Sunday, 14 June 2015

Tolkien Transactions LVIII

May 2015

As I have become more involved with Scouting and Guiding (it's the same thing, anyway) both at the national and the international level, my obligations there are keeping me busy. There is no complaint from me because of this – I just wish to mention it to acknowledge that this blog, and my Tolkien writings in general, for me are at a lower priority than my Scouting, and so delays must be expected, as also this month.
All the usual disclaimers apply about newness, completeness and relevance (or any other implication of responsibility) :-)

These transactions are posted on my blog, Parma-kenta (Enquiry into the books) and on the Tolkien Society web-site.

This month it has suited my purposes to sort the contents under the following headlines:
1: News
2: Events
3: Essays and Scholarship
4: Commentary
5: Reviews and Book News
6: Tolkienian Artwork
7: Other Stuff
8: Rewarding Discussions
9: Web Sites
10: The Blog Roll
11: Sources

The Oath Has Been Awakened
by Jenny Dolfen

= = = = News = = = =

Sarah Wells, Friday, 15 May 2015, ‘Taruithorn's 25th
On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Taruithorn, the Oxford Tolkien Society, the society's blog, the Miruvor, has been very active throughout May. Do take a look (see the blog roll below) and find some of the interesting articles. And of course, warm congratulations to Taruithorn, may you find yourselves even stronger for the 50th anniversary.

Daniel Helen, The Tolkien Society, Wednesday, 20 May 2015, ‘Rare first edition presentation copy of The Hobbit to be auctioned
Also see John D. Rateliff, Monday, 25 May 2015, ‘I'm Cited by Sotheby's
The story of a presentation copy of the first edition of The Hobbit being up for sale at Sotheby's.

Simon Sharwood, The Register, Friday, 22 May 2015, ‘ZX Spectrum ‘Hobbit’ revival sparks developer dispute
The dispute is perhaps not particularly interesting to readers of this, but some may remember the old ZX Spectrum game fondly and thus be interested in the news of its revival.

David Oberhelman, Saturday, 30 May 2015, ‘2015 Mythopoeic Awards finalists announced
The field for the Mythopoeic Scholarship Award in Inklings Studies has two titles focusing on C.S. Lewis and three titles focusing on Tolkien, including Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary. Together with Sellic Spell by J.R.R. Tolkien and edited by Christopher Tolkien. Knowing full well (from experience) that I am entirely unable to foresee the winner, I will eagerly await the announcement of the winners.


= = = = Events = = = =

Past Events
1 - 3 May 2015, Aachen, Germany, ‘Tolkien Seminar’, Deutsche Tolkien Gesellschaft (German Tolkien Society)
Marie-Noëlle Biemer, Monday, 11 May 2015, ‘Tolkien Seminar Tag 1: Eukatastrophische Wünsche
A short report (in German) on the first day of the DTG Tolkien Seminar.

13 May 2015, ‘Tolkien Lecture 2015: Lev Grossman

14 - 17 May 2015, Kalamazoo, Michigan, ‘International Congress on Medieval Studies
Anna Smol, Sunday, 10 May 2015, ‘K'zoo 2015 sessions on Tolkien and medievalisms
John D. Rateliff, Tuesday, 12 May 2015, ‘Off to Kalamazoo!
Emily Monacelli, Thursday, 14 May 2015, ‘Western Michigan University hosts 50th Medieval Congress today through Sunday
John D. Rateliff, Friday, 15 May 2015, ‘Christopher Tolkien Roundtable (The Saga of King Heidreks the Wise)
Medievalist.net, Friday, 15 May 2015, ‘50th International Congress on Medieval Studies – Day 1
Medievalist.net, Friday, 15 May 2015, ‘50th International Congress on Medieval Studies – Day 2
Medievalist.net is serving up a wealth of tweets related to the Kalamazoo Medievalist congress.
Medievalist.net, Monday, 18 May 2015, ‘50th International Congress on Medieval Studies – Day 3
Medievalist.net, Monday, 18 May 2015, ‘50th International Congress on Medieval Studies – Day 4

24 - 27 May 2015, Koszalin University of Technology, Poland, ‘Medieval Fantasy Symposium 2015

30 - 31 May 2015, Geldern, Germany, ‘Tolkien Tag 2015’, Deutsche Tolkien Gesellschaft (German Tolkien Society)
Marie-Noëlle Biemer, Wednesday, 6 May 2015, ‘Tolkien Tag 2015 im Dorf des Drachen
RP Online, Saturday, 9 May 2015, ‘Tolkien-Tag: Ringgeister erobern das Gelderland (In German) Ringwraiths conquering Gelderland ...
RP Online, Thursday, 28 May 2015, ‘Tolkien-Tag ist Ponter Logistik-Wunder (In German)
RP Online, Sunday, 31 May 2015, ‘Die Tolkien-Hauptstadt im Dorf Pont (In German)


Upcoming Events
13 June 2015, Baruch College, New York, ‘New York City Tolkien Conference’, Northeast Tolkien Society

4 July 2015, Leeds, ‘Tolkien Society Seminar 2015’, The Tolkien Society
Theme: ‘One Hundred Years of Middle-earth’

6 - 9 July 2015, Leeds, ‘International Medieval Congress 2015

17 - 19 July 2015, Spokane, Washington, USA, ‘Tolkienmoot 2015

31 July - 3 August 2015, Colorado Springs, Colorado, ‘ MythCon 46’, Mythopoeic Society


6 - 9 August 2015, The Greisinger Museum, Jenins, Switzerland, ‘Omentielva Enquea

3 - 4 September 2015, Budapest, Hungary, ‘5th International Tolkien Conference in Hungary’, Hungarian Tolkien Society

5 - 6 September 2015, Sarehole, Birmingham, ‘Middle Earth Festival 2015
Formerly known as ‘Middle-earth Weekend’

10 - 13 September 2015, St Antony's College, Oxford, ‘ Oxonmoot 2015’, The Tolkien Society

5 - 7 December 2015, ‘Italian Ringers Con 2015

= = = = Essays and Scholarship = = = =

Simon Cook, Sunday, 3 May 2015, ‘On the shores of the shoreless sea
In this essay Simon Cook takes a look at connections involving the shoreless / sundering sea between Tolkien's legendarium and ancient northern myths and legends. In this essay Cook focuses on the ideas of arriving from and departure across the Sea, particularly of rulers, but also of the vistas of what may lie beyond the Sea. Old English and Danish myths and legends are vowen together in Beowulf and in Tolkien's Middle-earth writings, from the early Book of Lost Tales through The Notion Club Papers and The Lord of the Rings. The essay form suits Cook's explorations eminently – it doesn't pretend to be exhaustive or the final word on the matter, but explores a particular potential connection, trying to follow that particular stream back to see where it leads (and, if possible, to its spring), ignoring other streams that contribute to the creek, but without dismissing their existence.

Medievalist.net, Thursday, 7 May 2015, ‘12th-century copy of Consolation of Philosophy was written in Scotland, scholar finds
Boëthius' Consolation of Philosophy is often mentioned in connection with Tolkien as one of the possible sources for some of the philosophical ideas unpinning Tolkien's work (or at least as a, to modern readers, fairly accessible medieval representative of these ideas), and so the provenance of early copies of Boëthius from the British Isles is also interesting in a Tolkienian context.

Medievalist.net, Thursday, 7 May 2015, ‘Scandinavian trade “triggered” the Viking Age, researchers find
Well ... just because! ;-)

Andreth
by Jenny Dolfen
Holly Ordway, Sunday, 17 May 2015, ‘Tolkien, Morris, and the Dead Marshes: An Unrecognized Connection
When reading this, there is, to some extent, a sense of seeing someone re-invent the wheel and then cry out Eureka!. Professor Ordway is, to a large extent, battling some very aged wind-mills when she claims that Tolkien's modern sources are largely unrecognised, or in her discovery of Morris' influence on Tolkien. However, though there is nothing new about the connection between the Dead Marshes and Morris' “ Huns and Romans, as in The House of the Wolfings or The Roots of the Mountains.” (Letters no. 226), I cannot recall seeing this particular connection analysed to the extend that Ordway does, and does interestingly, here.
So, all in all, a more detailed and thorough study than previously seen of a very much recognised connection.

Robert Busek, Medievalist.net, Tuesday, 19 May 2015, ‘Defenders of the Faith: Augustine, Aquinas, and the Evolution of Medieval Just War Theory
Unfortunately I haven't had time to read through this paper myself, but both St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas are often mentioned among Tolkien's philosophical inspirations, and I cannot help but wonder how this paper will line up with e.g. Faramir's wonderful speech about not loving “the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory.” (LotR, book IV, ch. 5).

John Garth, Monday, 25 May 2015, ‘A friend of Tolkien's TCBS tells a neglected truth of war
Possibly a bit tangential to the normal topics of these transactions, but the story of George Henry Bonner does, as John Garth implies in the title, tell another bit of the story of the Great War and what it did to that generation of young men to which Tolkien also belonged. The tragedy did not end in 1918.


= = = = Commentary = = = =

Lynn Forest-Hill, Southfarthing Mathom, Saturday, 2 May 2015, ‘Our only meeting in April
The Southampton Tolkien Reading Group has now reached book II of The Lord of the Rings and used a whole meeting (with everyone present) to discuss the first chapter, ‘Many Meetings’.
A few points caught my attention. Gandalf's concern about the situation in the barrow, which he appears to take more seriously than the attack at Weathertop, is puzzling, indeed. A discussion about the differences in the sitations with the Master Ring in Tom Bombadil's house and Rivendell appears to have focused on place rather than people, which made me curious. Also there are some bits that appear, at least to me, to assign a greater sense of agency to the Master Ring than I feel is entirely justified, though Tolkien has managed to make this inanimate object appear almost as an independent character in the story, reflecting the personification that the actual characters apply to it.

Philip and Carol Zaleski, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Friday, 8 May 2015, ‘Oxford's Influential Inklings
It seems that writers of books about the inklings have begun to write lengthy articles based on their books as part of the promotion of the book. So the Zaleskis here produce a lengthy article based on their new book about the inklings, The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams. Most intelligent commentary on both article and book can be found in the Mythsoc e-mail list on Yahoo groups (see under discussions)
See also: Sarah Seltzer, Monday, 11 May 2015, ‘Fathers of Fantasy: Celebrating J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis' Friendiversary,
Bruce Charlton, Thursday, 14 May 2015, ‘Review of The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings by Philip Zaleski and Carol Zaleski (2015)
Elizabeth Hand, Los Angeles Times, Friday, 29 May 2015, ‘Review: J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and 'The Fellowship' of fantasy writers

The Two Captains
by Jenny Dolfen
Michael Martinez, Tuesday, 19 May 2015, ‘Please Stand Here, Mister Tolkien, While We Take a Few Measurements
This is one of the – over the past few years quite rare – instances where I have to say that I mostly disagree with Martinez.
First of all, I think his understanding of scientists' approach to Tolkien's work is, at least, insufficient – scientists are analysing Tolkien's work from a lot of different perspectives and for a number of reasons. In many cases, the scientist is more concerned with helping the reader to understand their science than they are with understanding Tolkien (see for instance Henry Gee's excellent The Science of Middle-earth), in some cases the primary concern is a type of source study, where Tolkien's understanding of the Primary World is seen as a source, and many other concerns are also seen, but I doubt that the desire for Middle-earth to be real a factor for many scientists – if for any at all.
Secondly, I firmly agree with Verlyn Flieger when she states that “for a major fantasy [The Lord of the Rings] has suprisingly few actual fantastic elements in it” (for a more thorough understanding, read Flieger's essay ‘Fantasy and Reality: J.R.R. Tolkien's World and the Fairy-Story Essay’ in Green Suns and Faërie: Essays on J.R.R. Tolkien), and with the realisation that in Tolkien's work the fantastic element is actually quite exceptional, I have to reject one of the basic assumptions in Martinez' post.
Finally, speaking as a physicist, I tend to disagree with Martinez' exposition about the relation between science and the spiritual (incl. the divine). The divine is inherently outside the scope of science and thus any idea of scientifically testing the divine inherently nonsensical from a scientific viewpoint (this, obviously, has nothing to do with testing much of the nonsense that is proposed that is within the scope of science, but trying to argue based on the divine, which is outside – such can generally be summarily dismissed).

Evan Puschak, ‘the Nerd Writer’, Thursday, 21 May 2015, ‘The Perils of Worldbuilding
I could wish that I had the time for a sustained critique of Mr Puschak's points here. Not that I entirely disagree with everything he says, but I feel that he also misses a lot of important points about stories and story-telling that are pertinent to the points he tries to make. But read and watch this for yourself and instead of merely fully rejecting or fully accepting each claim, you might spend a few seconds considering the circumstances in which the claim is true and false respectively.

Thomas Van, Thursday, 21 May 2015, ‘Was Lewis “basically Catholic”?
A short piece referring to a 2007 article from Mythlore, that addresses Lewis' relation with Catholicism by way of his friendship and differences with Tolkien. Published on a Catholic web-site (CatholicCulture.org).

John D. Rateliff, Friday, 22 May 2015, ‘Tolkien and E. M. Forster
Reactions and further thoughts on Jason Fisher's April post about Tolkien and the Nobel prize.

Dylan Leavitt, Monday, 25 May 2015, ‘Tolkien's Middle Earth Travels to the Midwest
About a letter sent by Tolkien to William B. Ready at the Marquette in 1957, including a transcript of the letter.
See also John D. Rateliff, Tuesday, 26 May 2015, ‘The Ready Letter

Tosin Thompson, Thursday, 28 May 2015, ‘From Aragorn's blood pressure to Gollum's vitamin D levels: the science of The Lord of the Rings
Though I find expressions such as ‘infatuated and besotted’ a rather offensive way to describe the enchantment of Tolkien's work (and other expressions have that same slightly mocking air), the list of serious applications of scientific models to Tolkien's sub-creation is intriguing. The climate scientist, professor Dan Lunt, points out that ’The serious point to the study was that it showed that climate models are not just statistical models tuned to observations, but are based on fundamental physics and thus can be applied to any planet, real or imagined.’ The same can be said for the other pieces of research: the point is to take the models, that are based on fundamental science, and show that they can be applied broadly to the human experience.

Laura Miller, Sunday, 31 May 2015, ‘Love “Game of Thrones?” Thank “unfashionable” Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, who went against the grain and conquered pop culture
Starting with the sub-title, “It wasn't Christianity that gave a pack of old fogeys like the Inklings the power to rule the world”, it is quite clear that the agenda is a criticism of the narrow perspective of Christian analyses of the Inklings; most recently, and the seeming trigger for this article, the book by the Zaleskis. I might put things differently – attempting a more balanced approach – but overall I think it is important to provide a corrective to the large number of critical analyses that offer a specifically Christian reading of Tolkien.


= = = = Reviews and Book News = = = =

David Bratman, Tuesday, 5 May 2015, ‘buried in bibliography
Working on the bibliography for the next Tolkien Studies, covering 2013, Bratman has a few reflections both on what is covered, but also what is not covered by the journal's annual bibliography listing. I think I might be able to identify some work published only on the internet, that would probably be worth including in a more comprehensive bibliography. I am less certain about non-English ... as I see it, there is a limit to how much you can do with Tolkien scholarship in other languages, because, among other things, you need to be able to work with Tolkien's own critical vocabulary, even if you do not adopt it as your own – trying to translate this vocabulary of complex concepts and ideas simply do not work well enough for the detailed understanding needed for scholarship at the level of the forefront of modern Tolkien studies.

John D. Rateliff, Saturday, 16 May 2015, ‘Verlyn Flieger Festschrift (A Call for Papers)
Oooohhhhh!!!

David Bratman, Thursday, 21 May 2015, ‘Tolkien Studies 12: an announcement
Announcing a change in format (from hardcover to softcover) the contents of Tolkien Studies 12 ... even more ‘Oooohhhhh!!!’

Kelley M. Wickham-Crowley, Journal of Tolkien Research, Friday, 22 May 2015, ‘J.R.R. Tolkien: the Forest and the City (2013), edited by Helen Conrad-O'Briain and Gerard Hynes
A thorough and excellent review of this volume, applauding the diversity of voices in the collection, while pointing out some of the weaknesses.

Andrew Higgins, Tuesday, 26 May 2015, ‘Tolkien's Poetry (2013), edited by Julian Eilmann and Allan Turner
Andrew Higgins reviews the 2013 Cormarë volume on Tolkien's poetry. Quite possibly merely a result of differing interests and tastes, but Higgins' descriptions of the essays that make up this collection made me reconsider whether I would buy it or not, putting it back on the list of ‘let me try it from the library first’ books. But that, too, is one of the reasons for reviews, and quite possibly to be more grateful for than an enthused review that makes you want to rush out and buy the book.

Eleanor Simmons, Thursday, 28 May 2015, ‘Raymond Edwards' "Tolkien" – A Review
A review of the 2014 biography, Tolkien, by Raymond Edwards. While I appreciate the comparison to Carpenter, I lack an analysis of what this biography has to add to what is already available from e.g. John Garth and from Christina Scull and Wayne Hammond (and an evaluation of how reliable such additional material appears ...)

Douglas A. Anderson, Sunday, 31 May 2015, ‘The Journal of Tolkien Research
Announcing the reviews that have appeared in the journal (see above), and promising that he expects “to have enough for new ones to appear weekly through most of June.” ... ‘Oooohhhhh!!!’ again :-)


= = = = Tolkienian Artwork = = = =

Graeme Skinner, Tuesday, 5 May 2015, ‘Going Underground
The tube map of Moria ...

Joe Gilronan, Tuesday, 5 May 2015, ‘Rivendell. The Last Homely House

Jenny Dolfen, Wednesday, 27 May 2015, ‘The Two Captains
Beleg and Túrin.

The Drawing of the Sword
by Jenny Dolfen

= = = = Other Stuff = = = =

Steve McKenna, Monday, 11 May 2015, ‘Fact and fantasy on Tolkien trail
A quite nice article about Tolkien's relationship to Birmingham. Overall a very good article, though the usual tower-myth does get aired (with the ‘the possible inspiration’ qualifier, which seems to be journalist-speak for ‘there's absolutely nothing to support this, but people like to believe it anyway’).

Joe Bartram, Sunday, 24 May 2015, ‘A Tolkien Calendar: Part 1
First part of a series offering a detailed analysis of the calendars of Tolkien's Middle-earth.


= = = = Rewarding Discussions = = = =

Mythsoc, Yahoo group, ‘Article in The Chronicle of Higher Education and a new book about the Inklings
Undoubtedly the most knowledgeable and intelligent discussion that I have seen anywhere of the article and book by the Zaleskis.


= = = = Web Sites = = = =

The Tolkien Estate
I repeat the link to the Tolkien Estate web-site, which saw the launch of a major re-design last month, which is now being commented and reviewed by various Tolkienists.
John D. Rateliff, Monday, 4 May 2015, ‘Tolkien Estate Website
John D. Rateliff, Tuesday, 5 May 2015, ‘And The Answer Is: Oysters Served With Lemon
Christina Scull & Wayne G. Hammond, Wednesday, 6 May 2015, ‘Tolkien Estate Website Revised
John D. Rateliff, Thursday, 7 May 2015, ‘Tolkien Estate's New Website (quick guide)

Tolkien Main Page – Library of Birmingham Discover Tolkien from the Library of Birmingham. Gallery, videos, and other material relating Tolkien's early life in Birmingham.

