The Tolkien Professor

One of my college professors, Dr. Jonathan McIntosh, sent me a link yesterday to a website with lectures by the “Tolkien Professor”, Corey Olsen.  I’ve only listened to the first lecture so far, but I’m already a huge fan!  Olsen has obviously done his research and really knows what he’s talking about.  In his introductory lecture, he touched on one of my favorite branches of Tolkien studies, that of why Tolkien disliked allegory and why he wished for no reader to dissect his works in an allegorical way.  This was the topic of my college thesis a couple of years ago and remains an area of interest for me.  If you’re a Tolkien reader or simply curious, visit http://www.tolkienprofessor.com/ to hear some great lectures.

All the best,

Allie

PS – Read my analysis of Tolkien’s handwriting here.

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Lost in Translation…Very Lost

So, recently someone in Poland apparently found my analysis of J.R.R. Tolkien’s handwriting (click here to read it), appreciated it, and translated it (with some changes…do I approve? Not particularly, but oh well) into his own language on his Tolkien site.  This pleased me, and since people were commenting on his post, I wanted to read what they had to say.  But sadly the comments were in Polish.  I don’t know Polish.  I used Google Translate for the first time and was able to somewhat understand what was going on.  To get an idea of how rough the translator tool was, I tried an experiment today: I translated one of my recent blog posts from English to German, from German to Hindi, and from Hindi back into English.  This was the result:

You guessed it! Through personal and professional handwriting analysis meets these criteria. Your friends and family will be thrilled with their special and unique personality traits clearly happy with the details, and they are required to keep a time analysis. A friend recently introduced me to her former roommate writes analysis and in a care package sent to him as a surprise – what a great idea! An analysis Christmas is a great gift for birthdays, or whenever you have some fun and fascinating and share it with someone close to you feel like.

Gift prices range from $ 15 – $ 75 to the extent of knowledge that you would like to disclose the analysis depends on. Normally close to $ 25 – $ 10 These prices are! Below is a list of basic types of analysis, but I do custom if you want something specific.

$75 – comprehensive written analysis. Pages 10-12 of personality traits called, explained, and to communicate with one another author’s unique character, paint a detailed picture. The Grapho unwanted features (yes, your handwriting can change your personality!) Includes proposals for the therapy.

$45 – detailed verbal analysis. Phone or in person 40 or, where the author talks a few minutes I interact with all the features I see in manuscript. It’s almost the same as above, except that the type is not permanent (and therefore significant drop in prices) is. I like to suggest Grapho therapy with this analysis and, if it is desired.

$15 – a page written analysis or 20-minute phone call. The most prominent personality of the person you are interested in a basic overview, it is a good choice because it is cheap and short. Authors frequent trains (7-8 cars usually) a paragraph on each of the falls.

Gifts can be ordered analysis in two ways: 1) I am the person you pay with manuscript should be proper analysis of a sample and get to post or e-mail, or by 2 analysis) payment and e-mail me email address and an e-mail through a voucher for the wrap and put under the Christmas tree will receive, receiver analysis can take within the next six months. The second option is best for verbal analysis. “The best outcome” for testing instructions, e-mail me.

If you’re like me and unique gift ideas for racking your brain, you see a giftalysis want e-mail! For me to be questions and orders alliemichelle@gmail.com.

Best of all,

Allie

I hope this made you laugh.  Read the original (and actually intelligible) post here.

“Best of all,”

Allie

J.R.R. Tolkien’s Handwriting

If you know me well, you may be surprised that I haven’t publicly analyzed Tolkien’s handwriting before.  I’ve had a certain unmasked obsession with him for years, and I admit that I even studied Elvish in high school on my own time.  Strangely enough, it was my first foreign language, and it actually helped me grasp concepts in Latin and Greek when I began learning them in college.  Anyway, yes, I’m a huge follower and admirer of the creator of Middle Earth because of his incredible imagination and his ability to capture part of it on paper with his many stories, maps, illustrations, and even handwriting.  Below I’d like to pull some traits out of these two samples.  Please be encouraged to comment with further thoughts on how these characteristics of his personality come out in his life, habits, and work.

1. The first thing that strikes me when looking at this handwriting is the overall style.  The strokes are clean, heavy and attractive.  People who write this way have a strong sense of aesthetic.  They are drawn to things that involve their senses; they are attracted to beauty in what they see, what they hear, what they touch.  They are moved emotionally by whatever is aesthetically pleasing.

This really makes sense when we remember that Tolkien invented not only one or two languages but many, and each language and the sounds it incorporated revealed something about the people who spoke it.  The elves speak a lovely, melodic language reminiscent of Welsh.  The orcs speak a harsh, biting tongue with short, rough words.  The language of Mordor is rarely uttered as it causes its listeners discomfort and anguish – think of Gandalf speaking the words on the Ring during the Council of Elrond.  Much more could be said on this subject of aestheticism, and I could go on forever… but I won’t.

2. Tolkien’s ‘n’s and ‘m’s form v-shapes at the baseline, which reveal an analytical mind.  Writers with this trait analyze everything, from situations to people to words and languages.  They like to now how things work and why, and their reasoning ability is keen.

When Tolkien, on a whim, wrote on a loose piece of paper as he was grading “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit”, he didn’t leave it there.  He analyzed this statement, studied it, and discovered what it meant.  Again, SO much more could be said here.

