The Virginia Partners Bank Lecture
“In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit.”
In the summer of 1930 after a tedious afternoon grading school exams, a project he reluctantly took on to support his growing family, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien came across an exam booklet that had a page with nothing on it. This was a rarity, for in an effort to impress their examiners, students typically put down every idea they could. Without thinking and for reasons he could never explain, Tolkien scrawled his now famous line across the empty page — at the time not having any idea who or what hobbits were. It was to be seven long years before The Hobbit was finally released.
How these ten words grew into one of the most popular children’s books of all time and how, following the publication of The Lord of the Rings, their author became one of the best-known writers of the 20th century is a tale as fascinating and as inspiring as any of the fictional ones Tolkien would go on to write. Professor Brown’s lecture will tell the story of how these beloved works came to be written, and will explore the major aspects of the author’s life and career, including his service in WWI, his great friendship with C. S. Lewis, and the writing group known as the Inklings that formed around Tolkien and Lewis.
Speaker: Devin Brown
Devin Brown is a Professor of English at Asbury University. He is the author of 11 books including the most recent biographies of J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. He is an engaging speaker and has spoken on Tolkien at numerous colleges and conferences in the US and the UK. He has a PhD. from the University of South Carolina. Originally from the Chicago area, he and his wife live in Lexington, Kentucky.