W.P. Ker Lecture

From Tolkien Gateway

The W.P. Ker lecture was a yearly lecture at the University of Glasgow. It is now a full lectureship. It was instated in 1938 in honour of William Paton Ker, of whom Tolkien spoke with reverence in The Monsters and the Critics.

On April 15th, 1953, Tolkien was given the honour of providing this lecture. It was a discussion of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and the religious themes temptation, adultery and repentance.[1]

On various websites with a "Tolkien Timeline" (a selection:[1][2][3][4][5]), the date of this lecture is incorrectly given as 1933 (or "circa 1933"). It seems to be based on a misreading and ignorant copy-pasting. Only one site cites a source[6], William Ready's The Tolkien Relation, in which it is recorded erronously.[2]

Publication[edit | edit source]

In 1983, the lecture was included as the chapter "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" in The Monsters and the Critics, reprinted several times.

In 2020, the lecture was included in the deluxe edition of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl and Sir Orfeo.

External links[edit | edit source]


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 135, note 2
  2. William Ready, The Tolkien Relation, page 22: "He gave the W.P. Ker lecture at Glasgow University in 1933..."