Great Stuff from Ben Rothenberg at the New York Times’ “Straight Sets” Tennis Blog
Tennis has been a passion of writers since long before the birth of the professional game, with scribes ranging from Russian Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977) to American David Foster Wallace (1962-2008) wielding rackets with as much intensity as their pens, and even incorporating the sport in their work occasionally.
But for the South Africa-born Englishman J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973), author of “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, it was being forced to stop playing tennis that set him on the path to literary success.
In “J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: Scholarship And Critical Assessment,” Michael D.C. Drout lists tennis as one of many activities that occupied Tolkien during his studies at Oxford.
After injuring his ankle in a match against Angus McIntosh, some 22 years his junior, Tolkien was immobilized, and his idleness beget the fantasy series that would bring him worldwide acclaim.
It read: “He is said one day to have thrashed J.R.R. Tolkien at tennis, confining him to his rooms with an ankle injury. Thus marooned, with nothing better to do, Tolkien started sketching out ideas for ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ works for which Angus would cheerfully accept blame.”
This is just excerpts from a very interesting article – Read the whole article – HERE