University of Oxford

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"...It is a long tale..." — Aragorn
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"What do you take Oxford for, lad? [...] it's a factory! And what's it making? I'll tell you. It's making fees. Get that in your head, and you'll begin to understand what goes on."
Joseph Wright's warning to young J.R.R. Tolkien[1]
Tolkien's bust at Exeter College

The University of Oxford is the oldest university in the United Kingdom. J.R.R. Tolkien studied and taught there.

Tolkien and Oxford[edit | edit source]

Student[edit | edit source]

Linguist Joseph Wright, Tolkien's tutor at Oxford, mentor and later personal friend.

As a student, Tolkien had founded the literary club Apolausticks (1912). Many members also joined the Chequers Clubbe a dining society at Exeter College founded by Tolkien and Colin Cullis in 1914.[2]

Tolkien (22) was an undergraduate when the Great War broke out (August 1914) but he wanted to complete his studies. He joined the Officers Training Corps at Oxford.[3] He had his degree in June 1915 and applied for a commission.[4]:p. lxxviii

Years later, Joseph Wright would write that he had "...greatly admired his keen interest in the philological study of Latin, Greek, and more especially the Germanic Languages. He regularly attended my classes and lectures for two years on Comparative Philology in general, and on Latin, Greek, and Gothic, and I formed a high opinion of his attainments in these subjects."[source?] (June 25, 1925)

That time Tolkien was awarded "First Class Honours degree in English Language and Literature".

Teacher[edit | edit source]

After the New English Dictionary and a year of tutoring students in Oxford, Tolkien decided to apply for a post at the University of Leeds. Tolkien had an interview with George S. Gordon, the University's Professor of English, in June 1920.[5] Between 1922 and 1928 Tolkien tried to work on the "Clarendon Chaucer" project with Gordon, in order to produce a volume of selections from the works of Geoffrey Chaucer for Oxford students. However, due to circumstances the project was left unfinished.[6]

After W. A. Craigie resigned from Rawlinson and Bosworth Professorship of Anglo-Saxon, Tolkien wrote a letter expressing his desire to return to the University of Oxford English School, giving an account of his time there as an undergraduate, tutor and assistant working on the Dictionary. Though at 33 Tolkien was fairly young for an Oxford Professorship the application was successful.[7] Tolkien left Leeds somewhat abruptly in 1925[8] when he was elected to the Rawlinson and Bosworth Professorship, so that he actually occupied both posts simultaneously for the duration of 1926.[9] He continued working on the Chaucer project until he abandoned it in '28.

Tolkien was a busy professor in the Oxford English School, serving on many committees.[4]:p. lxxiii He served in the Rawlinson and Bosworth Professorship and was a Fellow of Pembroke College.[4]:p. lxxiv

During WW2, many of his colleagues were unavailable and he was loaded with more responsibilities, including organizing special courses for Navy and Air Force cadets.[4]:p. lxxiii

In 1945, after the death of Henry Wyld, he was elected Professor of the Merton chair of English Language and Literature, and developed new series of lectures. Later he became a Fellow of Merton College.[4]:pp. lxxiii-lxxiv

Upon his retirement, Tolkien delivered a speech on 5 June 1959 in the Merton College Hall.[10]

Tolkien Professorship[edit | edit source]

"...there is much else that may be told." — Glóin
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J.R.R. Tolkien Professorship of English Literature and Language was established in 1980. As of 2022, the Faculty of English intends to appoint to the J.R.R. Tolkien Professorship as a fully endowed chair, in association with Lady Margaret Hall.

Colleges[edit | edit source]

The University of Oxford is comprised of 36 colleges, which are autonomous and self-governing corporations within the University.

See also: Colleges of the University of Oxford at Wikipedia

Christ Church College[edit | edit source]

Corpus Christi College[edit | edit source]

Exeter College[edit | edit source]

Keble College[edit | edit source]

Lady Margaret Hall[edit | edit source]

Magdalen College[edit | edit source]

Merton College[edit | edit source]

New College[edit | edit source]

Pembroke College[edit | edit source]

Queen's College[edit | edit source]

Somerville College[edit | edit source]

St. Antony College[edit | edit source]

St Edmund Hall[edit | edit source]

St. Hilda's College[edit | edit source]

St. Hugh's College[edit | edit source]

St. John's College[edit | edit source]

St. Peter's College[edit | edit source]

Trinity College[edit | edit source]

University College[edit | edit source]

Bodleian Library[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]