Thanks for finding it Dug - no I hadn't but I wouldn't argue with most of it. How the hell he managed to keep his job at Oxford is one of the great mysteries of academia but he was married to the daughter of one of the Chairs I think and his translation of Beowulf into Modern English has still never been surpassed. And the Hobbit was a commercial success so it was who he knew and what he'd done outside the cloisters that kept the money coming in just enough to support a wife and 4 kids who he doted on (he wrote The Father Christmas Letters for them as well as The Hobbit). That was the other thing he did when he went home of a night of course (unless he'd had a skinful at the Lamb & Flag first)
It's funny what people taken from the bigger story that never made it into LotR, because he never finished writing a definitive version of it and it's still not ever going to be completed although his son Christopher's done his damnedest to get it all reasonably straight for the 'director's cut' - of the storyboard that is The Silmarillion.
That's wonderful as a reference book but probably the dullest, silliest novel ever written. Great outlines, crap plotting and screenwriting in the Sil
As for the Children of Hurin - I own the de-luxe edition with gorgeous illustrations by Alan Lee but I lost the will to live (and carry on reading) in about Chapter 2... It doesn't even help that you know the story already as it's all in the Sil in precis and quite frankly even the bit where Turin gets to
unwittingly marry his sister couldn't keep me going even though they actually did - you know - do it
as she was 6 months gone when she found out the babe might have 2 heads and topped herself.
wasn't enough to keep my interest up. The illustrations are very, very
good but probably even I must admit the book wasn't not worth £60 even if it is a hard cover