Majesty & Grace IX: The Reign of Elizabeth Windsor, 1963-78: Part 1 – Rebellious Britons.

Protest & Planning, 1963-68 – Youth, Vietnam & Grosvenor Square: The 1960s were dramatic years in Britain. Demographic trends, especially the increase in the proportion of teenagers in the population, coincided with economic affluence and ideological experimentation to reconfigure social mores to a revolutionary extent. In 1964, under Harold Wilson, the Labour Party came into power,Continue reading “Majesty & Grace IX: The Reign of Elizabeth Windsor, 1963-78: Part 1 – Rebellious Britons.”

Majesty & Grace VIII: The Reign of Elizabeth Windsor – New Age, New Commonwealth & Popular Culture 1958-63.

The long and broad view of the British Economy: The economic historian, P. Calvocoressi, writing in 1978, provided a long view of the British economy from 1945 to 1975. He saw the failure of successive governments to manage it successfully as the result of their unwillingness to dismantle the ‘mixed’ economy model of private andContinue reading “Majesty & Grace VIII: The Reign of Elizabeth Windsor – New Age, New Commonwealth & Popular Culture 1958-63.”

Majesty & Grace V: The Lives & Times of the Windsors – King, Country & People’s War, 1940-45:

‘Ribbentrop’s War’ – The Assault on the West: After the defeat of Poland, Hitler wanted to wage a winter campaign in the west, but bad weather prevented it, and both sides sat through a winter of ‘phoney war.’ For this reason and with some justice, the Second World War has been called ‘Ribbentrop’s war.’ AlthoughContinue reading “Majesty & Grace V: The Lives & Times of the Windsors – King, Country & People’s War, 1940-45:”

Majesty & Grace IV: The Lives & Times of the Windsors – The Reign of ‘Albert the Good’ – George VI, 1936-39.

The Deep Despair of the Duke & Duchess: The Duke of York, Albert, and his family had been in Scotland during the days preceding the Abdication Crisis. When the British press broke their self-imposed silence about King Edward’s affair with Mrs Simpson on 3rd December 1936, the Yorks were on their way back to LondonContinue reading “Majesty & Grace IV: The Lives & Times of the Windsors – The Reign of ‘Albert the Good’ – George VI, 1936-39.”

Majesty & Grace III: The Lives & Times of the Windsors, 1936 – The 327 Days of Edward VIII:

New Year’s Eve, 1935 – From Sandringham to Bryanston Court: As his father lay on his deathbed at Sandringham at Christmas 1935, David (as he was known to the family) was preoccupied with his adoration for Wallis Simpson, a slender, dark-haired 39-year-old American who was married to a London businessman. She had been married before,Continue reading “Majesty & Grace III: The Lives & Times of the Windsors, 1936 – The 327 Days of Edward VIII:”

An Epilogue for Beren & Lúthien: Tolkien’s Last Years, 1966-1973 & The Work of Christopher Tolkien (-2017).

The Road Goes Ever on – Headington to Bournemouth: Although life retirement sometimes seemed ‘grey and grim’ to Tolkien, it also had many elements that suited him. For one thing, he and Edith, at last, had enough money. However, the tax authorities took a large proportion of his earnings, and on one occasion, Tolkien wroteContinue reading “An Epilogue for Beren & Lúthien: Tolkien’s Last Years, 1966-1973 & The Work of Christopher Tolkien (-2017).”

Faith, Fantasy & Fairy Tales – Tolkien, ‘Jack’ Lewis & ‘The Inklings’, 1926-66: Part Two – ‘Shadowy Abstractions’

There was a good stretch of time between Jack Lewis’s conversion on the way to Whipsnade and his writing of the Tales of Narnia. Throughout this time, while Tolkien was writing his Hobbit stories, Lewis was musing on the physical similarities that men and beasts have in common. This is why he felt that Kenneth Grahame, in The Wind in the Willows, made exactly the right choice in giving his principal character the form of a toad

The Making of an English Mythology; from Reality to Fantasy and back again, 1917-1954: Tolkien’s Creative Years.

Following his recovery from the Somme and ‘trench fever’ on his return from France in 1916, Tolkien was determined to create an entire mythology for England. He had hinted at this during his undergraduate days at Oxford when he studied and wrote of the Finnish ‘Kalevala’:

“I would that we had more of it left – something of the sort that belonged to the English.”

This idea now grew during his recuperation until it reached ‘epic’ proportions. This is how Tolkien expressed it when recollecting many years later:

“Do not laugh! But once upon a time (my crest has long since fallen), I had a mind to make a body of more or less connected legend, ranging from the large to the cosmogonic to the level of romantic fairy-story – the larger founded on the lesser in contact with the earth, the lesser drawing splendour from the vast backcloths – which I could dedicate simply: to England, to my country. “

J. R. R. Tolkien & Birmingham, 1896-1916: The Formative Years, Part One (to 1908) – Middle English

The South African Prelude – Beginnings in Bloemfontein: Arthur Reuel Tolkien and Mabel Suffield (pictured above in the family group), both from Birmingham, were married in Cape Town Cathedral on 16th April 1891, after which came an exhausting railway journey of nearly seven hundred miles to the capital of the Orange Free State. Less thanContinue reading “J. R. R. Tolkien & Birmingham, 1896-1916: The Formative Years, Part One (to 1908) – Middle English”

What is the ‘Juneteenth’ Celebration? – A Briefing for Students & Teachers of Black (African-American) History.

Ten Key Questions: Why was Juneteenth celebrated? Where did most slaves work before the Civil War? Between 1865 and 1954, how were the lives of black people in the South different from those in the North? Why was Dr King so important in the fight for civil rights? How was Martin Luther King killed inContinue reading “What is the ‘Juneteenth’ Celebration? – A Briefing for Students & Teachers of Black (African-American) History.”