And it was nice to see that Tolkien sometimes signed his name as "John R. R. Tolkien". We've been told by his biographer that he usually went by his middle name (or first middle name at any rate), Ronald, yet had evidence from a letter written late in life that he preferred "John". Another little piece of evidence to put in the pile.
Much as I enjoy seeing this piece, it reminds me of a passage I read in a biography of A. E. Housman that I've alway thought a good encapsulation of the value of not losing a sense of perspective. The biography is one I picked up on a remainder table during one of my research trips to Oxford, in 1987.** I was won over at once by a brief passage in the foreword in which the biographer spent a paragraph describing Houseman's shoes. He then stated that every word of that paragraph was true, but none of it was worth knowing. I'm more a 'load every rift with ore' type of writer myself, but it's good to be reminded of the need to have a little perspective now and then.
current reading: the new Aaronovitch, Mather-Anderson-Wood on Octopuses.
*as opposed to his friend C. S. Lewis, who just wore whatever was handy. His clothing is sometimes described as shabby -- not because he cdn't afford better, but because that wd be giving in to vanity.
**this was the same visit from which I brought back Mari Pritchard's*** excellent little book GUESTS & HOSTS
***a.k.a. Mrs. Humphrey Carpenter