This interview was originally published in The Telegraph magazine on March 22. 1968.
“Spiders,” observed Professor JRR Tolkien, cradling the word with the same affection that he cradled the pipe in his hand, “are the particular terror of northern imaginations.” The Professor, now 76, is the author of The Hobbit and of the three-volume epic fairy-tale, The Lord of the Rings, the slowest-developing bestseller in modern publishing history. He was on the subject of dragons and the other horrenda which are his scholarly stock-in-trade.
Discussing one of his own monsters, a man-devouring, spider-like female, he said, “The female monster is certainly no deadlier than the male, but she is different. She is a sucking, strangling, trapping creature.”