Thursday, July 13, 2023


Today I heard the news that one

of my closest Tolkien friends has died.

Charles was the first fellow Tolkien scholar I met, back in 1981, where typically we began by correcting the way each pronounced the other’s name. The two of us exchanged books for years, wherein he’d buy any book printed over there and send it over here, while I’d send him books from over here (the most recent being sending him a copy of the catalogue from the recent Marquette exhibit). And for a long time he got me each of the Terry Pratchett books as they came out, standing in lines at UK signings and events.

He had a powerful but subtle influenced on Tolkien studies, especially when it came to considering the History of Middle-earth books as a whole. He proofread many of the Tolkien books published over decades –including LETTERS and at least some volumes in the History of Middle-earth series. At my request he turned a meticulous eye on the entirety of THE HISTORY OF THE HOBBIT, to its improvement. He’s the only person I’ve ever bought a beer (at the Eagle and Child).

Though I only saw him rarely (when I was in England  or he was in Milwaukee), he remained someone I always enjoyed getting a letter from.

I’ll miss him.

–John R.