= = = = The Blog Roll = = = =

These are blogs you really should be following yourself if you're interested in Tolkien ...
Contents from these blogs will only be reported here if there is something that I find particularly interesting, or posts that fit with a monthly theme. However, you will find below links to monthly archives of posts for months where the blog has featured interesting posts with at least some Tolkien connection. In some cases you may find a headline for a post, if I wish to recommend it particularly.

Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond, ‘Too Many Books and Never Enough
Archive of posts from May 2015

The Last Homely House
by Joe Gilronan
Douglas A. Anderson, ‘Tolkien and Fantasy
Archive of posts from May 2015

John D. Rateliff -- ‘Sacnoth's Scriptorium
Archive of posts from May 2015

John Garth, ‘John Garth
Archive of posts from May 2015

David Bratman, ‘Kalimac's Journal
Archive of posts from May 2015

Jenny Dolfen, ‘Jenny's Sketchbook
Archive of posts from May 2015

Anna Smol, ‘A Single Leaf
Archive of posts from May 2015

Various, The Mythopoeic Society
Archive of posts from May 2015

Various (Bradford Eden, ed.)Journal of Tolkien Research (JTR)
Archive of contributions for the on-going volume 1, issue 1

Various, The Tolkien Society (TS)
Archive of posts from May 2015

Simon Cook, Ye Machine
Archive of posts from May 2015

Southfarthing Mathom
Archive of posts from May 2015

Taruithorn, the Oxford Tolkien Society, ‘
Archive of posts from May 2015

Michael Martinez, ‘Middle-earth
Archive of posts from May 2015

Pieter Collier, ‘The Tolkien Library
See the front page for a list of recent posts.

Ben, ‘A clearer thinking oasis
Archive of posts from May 2015

Grey Havens Group, ‘The Grey Havens Group
Archive of posts from May 2015

Bruce Charlton, ‘Tolkien's The Notion Club Papers
Archive of posts from May 2015

= = = = Sources = = = =

New sources in May 2015
Taruithorn, the Oxford Tolkien Society, ‘

Ben, ‘A clearer thinking oasis

For older sources, see http://parmarkenta.blogspot.com/p/sources.html

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Tolkien Transactions LVII

April 2015


April has been a rather busy month, and I have been away for much of the first couple of weeks of May, only getting down to work on these transactions on May 15th. All of this is intended to lead up to the point that, if I am to post this before the end of May (and get at least a couple of days of calm before getting started on the next issue), I have to list a lot of the links with little or, more often, no comment. Therefore you will find this issue somewhat shorter and having rather less commentary than usual. Given my normal grumpiness and difficult-to-satisfy standards, I suppose that this is all to the best ... and in any case, I hope you'll forgive me.

The artwork this month is by Jenny Dolfen. Most of it comes from her Patreon page, where it is available to her patrons in higher resolution than I have posted here ... just sayin'!

All the usual disclaimers apply about newness, completeness and relevance (or any other implication of responsibility) :-)

These transactions are posted on my blog, Parma-kenta (Enquiry into the books) and on the Tolkien Society web-site.

This month it has suited my purposes to sort the contents under the following headlines:
1: News
2: Events
3: Essays and Scholarship
4: Commentary
5: Reviews and Book News
6: Interviews
7: Tolkienian Artwork
8: Other Stuff
9: Rewarding Discussions
10: In Print
11: Web Sites
12: The Blog Roll
13: Sources

Nienor on Haudh-en-Elleth
Sketch by Jenny Dolfen
A wonderful sketch of a key scene in the tragic story of the Children of Húrin.

= = = = News = = = =

Daniel Helen, Sunday, 12 April 2015, ‘Winners of the Tolkien Society Awards 2015 announced
Congratulations all! Very well deserved!

Daniel Helen, Sunday, 19 April 2015, ‘Tolkien part of new Bodleian “Marks of Genius” exhibition

Shaun Gunner, Wednesday, 22 April 2015, ‘Announcement: key Tolkien figure Mike Wilkes has passed away

Daniel Helen, Thursday, 30 April 2015, ‘Tolkien Estate launches new website


= = = = Events = = = =

Past Events
1 - 4 April 2015, New Orleans, Louisiana, ‘Popular Culture/American Culture Association National Conference
David Bratman, Friday, 3 April 2015, ‘Tolkien Day
David Bratman, Sunday, 12 April 2015, ‘Tolkien at the PCA

10-12 April 2015, ‘12th Annual Tolkien at UVM Conference
Anna Smol, Tuesday, 7 April 2015, ‘Tolkien at UVM conference April 10-12
‘Vermont Cynic’, Wednesday, 15 April 2015, ‘Tolkien Fans Turn up Like Hobbits

13 May 2015, ‘Tolkien Lecture 2015: Lev Grossman


Upcoming Events
14 - 17 May 2015, Kalamazoo, Michigan, ‘International Congress on Medieval Studies
See also: John D. Rateliff, Wednesday, 11 March 2015, ‘KALAMAZOO! (Tolkien at Kalamazoo)

24 - 27 May 2015, Koszalin University of Technology, Poland, ‘Medieval Fantasy Symposium 2015

Northeast Tolkien Society, 13 June 2015, Baruch College, New York, ‘New York City Tolkien Conference

The Tolkien Society, 4 July 2015, Leeds, ‘Tolkien Society Seminar 2015
Theme: ‘One Hundred Years of Middle-earth’

6 - 9 July 2015, Leeds, ‘International Medieval Congress 2015
See particularly Dimitra Fimi, Sunday, 8 February 2015, ‘Tolkien, Fantasy and Medievalism at IMC Leeds 2015

17 - 19 July 2015, Spokane, Washington, USA, ‘Tolkienmoot 2015

Mythopoeic Society, 31 July - 3 August 2015, Colorado Springs, Colorado, ‘ MythCon 46
Thursday, 2 April 2015, ‘Mythcon 46 Progress Report #1


6 - 9 August 2015, The Greisinger Museum, Jenins, Switzerland, ‘Omentielva Enquea

Hungarian Tolkien Society, 3 - 4 September 2015, Budapest, Hungary, ‘5th International Tolkien Conference in Hungary

5 - 6 September 2015, Sarehole, Birmingham, ‘Middle Earth Festival 2015
Formerly known as ‘Middle-earth Weekend’

The Tolkien Society, 10 - 13 September 2015, St Antony's College, Oxford, ‘ Oxonmoot 2015

5 - 7 December 2015, ‘Italian Ringers Con 2015

It Ends in Flame
by Jenny Dolfen

= = = = Essays and Scholarship = = = =

Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond, Thursday, 2 April 2015, ‘New Addenda and Corrigenda
Christina Scull and Wayne Hammond have updated the addenda and corrigenda pages of their web-site. This time a lot of new information has become available!

