Interview: Tolkien and Wales – Dr Carl Phelpstead

Caleb Woodbridge interviews Dr Carl Phelpstead, author of ‘Tolkien and Wales: Language, Literature and Identity‘, recently published by the University of Wales Press.

Tolkien once wrote: ‘I love Wales – and especially the Welsh language’. In this episode, we discuss with Dr Phelpstead how Welsh influenced Tolkien’s ideas about language and his fiction, especially The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. We also discuss Tolkien’s place in the university today, and what the future might hold for the academic study of Tolkien.

Dr Phelpstead is a Reader in English Literature at Cardiff University. His areas of research include Old Norse and Medieval English literature. Dr Phelpstead has published widely on Norse sagas and other medieval literature and has contributed to The J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopaedia and Tolkien Studies.

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Are you interested in the myths, legends and cultures that influenced Tolkien’s writing? What light do you think academic scholarship can shine on books like ‘The Lord of the Rings’? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments!