Happy 80th Birthday to Middle Earth!

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As if it weren’t enough that both the traditional date of the Autumnal Equinox, and my own birthday, fall upon this date, today is also the 80th anniversary of the publication of J.R.R. Tolkien‘s classic The Hobbit, back on 21 September, 1937!

The above picture is the cover art from the original Allen & Unwin (U.K.) edition; the one below is the cover of the paperback Ballantine (U.S.) edition which was my personal introduction, in 1977, to the world of Middle Earth:

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My father, who was then hospitalized following a heart attack, had first The Hobbit, and then all three volumes of The Lord of the Rings, brought to him by a friend to read; as he finished one, I proceeded to devour it in turn. They have remained a major influence on me – literarily, linguistically, and philosophically – ever since!

So I salute the great Professor Tolkien and his epic achievement. May he rest forever in the Undying Lands, beyond the Sundering Seas!