Bruce Mitchell


Some scholars argue that Tolkien did not fulfil some of his responsibilities during his thirty- four years as an Oxford Professor, in that he spent the bulk of his research time on his imaginative writings, thereby depriving scholarship of valuable works he - or other holders of his Chairs — might have produced. This paper leaves posterity to judge this issue, but in assessing Tolkien’s contribution to Old English studies, it will argue that one of them - his 1936 British Academy lecture, “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics” - has had more influence than most of the products of his critics, and that many Old English scholars owe much to his inspiration.

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