G.B. Smith and J.R.R. Tolkien: a meaningful friendship - Recording

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Tolkien’s death (1892-1973), a conference dedicated to his meaningful friendship with G.B. Smith, poet and alumnus of Corpus, who died at the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

The relationship between G.B. Smith and J.R.R. Tolkien had enormous influence on their human and artistic development during their school and university years, and also played an important role in the development of Tolkien's imagination and legendarium after Smith's death. However, the nature, development and implications of this 'meaningful friendship' (Garth) have often been neglected by scholars (with due exceptions) and not yet fully explored. Topics that will be discussed in this exploratory workshop include the sources, content and style of Smith's poetry, Tolkien's editorial work on Spring Harvest, biographical aspects of their relationship, (literary) influence on Tolkien's work (early and later), and others.

To watch the video recordings of the papers, click here

Session 1

John Garth, ‘A Perfect Genius’: G.B. Smith among Family and Friends

Grace Khuri, ‘Geoffrey Bache Smith at Oxford and at War: A Lost History?’

Session 2

Oronzo Cilli, ‘A thousand leaves from one tree: The History of G.B. Smith's poetry’

Doug Anderson, ‘The Editing, Publication and Reception of A Spring Harvest’

Session 3

Allan Turner, ‘GBS, Apprentice Poet of his Time’ 

Stuart Lee, ‘Smith, Tolkien, and the Poetry of the First World War’

Session 4

Kris Swank, ‘The Monk and the Bird’s Song’: An archetype in poems by Longfellow, Smith, and Tolkien’ 

Federica Calabrese, ‘From the “dawns” to the “tides of time”. Smith and Tolkien in the mists of Glastonbury legends’

Session 5

Beppe Pezzini, ‘That we may do the things undone’: GB Smith, Tolkien’s Lost Tales and the Classics’

Mark Atherton, 'O scholar grey with quiet eyes': Smith's poem 'Rime' and its influence on Tolkien's work 

Session 6

Ivano Sassanelli, ‘The TCBS was destined to testify for God and Truth”: on Tolkien’s letter n. 5 to G.B. Smith’

Lucia Simonson, ‘The Challenges of Translating a Spring Harvest into Spanish’