I absolutely LOVE libraries. While i do like to buy and collect my books, an interesting trip to the library is never to be missed. Today was one such occasion. Having finished my Spanish conversation practice, I thought I’d toddle up to the third floor of the ANU Chifley Library (the largest on campus). The third floor is very important, as it plays host to the linguistics/language history stuff. I was looking for an academic work titled Old English and Its Closest Relatives, which I found soon enough, but it was what I didn’t expect to find that has made my day.
My own secret vice is Tolkien criticism. Not only to I enjoy reading Tolkien, I also enjoy reading about him, so every now and then I pop by to the shelf with a few studies. There are a few at ANU, indeed some of the best ones, but really, I think it could be better. There’s no Shippey (the most talked about Tolkien scholar) , no History of Middle-earth (which should be in every decent university library), and only a couple of the important collections of essays. Today, however, I was pleasantly surprised. While parousing the shelves looking for a book that should be there (Dmitra Fimi’s Tolkien, Race and Cultural History) according to the computers, but wasn’t (hmmmmmm!!), I chanced upon the newest major work of Tolkien scholarship to date, something that by no means was I expecting to see there so soon. It is Steve Walker’s The Power of Tolkien’s Prose, a comprehensive study of the aesthetic and technical aspects of his writing and the responses they direct readers towards. I wont go in to all of his arguments here, but I’ll certainly post lengthily about it, just before and probably during our Lord of the Rings read through. Suffice to say I’m looking forward to getting stuck into it!