John D. Rateliff, Thursday, 2 April 2015, ‘An Improved Reading (Plot Notes D)
Apart from the immediate value for our understanding of Tolkien's plot-notes and, more generally, of his working manners, this also provides a cautionary tale.

Jason Fisher, Wednesday, 8 April 2015, ‘More on Tolkien and the Nobel Prize
Who did Tolkien nominate for the Nobel Prize in Literature? Find out this and more ...

John D. Rateliff, Monday, 13 April 2015, ‘Tolkien and Women: Dorothy Everett
On Tolkien's support for women scholars and, by implication, for women's education.


= = = = Commentary = = = =

Bradley Birzer, Wednesday, 11 March 2015, ‘Tolkien's Hope for the Modern World
Charming in some ways, but also frustrating in the one-sidedness of its approach to Tolkien. It is one thing to write about Tolkien from a certain perspective, whether the philological, the Norse studies', classic, or, indeed, the Catholic perspective, as they all provide us with valuable insights, but here I get the impression that other perspectives are not refuted, but are simply ignored, which makes the whole thing appear very skewed, at least in my eyes.

The Elvenking
by Jenny Dolfen
John Mullan, Friday, 3 April 2015, ‘The triumph of fantasy fiction
About the fantasy genre ... The article is interesting and tries to summarise, but in the end doesn't really try to do or say anything new.

Ben ‘Aussierebel’, Saturday, 4 April 2015, ‘Why Corey Olsen harms Tolkien Studies
I will not address the specific points of criticism either way (at least not at this point), but I do think it is important that we can discuss how to do scholarship on Tolkien – preferably making it possible to give frank, but constructive, criticism without jeopardising the sense of fellowship that exists in Tolkien scholarship.

Michael Martinez, Tuesday, 14 April 2015, ‘Middle-earth: The Thing In Itself
An intriguing and thought-provoking (in the good sense) post by Michael Martinez. He addresses in part the idea of complexity / simplicity and how these ideas are abused in making highly subjective statements in literary criticism, and in part the syllogistic nature of the concept of the ‘myth of Middle-earth’. If anything, I could have wished that Martinez had taken his two main themes and made a blog post of each.

David Bratman, Wednesday, 15 April 2015, ‘what I'm not doing this weekend
All I can say is, ‘Well said, Bratman! Thank you!’

John D. Rateliff, Friday, 17 April 2015, ‘A Crackpot vents on Tolkien

Ben ‘Aussierebel’, Thursday, 23 April 2015, ‘Tolkien, Ishiguro and Genre
I think Ishiguro's new book, The Buried Giant, has done much good to make people question their ideas about a ‘fantasy genre’ (I am using scare quotes here to imply that I am not entirely sure that it appropriate to speak of such a thing). Ben's piece here is a good point in that case.


= = = = Reviews and Book News = = = =

Harvard Magazine, Wednesday, 15 April 2015, ‘An Oxford Efflorescence
About a new book, The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams by Philip and Carol Zaleski.

John D. Rateliff, Friday, 24 April 2015, ‘Jo Walton's Two Thoughts on Tolkien
A couple of points brought up by Jo Walton in What Makes This Book so Great that John Rateliff found interesting. Personally I don't know if I think of The Hobbit as ‘mere a ldquo;journyman work”’, but I would certainly say that while it is a good children's book, it is far from being a masterpiece of children's literature.

John D. Rateliff, Wednesday, 29 April 2015, ‘I Am Reviewed (in Dutch)
Rateliff's own contribution to the Shippey festschrift has been reviewed in Lembas, the newsletter of Unquendor, the Dutch Tolkien Society.

David Bratman, Thursday, 30 April 2015, ‘Tolkien studied
On Bratman's contribution, and the completion thereof, to ‘The Year's Work in Tolkien Studies’ for Tolkien Studies – also this year.


= = = = Interviews = = = =

David Kettle, Saturday, 18 April 2015, ‘Interview: Violinist Josef Špacek talks Tolkien
Not least some very intersting reflections on how such things as ‘Englishness’ can be detected across so different media as the long romance literature and classical music.


= = = = Tolkienian Artwork = = = =

Jenny Dolfen, Thursday, 2 April 2015, ‘Patreon!
About Jenny's new Patreon page (see under websites)

Jenny Dolfen, Sunday, 19 April 2015, ‘Aurë entuluva

Jenny Dolfen, Sunday, 19 April 2015, ‘Finrod Felagund


= = = = Other Stuff = = = =

The Wanderer
by Jenny Dolfen
John D. Rateliff, Wednesday, 1 April 2015, ‘Tolkien Spotting (A. S. Byatt)
Spotted in the new Pratchett book, A Blink of the Screen, in the foreword by A.S. Byatt.

Ben ‘Aussierebel’, Thursday, 9 April 2015, ‘Picked up by Parmar-kenta
Admittedly, it is flattering to see the name of my blog in the headline of another :-)
Otherwise my comments to this are available at the blog itself.


= = = = Rewarding Discussions = = = =

LotR Plaza, ‘Some surprising facts
A couple of oft-forgotten points of obscure law are touched up ...

LotR Plaza, ‘Book of Lost Tales Readthrough?
An on-going (and at an appropriately quiet pace to allow even busy folk to keep up ... almost) read-through discussion of The Book of Lost Tales.


= = = = In Print = = = =

Thomas, Other Minds, Monday, 20 April 2015, ‘Other Minds, Issue 15 published
Well ... print and print, seeing that Other Minds is an on-line magazine published digitally in PDF format, but so is e.g. Beyond Bree and (at least the way I get it) Mythlore, so I think it is OK here. Other Minds magazine has a focus on the story-internal angle and particularly on Middle-earth as a setting for role-playing.


