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Celebrating 60 years of Tolkien classic

23 Hydref 2014

The author of a major book directly linking J.R.R. Tolkien's work to his love of Wales and the Welsh language is to join events marking the 60th anniversary of the publication of Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogythis autumn.

Author of Tolkien and Wales: Language, Literature and Identity,Professor Carl Phelpstead of Cardiff University's School of English, Communication and Philosophy, will give his new talk'Geoffrey of Monmouth and J. R. R. Tolkien: Myth-making and National Identity in the Twelfth and Twentieth Centuries' initially in the UK before giving a distinguished keynote lecture at the international 'Worlds Made of Heroes' conference in Portugal on the 60th anniversary of the publication of The Fellowship of the Ring, the first volume in the trilogy.

An expert in medieval literature, Professor Phelpstead, said: "In my bookTolkien and Wales, I drew attention to some striking parallels between J.R.R. Tolkien and the twelfth-century writer, Geoffrey of Monmouth, whose account of the early history of Britain introduced the legend of King Arthur and the story of King Lear to the world.

"This new talk explores in more detail how these two writers used myth-making in similar ways to express their different national identities. Whereas Tolkien described himself as English rather than British and wanted to give the English a mythology of their own, Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote a legendary history that emphasised the unity of the whole island of Britain in order to justify Norman rule in England and Wales."

The talk will be delivered first in the city where Tolkien grew up at this year's Centre for the Study of the Middle Ages Annual Public Lecture at the University of Birmingham (Tuesday 28th October, 5pm).

The 'Worlds Made of Heroes' conference runs 6-7 November, and is organised by the Faculdade de Letras of the Universidade do Porto and the Centre for English, Translation and Anglo-Portuguese Studies (CETAPS). It takes place a month before the last film in the Peter Jackson trilogy based on The Hobbit opens for Christmas holiday audiences worldwide.

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