Tolkien's 1936 lecture "Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics" had a lasting influence on Beowulf research. Lewis E. Nicholson said that the article Tolkien wrote about Beowulf is "widely recognized as a turning point in Beowulfian criticism", noting that Tolkien established the primacy of the poetic nature of the work as opposed to its purely linguistic elements. At the time, the consensus of scholarship deprecated Beowulf for dealing with childish battles with monsters rather than realistic tribal warfare; Tolkien argued that the author of Beowulf was addressing human destiny in general, not as limited by particular tribal politics, and therefore the monsters were essential to the poem. Where Beowulf does deal with specific tribal struggles, as at Finnsburg, Tolkien argued firmly against reading in fantastic elements. In the essay, Tolkien also revealed how highly he regarded Beowulf: "Beowulf is among my most valued sources," and this influence may be seen throughout his Middle-earth legendarium.
According to Humphrey Carpenter, Tolkien had an ingenious means of beginning his series of lectures on Beowulf:
He would come silently into the room, fix the audience with his gaze, and suddenly begin to declaim in a resounding voice the opening lines of the poem in the original Anglo-Saxon, commencing with a great cry of Hwæt! (The first word of this and several other Old English poems), which some undergraduates took to be 'Quiet!' It was not so much a recitation as a dramatic performance, an impersonation of an Anglo-Saxon bard in a mead hall, and it impressed generations of students because it brought home to them that Beowulf was not just a set text to be read for the purposes of examination, but a powerful piece of dramatic poetry.
Decades later, W.H. Auden wrote to his former professor,
"I don't think that I have ever told you what an unforgettable experience it was for me as an undergraduate, hearing you recite Beowulf. The voice was the voice of Gandalf."[6
"I don't think that I have ever told you what an unforgettable experience it was for me as an undergraduate, hearing you recite Beowulf. The voice was the voice of Gandalf."
JRR Tolkien Reads The One Ring Poem http://youtu.be/g3_2D_ErL_I J.R.R. Tolkien reads The Hobbit, Fellowship Of The Ring http://youtu.be/AKyIVZJAAXg J.R.R. Tolkien reciting "Namárië" http://youtu.be/6de_SbVUVfA This is a rare recording of J.R.R. Tolkien from 1952, in which he recites the Quenya poem "Namárië", famously sung by Galadriel in the chapter "Farewell to Lórien" in "The Lord of the Rings". J.R.R. Tolkien sings 'Troll Sat Alone On His Seat Of Stone' http://youtu.be/K9WmxwgW2J0 This is a recording of J.R.R. Tolkien singing 'Troll Sat Alone On His Seat Of Stone', the poem recited by Sam Gamgee in 'The Lord of the Rings: Flight to the Ford'.