= = = = Web Sites = = = =

Patreon: Jenny Dolfen
Patreon is a new kind of crowdsourcing site. Here, instead of paying one (large) lump-sum for some future delivery, you pledge yourself for a given amount every month. Jenny Dolfen now only teaches part-time in order to get more time for painting, but this also means that she needs a different source of income, and here Patreon comes in very nicely. So, if you want to contribute to Jenny having more time to do those wonderful paintings we have come to love, you should really consider signing up for a small sum every month – every bit matters, and you get get some wonderful perks as well!
All the paintings that illustrate this month's transactions are available in higher resolution for Jenny's patrons ...

The Tolkien Estate
The Tolkien Estate has relaunched their website with much educational contents (see news above). Of course, as in all such large projects, there are some minor glitches (some of them to do with using developers that are not native speakers of English, the primary language of Tolkieniana), but overall this is an exciting and promising new site.

= = = = The Blog Roll = = = =

These are blogs you really should be following yourself if you're interested in Tolkien ...
Contents from these blogs will only be reported here if there is something that I find particularly interesting, or posts that fit with a monthly theme. However, you will find below links to monthly archives of posts for months where the blog has featured interesting posts with at least some Tolkien connection. In some cases you may find a headline for a post, if I wish to recommend it particularly.
Ossiriand
by Jenny Dolfen

Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond, ‘Too Many Books and Never Enough
Archive of posts from April 2015

Jason Fisher, ‘Lingwë -- Musings of a Fish
Archive of posts from April 2015

John D. Rateliff -- ‘Sacnoth's Scriptorium
Archive of posts from April 2015

Jonathan S. McIntosh, ‘The Flame Imperishable
Archive of posts from April 2015

David Bratman, ‘Kalimac's Journal
Archive of posts from April 2015

Jenny Dolfen, ‘Jenny's Sketchbook
Archive of posts from April 2015

Anna Smol, ‘A Single Leaf
Archive of posts from April 2015

Various, The Mythopoeic Society
Archive of posts from April 2015

Morgan Thomsen, ‘Mythoi
Archive of posts from April 2015

Various (Bradford Eden, ed.)Journal of Tolkien Research (JTR)
Archive of news

Various, The Tolkien Society (TS)
Archive of posts from April 2015

Simon Cook, Ye Machine
Archive of posts from April 2015

Michael Martinez, ‘Middle-earth
Archive of posts from April 2015

Grey Havens Group, ‘The Grey Havens Group
Archive of posts from April 2015

= = = = Sources = = = =

No new sources in April 2015

For older sources, see http://parmarkenta.blogspot.com/p/sources.html

Monday, 6 April 2015

Tolkien Transactions LVI

March 2015


Besides much else that has happened in March, I need also to somehow mark the death of Sir Terry Pratchett, or Pterry to many of his fans. Much has been posted about Pratchett in the weeks since he passed away, but as with Tolkien, he leaves his work behind.
Tolkien once wrote that
nowhere does time ‘fly’ so fast compared with daily experience as when sitting and drinking and conversing with dear friends in an inn
If the Universe is, after all, a just place, there will be an inn beyond the Circles of the World – a timeless variant of the Bird & Baby, where a seat will have been made for Pratchett.

See also the following comments:
Daniel Helen, Thursday, 12 March 2015, ‘Terry Pratchett, Tolkien fan and fantasy author, has passed away and
Marcel Aubron-Bulles, Friday, 13 March 2015, ‘AT LAST, SIR TERRY, WE MUST WALK TOGETHER. How Discworld shaped my life: Remembering Sir Terry Pratchett (or rather, PTERRY.)
‘Pratchett was lost!’ Said Troels, ‘It is hard indeed to believe that one of so great wisdom, and of power – for many wonderful things he did among us – could perish, and so much lore be taken from the world. Are you sure of this, and that he did not just leave you and depart where he would? Yet, do not despair, for we are not bound for ever to the circles of the world, and beyond them is more than memory. Namarië!’


These transactions are posted on my blog, Parma-kenta (Enquiry into the books) and on the Tolkien Society web-site.
And of course all of the usual disclaimers apply about newness, completeness and relevance (or, indeed, any other implication of responsibility) :-)

This month it has suited my purposes to sort the contents under the following headlines:
1: Tolkien Reading Day
2: News
3: Events
4: Essays and Scholarship
5: Commentary
6: Reviews and Book News
7: Tolkienian Artwork
8: Other Stuff
9: Rewarding Discussions
10: In Print
11: Web Sites
12: The Blog Roll
13: Sources

‘Speed Now This Feathered Shaft’ by Jenny Dolfen
Speed Now This Feathered Shaft
by Jenny Dolfen

= = = = Tolkien Reading Day = = = =

The Tolkien Society, Wednesday, 25 March 2015, ‘Today is Tolkien Reading Day!
Featuring a number of Tolkienists reading favourite passages related to this year's theme of friendship.

Personally, I did a reading in the Copenhagen fantasy & SF book shop, Fantask. I had chosen to read from The Children of Húrin telling the story of the friendship between Túrin and Beleg Cúthalion, from their meeting in the woods of Doriath (told only in passing by the narrator) through to Túrin's arrival to Nargothrond after Beleg's death. I chose this reading in order to focus on some of the less known texts, and to highlight a side of Tolkien's work that often gets overlooked by his critics. All in all the reading itself took about 1½ hours, to which I added a break in the middle (sitting right next to the Pratchett shelves, that break did cost me a couple of books).


Anna Smol, Wednesday, 25 March 2015, ‘International Tolkien Reading Day: Theme of Friendship

Sean Kirst, Thursday, 26 March 2015, ‘Sunday, Tolkien Reading Day in greater Syracuse: Keeping it rolling in the town where it was born


Emily Hewett, Metro, Wednesday, 25 March 2015, ‘Tolkien Reading Day 2015: How well do you know The Lord Of The Rings – THE QUIZ

Robin Jenkins, Wednesday, 25 March 2015, ‘Happy Tolkien Reading Day! The author had links with Gloucestershire

Joseph Bradford, Wednesday, 25 March 2015, ‘Today Is Tolkien Reading Day, How Are You Celebrating?

Kassondra Granata, Wednesday, 25 March 2015, ‘Celebrate Tolkien Reading Day With These Six Resources

A couple of the usual collections of inspirational quotations attributed to Tolkien have not met the standard required here and have been omitted. NEVER use a quotation you have found on the internet until you have verified it! And if they do not provide a proper source (at least book and chapter), then don't bother at all.


