Tolkien‘s ‘immortal four’ meet for the last time

Here is an excellent post by John Garth — I’m serving as his preceptor for a course called “Tolkien’s Wars and Middle-earth” at Signum University this semester. Do check out his work, especially his amazing book “Tolkien and the Great War”!

John Garth

One hundred years ago today, four young men convened in an English town, not having seen each other for some time. What makes this trivial event significant is that one of them was J R R Tolkien, and the four comprised what his first ‘fellowship’, the TCBS – a group with a profound impact on his youth and on his legendarium. This reunion, on 25 and 26 September 1915, was the last time the four met before they were separated, permanently, by war.

The reason for today’s article is the discovery of a small archival treasure marking the event. The signatures of two TCBS members, Geoffrey Bache Smith and Robert Quilter Gilson, have been discovered in the guest book at the birthplace of Samuel Johnson, the author and lexicographer. (Tolkien, of course, looked rather further back for his inspirations, to the Middle Ages and beyond; though his Times obituarist did…

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About Sørina Higgins

Sørina Higgins is a PhD student in English and Presidential Scholar at Baylor University. She also serves as Chair of the Language and Literature Department at Signum University, online. Her latest publication is an academic essay collection on "The Inklings and King Arthur" (Apocryphile Press, December 2017). Her interests include British Modernism, the Inklings, Arthuriana, theatre, and magic. She holds an M.A. from Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English. Sørina blogs about British poet Charles Williams at The Oddest Inkling, wrote the introduction to a new edition of Williams’s "Taliessin through Logres" (Apocryphile, 2016), and edited Williams’s "The Chapel of the Thorn" (Apocryphile, 2014). As a creative writer, Sørina has published two books of poetry, "The Significance of Swans" (2007) and "Caduceus" (2012).
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3 Responses to Tolkien‘s ‘immortal four’ meet for the last time

  1. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    Thank you for acquainting me – and perhaps many of the rest of us – with this post and John Garth’s blog!


  2. pennkenobi says:

    I requested Garth’s Tolkien and the Great War last year on library loan but it was taking too long and I moved away before it came in. I should try my new local branch. There are any number of books I would happily purchase right now barring temporary budget constraints and this is one of them. I’m not sure what Garth wrote to cause this but his book had a discomposing effect on an old curmudgeonly atheist friend of mine. He loved the book and said that it had tempted him toward the faith of its main character.


    • That’s fascinating and beautiful! That’s certainly not one of the overt intentions of the book, so it’s even more cool that it was the result. I hope your library comes through for you.


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