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IU scholar recognized for work in Tolkien studies


By IDS Reports



Mark Hooker, visiting scholar in IU’s Russian and East European Institute, was presented the Beyond Bree Award in August for his studies of author J.R.R. Tolkien.

The award was presented by the Tolkien Special Interest Group, a division of high-intelligence quota organization American Mensa, at an event for Tolkien scholars at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom.

Hooker, the fifth recipient of the annual award, has penned multiple books about “The Lord of the Rings” author and his work.

“One of the reasons that I am fascinated by ‘The Lord of the Rings’ is that things that you read when you are growing up have an impact on you that is far greater than the impact of things you read when you are older,” Hooker said in a 2006 interview with the website Tolkien Library.

According to the interview, Hooker first read “The Lord of the Rings” when he was 18.
Hooker’s work differs from other work in the field because of his knowledge of Slavic languages, as well as Welsh and modern Dutch, and his background in linguistics, according to a press release.

Most of the work in Tolkien Studies, according to the press release, focuses on medievalism and northern European influence.

“Hooker continues true to form by taking another step outside the northern European box around Tolkien Studies to show that there is more to it than that,” according to the press release.

Hooker said in the interview Tolkien’s work has been popular among readers partially for its universal message.

“Tolkien speaks to the best part of every reader and makes them think that they, too, could rise to the challenge presented to the Hobbits,” he said. “It is imbued with a hope that we might actually be victorious over the ills and evils that
beset us.”

— Kirsten Clark

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