= = = = News = = = =

Zach Weiner, Tuesday, 3 March 2015, ‘SMBC - Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal
Just for fun! Forget about those pesky eagles – there are other alternatives ...

Michael Erard, Saturday, 7 March 2015, ‘“Ka Hopita”: Hawaiian translation of “The Hobbit” coming soon
I have never myself been terribly interested in the details of translating Tolkien, but I do think it is interesting to see how translations of Tolkien's work are appearing in some odd languages, where one can expect the translation to be used more as an aid to learning the language through a familiar story than as a way of encountering the story. Personally I prefer to eschew translations if I am at all capable of struggling through a book in the original language, as a translation will never be a fully accurate representation of the original.

Shaun Gunner, Wednesday, 18 March 2015, ‘Middle-earth Weekend to return in Birmingham
Now called the Middle-earth Festival, the event returns after a hiatus to celebrate the links of J.R.R. Tolkien to Sarehole Mill, Moseley Bog and the surrounding area.

Yorkshire Post, Thursday, 19 March 2015, ‘Video: Lord of the Sings as Leeds hears lost Tolkien ballad
On how one might also celebrate the acquisition of a collection of Tolkien-related material (the Gordon-Tolkien collection) ... singing The Root of the Boot. Oh, and of course also about the collection and the poem itself ...
See also:
The Independent, Thursday, 19 March 2015, ‘Singing students remember Tolkien
Western Daily Press, Friday, 19 March 2015, ‘Students start to follow route of JRR Tolkien

Dave Higgens,Times of Malta, Monday, 23 March 2015, ‘Singing in tribute to Tolkien


= = = = Events = = = =

The Tolkien Society, 10 - 12 April 2015, Norfolk Arms Hotel, Arundel, ‘AGM and Springmoot 2015
See also Shaun Gunner, Sunday, 22 March 2015, ‘Tolkien documentary producer Leslie Megahey to be Guest of Honour

10 - 12 April, Burlington, Vermont, ‘Tolkien in Vermont: Medieval Verse Narratives

Tom Shippey, 15 April 2015, Arizona State University, Tempe, ‘Politics in Tolkien: What We Can Learn From Hobbits

‘The Wizard's Tale’ by Jef Murray
The Wizard's Tale
by Jef Murray
Deutsche Tolkien Gesellschaft, 1 - 3 May 2015, ‘Tolkien Seminar 2015: On Fairy-stories

14 - 17 May 2015, Kalamazoo, Michigan, ‘International Congress on Medieval Studies
See also: John D. Rateliff, Wednesday, 11 March 2015, ‘KALAMAZOO! (Tolkien at Kalamazoo)

24 - 27 May 2015, Koszalin University of Technology, Poland, ‘Medieval Fantasy Symposium 2015

Northeast Tolkien Society, 13 June 2015, Baruch College, New York, ‘New York City Tolkien Conference

The Tolkien Society, 4 July 2015, Leeds, ‘Tolkien Society Seminar 2015
Theme: ‘One Hundred Years of Middle-earth’

6 - 9 July 2015, Leeds, ‘International Medieval Congress 2015
See particularly Dimitra Fimi, Sunday, 8 February 2015, ‘Tolkien, Fantasy and Medievalism at IMC Leeds 2015

17 - 19 July 2015, Spokane, Washington, USA, ‘Tolkienmoot 2015

Mythopoeic Society, 31 July - 3 August 2015, Colorado Springs, Colorado, ‘MythCon 46
See also John D. Rateliff, Wednesday, 11 February 2015, ‘Scholar Guest of Honor, Mythcon 2015
And Monday, 16 February 2015, ‘Mythcon 46 updated Call for Papers

6 - 9 August 2015, The Greisinger Museum, Jenins, Switzerland, ‘Omentielva Enquea

Hungarian Tolkien Society, 3 - 4 September 2015, Budapest, Hungary, ‘5th International Tolkien Conference in Hungary

5 - 6 September 2015, Sarehole, Birmingham, ‘Middle Earth Festival 2015
Formerly known as ‘Middle-earth Weekend’

The Tolkien Society, 10 - 13 September 2015, St Antony's College, Oxford, ‘Oxonmoot 2015

5 - 7 December 2015, ‘Italian Ringers Con 2015


= = = = Essays and Scholarship = = = =

Andrew Higgins, February 2015, ‘In Dembith Pengoldh
A highly recommendable article by Andrew Higgins about the very earliest stages of Tolkien's construction of Elvish languages, circa 1915 – 1920.

Anna Smol, Monday, 2 March 2015, ‘Talks on Tolkien: Dimitra Fimi on Folklore and “Sellic Spell”
Focusing on Tolkien's Sellic Spell in particular, and on Beowulf in general.

Melvyn Bragg et Al., BBC, Thursday, 5 March 2015, ‘In Our Time: Beowulf
A discussion of Beowulf with Laura Ashe, Clare Lees, and Andy Orchard (the current Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at the University of Oxford). There are some very interesting points being made (at least for those of us, who have not been taught Beowulf in school or university).

Sherrylin Branchaw, Friday, 13 March 2015, ‘Contextualizing the Writings of J.R.R. Tolkien on Literary Criticism
In this second article from the on-line peer-reviewed journal of Tolkien Research, Sherrylyn Branchaw discusses how we might understand Tolkien's various writings on literary criticism and reconsile those with his own practices. This warning to read Tolkien's comments with the context in which they were supposed to be understood in mind follows other work in recent years that propound similar healthy scepticism to a too-literal reading, but Branchaw's article collects the threads nicely, and provides an excellent holistic analysis.

Anna Smol, Thursday, 19 March 2015, ‘Talks on Tolkien: John D. Rateliff, the Hobbit manuscripts, and Tolkien archives
One of the very nice thing about this series from Anna Smol is that she keeps finding things that I didn't know existed – but it is perhaps even better when she posts things that I probably wouldn't have searched for in the first place such as, in this post, the films from the Bodleian and the Marquette (and of course, while context is definitely far from everything, it does matter ...).

University of Leeds, Thursday, 19 March 2015, ‘Collection highlights JRR Tolkien's time at the University of Leeds
Announcing that the University of Leeds has acquired a ‘collection of letters, poems and prose’ including six letters, eleven manuscripts and two books, one of which is a first edition copy of The Hobbit which Tolkien dedicated to Gordon and his family.
See also Elizabeth Ott, Thursday, 14 August 2014, ‘This Just In: A Tolkien Black Swan
In which Ott describes the rare Songs for the Philologists that had, at that point, been recently acquired by the University of Virginia Library.

