, Shippey moved to the Saint Louis University, where he was elected to the Walter J. Ong Chair of Humanities. Here, he could focus in teaching, research and publishing, rather than administrative work. He currently still holds this chair.
Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings
Being considered the foremost expert on Tolkien, Shippey appeared in several documentaries surrounding The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy. He also assisted the dialect coaches and is personally thanked in the closing credits. He later recollected his experiences:
- "The funny thing about interviews is you never know which bits they're going to pick. It always feels as if they sit you down, shine bright lights in your eyes, and ask you questions till you say something really silly, and that's the bit they choose. At least they didn't waterboard me. But it was good fun, and I'd cheerfully do it again."
- ― Tom Shippey
The below list is extensive, but not complete. Scroll down for more.
- 1975: J.R.R. Tolkien, Scholar and Story-Teller: Essays in Memoriam
- "Creation from Philology in The Lord of the Rings"
- 1980: Amon Hen 45
- "A Wose by any Other Name"
- 1988: Arda 1984
- "Commentary and translation of The Clerkes Compleinte by J.R.R. Tolkien"
- 1989: Amon Hen 100
- "Tolkien's Academic Reputation Now"
- 1991: Leaves from the Tree: J.R.R. Tolkien's Shorter Fiction
- "Tolkien and The Homecoming of Beohrtnoth"
- 1991: Lembas Extra
- "Heroes and Heroism: Tolkien's Problems, Tolkien's Solutions"
- 1992: Arda 1987
- "Long Evolution: The History of Middle-earth and Its Merits"
- 1993: Scholarship and Fantasy: The Tolkien Phenomenon
- "Tolkien as a Post-War Writer" (originally lecture)
- 1994: Lembas Extra
- "Noblesse Oblige: Images of Class in Tolkien"
- 1995: Proceedings of the J.R.R. Tolkien Centenary Conference
- "Tolkien as a Post-War Writer" (reprinted)
- "Tolkien and the Gawain-poet"
- 1995: Lembas Extra
- "Tolkien and the West Midlands: The Roots of Romance"'
- 1997: Digging Potatoes, Growing Trees: A Selection from 25 Years of Speeches at the Tolkien Society's Annual Dinners. Vol. 1.
- [Speech at the Tolkien Society's Annual Dinner 1991]
- 1997: The Ways of Creative Mythologies: Imagined Worlds and their Makers
- "Grimm, Grundtwig, Tolkien: Nationalisms and the Invention of Mythologies"
- 2000: J.R.R. Tolkien and His Literary Resonances
- "Orcs, Wraiths, Wights: Tolkien's Images of Evil"
- 2000: Literary Appropriations of the Anglo-Saxons from the Thirteenth to the Twentieth Century
- "The Undeveloped Image: Anglo-Saxon in Popular Consciousness from Turner to Tolkien"
- 2000: "J.R.R. Tolkien. Modern Critical Views"
- 2001: Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts 12/2
- "Allegory versus Bounce: Tolkien's Smith of Wootton Major" (with Verlyn Flieger)
- 2001: Lembas 100
- "The Versions of The Hoard"
- 2002: The Daily Telegraph (January 2)
- "Why the Critics Must Recognize Lord of the Rings as a Classic"
- 2002: A Tolkien Compass
- Foreword to the Third Edition
- 2002: World Literature Today 77/2
- 2003: Christian History
- 2003: The People's Guide to J.R.R. Tolkien
- 2004: Lembas Extra
- "Indexing and Poetry in The Lord of the Rings"
- 2004: Tolkien and the Invention of Myth: A Reader
- "Tolkien and the Appeal of the Pagan: Edda and Kalevala"
- 2004: Tolkien Studies: Volume 1
- "Light-elves, Dark-elves, and Others: Tolkien's Elvish Problem"
- "J.R.R. Tolkien, A Checklist" (with Douglas A. Anderson)
- 2005: Understanding The Lord of the Rings
- "Another Road to Middle-earth: Jackson's Movie Trilogy"
- 2006: J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: Scholarship and Critical Assessment, entries:
- "Alliterative Verse by Tolkien"
- "Tom Buchan, John (1875-1940)"
- "Cruces in Medieval Literature"
- "Lewis, C.S. (1898-1963)"
- "Literature, Twentieth Century: Influence of Tolkien"
- "Mythology, Germanic"
- "New Glossary of the Dialect of the Huddersfield District, A"
- "Old Norse Language"
- "Owl and the Nightingale, The"
- "Poems by Tolkien in Other Languages"
- "Poems by Tolkien: The Adventures of Tom Bombadil"
- "Poems by Tolkien: Uncollected"
- "Scholars of Medieval Literature, Influence of"
- "Ylfe, Álfar, Elves"
- 2006: The Lord of the Rings 1954-2004: Scholarship in Honor of Richard E. Blackwelder
- "History in Words: Tolkien's Ruling Passion"
- 2007: Myth and Magic: Art according to the Inklings
- "New Learning and New Ignorance: Magia, Goeteia, and the Inklings"
- 2007: Silver Leaves 1
- 2008: Mallorn 45
- "Encyclopedia of Ignorance", guest editorial
- 2008: Tales from the Perilous Realm
- 2008: Tolkien 2005: The Ring Goes Ever On (originally lectures)
- "Tolkien and the War"
- "Wisdom and Wise Sayings in The Lord of the Rings"
- 1970: Tolkien as Philologist (University of Birmingham)
- 1993: Tolkien as a Post-War Writer (University of Turku)
- 2002: Tolkien and Iceland: The Philology of Envy (University of Iceland, read here)
- 2002: J.R.R. Tolkien: The Man Behind The Lord of the Rings (covention, Arizona State University)
- 2004: Adapting Middle-Earth: Tolkien, the Books, and the Movies (Northern Illinois University)
- 2004: From Page to Screen: Problems Tolkien Set for Jackson (Hope College, University of Victoria)
- 2004: History in Words, Tolkien's Ruling Passion (Marquette University)
- 2005: Wisdom and the Wise in The Lord of the Rings (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University)
- 2005: Tolkien 2005 (convention, Aston University)
- "Tolkien and the War"
- "Wisdom and Wise Sayings in The Lord of the Rings"
- 2006: Narnia and Middle-Earth: Seventy Years on and Still Accelerating (Marymount University)
- 2007: Filming the Lord of the Rings: How Peter Jackson Coped with J.R.R. Tolkien (Bates College)
- 2008: C.S. Lewis, the Inklings, and the Call to Christian Community (conference, Azusa Pacific University)
- "The two Images, Discarded and Rejected?"
- 1984 - Mythopoeic Award, Mythopoeic Scholarship Award for Inkling Studies, The Road to Middle-earth
- 2001 - Mythopoeic Award, Mythopoeic Scholarship Award for Inkling Studies, J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century
- 2001 - World Fantasy Award, Special Award Professional, J.R.R. Tolkien:Author of the Century
- 2004 - TORn Award, Best Tolkien based Lecture presented at an Academic Function, History in Words, Tolkien's Ruling Passion
- 2006 - TORn Award, Best Lecture/Paper
- ↑ "Tehanu", "DragonCon 2002 - Sunday", at TheOneRing.net (September 2, 2002)
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Paul Hanley, Let us introduce you to ... Thomas Shippey, Ph.D.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Tom Shippey, The Road to Middle-earth, Preface to the Third Edition
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Claire E. White, Talking Tolkien With Thomas Shippey
- ↑ Tom Shippey at IMDb
- ↑ Transcript of chat session with Pr. Tom Shippey during The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun Online Release Party (09.05.09) at TolkienLibrary