Newly-released documents have revealed that novelist JRR Tolkien was passed over for the Nobel literature prize in 1961
, after his storytelling in the Lord of the Rings
trilogy was described as second rate. Declassified after 50 years, the papers show that Tolkien was nominated for the award by fellow author CS Lewis but that the Nobel prize jury had said of his work: “The result has not in any way measured up to storytelling of the highest quality”. The documents also reveal that British writer Graham Greene – who never won the Nobel prize – was the jury's runner-up, followed by Karen Blixen, the Danish writer of Out of Africa
. Other prominent authors put forward for the Nobel prize in 1961 were EM Forster and Lawrence Durrell.
Experts are currently trying to work out how to remove a small metal memorial plaque stuck to stonework on Hadrian’s Wall
. A local resident reported the plaque, which is fastened with strong glue and bears the date August 2010, to authorities before Christmas. Experts from the National Trust are now trying to work out how to remove it without causing further damage to the wall. The Roman wall is a World Heritage Site and a scheduled monument, making it illegal to deface or damage it.
A six-page letter written by composer Ludwig van Beethoven has come to light in Germany after being left in a will.
The document, which was written in 1823, contains complaints of illness and a lack of money, and asks harpist and composer Franz Anton Stockhausen to help find advance buyers for his Missa Solemnis
mass. The letter also contains details of an eye disorder that Beethoven was suffering from at the time. Experts believe Beethoven’s untidy handwriting was due to the fact his father took him out of school very early so he could concentrate on music. The letter will be displayed at the Brahms Institute in Lubeck.
Ideas wanted for Horrible Histories
Work has begun on series five of the popular CBBC TV show Horrible Histories
, and the team is on the look-out for fascinating and funny historical facts to help inspire a love of the past in young people. If you have an absurd, astonishing or amazing bit of history knowledge – particularly Scottish, Welsh, Irish and local history – email your suggestion to firstname.lastname@example.org
. If your idea is made into a sketch, you may even be invited along to watch it being filmed.
An archaeological dig at St Michael and All Angels church in Lyndhurst, Hampshire, has revealed evidence of a 12th-century settlement in the town.
Around a quarter of the finds, which include 350 shards of pottery and jars and rims of jugs, have been described as medieval. The investigation has also revealed that the distinctive mound on which the church stands was not man-made, as was previously thought.