3. Notice that although Tolkien is writing on unlined paper, his writing is perfectly straight.  If we were to put a ruler underneath his lines, they would be practically flawless.  People who write this way have perfectionistic tendencies.  They like to have everything in its proper place and may feel anxious when each piece isn’t “just so.”  They are thorough in what they do and will not be satisfied with shabby work.

As you probably know, it took about 12 or so years for Tolkien to complete the Lord of the Rings. He was so completely immersed in his history, his “myth” for England, that we know that this length of time didn’t stem from any lack of interest in his stories or writing.  On the contrary, the reason it took him so long was that he was never quite satisfied with the work that he felt so strongly about.  He would write and rewrite each sentence and chapter an unbelievable amount of times.  Perfectionists do wonderful work, but the downside is that actual finished products are rare because they’re never quite “good enough” in the eyes of their creator.

4. This fourth trait actually goes along with the one before it in some ways.  Tolkien paid a lot of attention to detail, as evidenced by his lower case ‘i’s being dotted extremely close to their stems.  People with this trait are observant, exacting, and scrupulous, rarely brushing over a detail.

Like I said, this rather goes hand in hand with Tolkien’s perfectionism, as he would scour each detail of his writing to see where there was room for improvement.  Because of this, the books he wrote are memorable for their detailed accounts of events, appearances, feelings, histories, locations, etc.  Tolkien made sure that any time even the moon was mentioned in a particular chapter, that it lined up with its appearance in a later chapter in which other characters were looking at the moon at the same time as before…this sort of thing makes me a little dizzy, but for him it was essential to the believability of the story.  And I love him for it.

5. Notice that Tolkien’s lower-case ‘d’s are written like a Greek delta, and that his upper-case ‘E’s like a lower case Greek epsilon.  These traits are especially common in readers and writers of high literature, and the trait name is “Desire for Culture.”  Those with this trait relish fine food, travel, literature, skillful music, and other things of that nature.

Tolkien, as a writer and lover of literature, clearly falls in the “desire for culture” category.  I’m not sure that he traveled much, but he walked a great deal and annoyed C.S. Lewis (close friend and frequent walking companion) by stopping at each interesting tree, flower, or plant for a closer look.  As for appreciating music, he not only made it a point to regularly attend concerts (especially in Oxford’s Holywell Music Room; click here for a post on it), but as we know, he also composed his own poetry for his characters to sing in The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and elsewhere.  In The Silmarillion, the entire world’s formation begins with the Music of the Ainur, a great symphony of sounds conducted by Iluvatar, the creator.

6. The personal pronoun ‘I’ often reveals much about a person’s relationship with his/her parents or at least the father and mother figures in their life.  Tolkien’s ‘I’ looks rather incomplete, with neither the upper or lower loop fully present.  This would indicate a lack of presence of his parents, either literally or emotionally.

Sadly, both of Tolkien’s parents died when he was very young.  His father passed away in South Africa (JRR’s birthplace), and his mother several years later in England.  His father he barely knew since he was so young, but he long remembered the grief of his mother’s death.

7.  This last trait I will explain but will comment on hesitantly because I’m not sure how exactly it fit into Tolkien’s character, though I have some ideas.  Tolkien’s ‘y’s, instead of going down below the baseline and then curving left, actually go down below the baseline and form a v-shape out to the right.  This is a sign of aggression of some sort.  Writers with this trait may be physically aggressive, verbally aggressive, or sometimes it shows up in other areas and must be weighed against the writer’s other traits.

Here is my thought on how this does and does not show up in Tolkien’s personality.  From all the accounts we have of him, no one tells us that he regularly got into fist-fights or anything like that.  If he had other traits such as impulsiveness, anger, etc., then the aggression stroke might surface in that kind of behavior, but those other traits are not in Tolkien’s make-up.

I rather think that Tolkien’s aggression reveals itself in what he cared most passionately about and what shows up in other parts of his handwriting: literature and culture.  As an English professor at Oxford, he was familiar with and influential in the language and literature curriculum, and he found it outrageous that students’ choices in classes were very limited.  He especially disliked that linguistic classes focused completely on declensions and cases and had little to do with the actual literature these words were found in. And on the other hand, courses on literature had basically no emphasis on language.  Tolkien saw these two subjects as intertwined and co-dependent and fought for six years against most other men on the curriculum committee to have this system modified.  He never gave up, and in the end he got the result he wanted.  Read more about this by clicking here.  I have not read this whole biography, but I found this section helpful in understand this event in Tolkien’s life.  Even the fact that the author refers to this push for change in the curriculum an “Academic Crusade” reveals that she also notices a type of aggression in Tolkien’s behavior when it came to things he cared deeply about.

Wow, thank you to those readers who made it all the way to the end of this lengthy post!  I very much enjoyed delving into such a brilliant man’s personality.  If you’re interested, please check out this list of a few of my favorite books on Tolkien (below).  Also, please comment with any further thoughts on Tolkien’s handwriting traits coming out in his life or works.  I’d love to hear from you and discuss two of my very favorite topics – Tolkien and handwriting. :)

All the best,

Allie

The Road to Middle Earth by Tom Shippey

Author of the Century by Tom Shippey

Tolkien: Man and Myth by Joseph Pearce

Splintered Light by Verlyn Flieger