Tolkien fans rejoice! A lost recording that is soon to be released will finally reveal the true meaning behind 20th century author, J.R.R. Tolkien’s famed trilogy The Lord of the Rings. This will mark the first time in many years that any new material from the author, a favorite of many classic literature and science fiction fans, will be released.
More than 20 years ago, the lost recording was uncovered in a basement in the city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, but this recording was kept under wraps by the man who found it. Only he had heard this tape up until just recently. On the lost recording, Middle Earth lovers can hear the The Lord of the Rings author read a poem in Elvish that translates to English, and also, hear the the true meaning behind the famous and beloved trilogy revealed, quite straightforwardly, by Tolkien.
The recording took place at a dinner in Rotterdam on March 28, 1958. Tolkien’s Dutch publisher and a bookseller hosted a “Hobbit Dinner” for the author, at which he spoke to guests regarding his books. His own publisher, Allen and Unwin, funded his trip to the Netherlands for him to attend this special event held in his honor. The author, according to letters, was surprised and excited to find a party full of 2o0 hobbit fanatics, all of whom had attended the party to hear Tolkien and other scholars talk about hobbits and Middle Earth. The menu for the party included Middle Earth-themed food items, including Vegetables of Goldberry, the unfortunately named Maggot Soup (fortunately actually containing mushrooms), and Longbottom Leaf for pipe smoking.
It is speculated that Tolkien’s son, Christopher, must have had some transcribed notes of the speech and what his father said at the dinner; however, no one bothered to record on paper all of what Tolkien said that night. That being said, it is now known that an entire recording was made of the Tolkien’s talk at the dinner, but in 1993, it was discovered by a Dutchman named René van Rossenberg. Rossenberg is a Tolkien expert who owns a shop dedicated to Tolkien and Middle Earth. However, he neglected to show the tape to anyone up until recently. Rossenberg said, when asked about why he hid the tape, he referenced the dragon in Tolkien’s prequel to The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, saying that like Smaug, he was guarding his treasure, and hissing at the collectors who came near it. However, another Tolkien buff, Jay Johnstone, persuaded Rossenberg to share the tape after he realized he had it in his possession. Now, Rossenberg says, he is excited to share the tape and see the reaction of Middle Earth and Tolkien fans everywhere.
Below, a preview of the recording:
Johnstone is one of the founders of the Legendarium.me, a Sci-Fi and Fantasy site. Legendarium and MiddleEarthNetwork.com are partnering with van Rossenberg to remaster the tape, as well as raise awareness about its existence. The release of the lost recording in which Tolkien reveals the true meaning of The Lord of the Rings and recites his poem in Elvish is exciting because the dinner in Rotterdam was the only one of its kind ever held for Tolkien. There was never another “Hobbit Dinner” held in Tolkien’s honor like the Rotterdam one. The full remastered recording of Tolkien’s speech will be released this fall.
By Laura Clark