Anna Smol, Saturday, 21 March 2015, ‘Tolkien Studies at PCA 2015
The PCA conference will probably be over before I get these transactions posted, but reports are unlikely to be up, so for this month the list of Tolkien sessions will have to suffice. Even though I have no interest in neiter fan studies nor the study of adaptations, there are quite a number of sessions, I'd love to hear more about (here's to the wish that the presenters will put up their papers on the 'net ...)

Douglas A. Anderson, Tuesday, 31 March 2015, ‘An updated checklist of Tom Shippey on J.R.R. Tolkien, and Corrections to the printings of TOLKIEN ON FAIRY-STORIES
... I think the headline says it all, really.


= = = = Commentary = = = =

‘Yavanna’ by Jef Murray
Yavanna
by Jef Murray
Lynn Forest-Hill, Tuesday, 3 March 2015, ‘Last Meeting in February
The Southfarthings are reading The Fellowship of the Ring – follow them as they discuss their way from Bree to Rivendell (chapters 9 through 12 of book I) three meetings, including the two meetings in March (see the two posts following this)

Ben ‘Ausserebel’, Sunday, 15 March 2015, ‘This Children of Hurin, God, and Pride
Ben offers some thoughts about The Children of Húrin in this post. I quite agree that this story deserves to be better known (albeit there is some very excellent scholarship done on Túrin such as West's ‘Túrin's Ofermod’ in Tolkien's Legendarium or Nagy's ‘The Great Chain of Reading’ in Tolkien the Medievalist). Ben writes about the ethic ambiguity in this tale with its mix of especially Finnish and Norse sources and ethics, but unfortunately he spends more time criticising the approach taken by Corey Olsen than he does expounding his own analysis. It has been quite a while since I listened to the lectures Ben refers to, but as I recall it, I would agree that Olsen's analysis tended towards the overly simple, albeit, as has been pointed out excellently by Branchaw this month, we really ought to understand the context in which the lectures are given.
Ben continues his criticism of Olsen's analysis as being overly simple in the following post, though there referring to a podcast I do not think I've heard. One point that strikes me in this case, however, is the discussion of death as the Gift of Ilúvatar. Far too many commentators (including scholars) tend to forget that the Gift is primarily one of freedom – of freedom from the Music “which is as fate to all things else” and that it is merely “one with this gift of freedom that the children of Men dwell only a short space in the world alive, and are not bound to it” – death, thus, is not the gift in and of itself, but is inextricably tied with the freedom and the greater fate (to make everything “in form and deed, completed, and the world fulfilled unto the last and smallest”).

C Mountford, The Sentinel, Wednesday, 25 March 2015, ‘Did Staffordshire inspire Tolkien's Middle Earth?
I really do not know, but it did certainly inspire some minor aspects of Middle-earth, particularly in it's first telling in The Book of Lost Tales. However, not nearly as much as they would like you to believe (I will admit that I find it frustrating how these things tend to go way beyond the known facts, which in this case are interesting enough in themselves, and into the realm ... well, claims with an even more tenuous relation to facts than mere speculation; presumably just to be able to claim some sort of causal connection between Tolkien's best-known works and some particularly loved place or story ...)

Russ Linton, Friday, 27 March 2015, ‘There's a Vulcan in My Tolkien
For Russ Linton the news of the death of Leonard Nimoy eventually sent him through Nimoy's famous (or should that be infamous?) rendition of The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins on to a quest for Tolkien-related music – a search that he has written about here.

Anna Smol, Saturday, 28 March 2015, ‘Talks on Tolkien: Dawn Walls-Thumma on transformative works
I generally have very little patience for studies of ‘Tolkien fandom’, and, paraphrasing Tolkien, I admit that ‘I am a man of limited sympathies (but well aware of it), and [fan fiction] lies almost completely outside them’. I have read, and enjoyed, a few pieces of fan fiction, but I do so in sympathy for the author of the fan fiction, and in spite of it being fan fiction. Also, I firmly believe in the supremacy of the author within his own sub-creation as the only common ground worth discussing – I generally find other people's ideas about how they think things ought to be within Tolkien's sub-creation to be quite uninteresting, whereas an well-argued idea about how Tolkien might have thought they were can be very interesting.
With this starting point, it will be no surprise that I found little that resonated with me in this talk, and the best I can say is that at least I have absolutely nothing against others doing what they like as long as they'll allow me to ignore it (and no, I don't think it is inferior – it is just not my thing at all; inferior work is being done, and unfortunately also published, within all approaches, but so is superior work).

Elise Ringo, Tuesday, 31 March 2015, ‘They Are No Men: Tolkien's 6 Most Bad-Ass Forgotten Ladies
It would be presumptuous of me to say that Elise Ringo (the name makes me presume it's a woman) misses the point with this article, but I can hopefully say that she doesn't address the point that I would find the more interesting. When she emphasises six strong female characters from Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium (Lúthien, Haleth, Idril, Aredhel, (Tar-)Ancalimë, and Galadriel), she picks six characters of legend, only two of which (Lúthien and Galadriel) were ever fleshed out in a more detailed portrait, and all of whom are portrayed in what in Northrop Frye's system would be the romantic or high mimetic modes. This means that they are all larger than life – worthless as exemplars of gender or race. Tolkien did have a problem portraying women, but obviously not one that extended to women of legend. Éowyn was omitted from this list, but she, too, is (mostly) portrayed in the high mimetic mode and too far removed from the reader (at least if the reader has a realistic view of her- or himself) to provide a role model. The few women we do get that are closer us – e.g. Ioreth of Gondor, Rose Cotton and Lobelia Sackville-Baggins of the Shire – are all portrayed very sketchily, making them feel as much as charicatures of women roles than as actual and living characters. The effect is that (at least in the three big ones – The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion) there are no strong women who have that sense of being realistic people. Personally I think it is possible that Tolkien, consciously or sub-consciously, avoided writing ‘real’ because he wasn't good at it (whether he realised this or not, I couldn't say).


= = = = Reviews and Book News = = = =

Wayne G. Hammond & Christina Scull, Sunday, 1 March 2015, ‘Art of The Lord of the Rings Pre-Order
The excellent news that the next book by Hammond and Scull, The Art of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien is now available for pre-order, with expected publication date on 13 October. at first look it seems that the Houghton Mifflin edition is on pre-order also on Amazon.co.uk, but this may merely be a temporary thing.

Wayne G. Hammond & Christina Scull, Saturday, 7 March 2015, ‘Art of The Lord of the Rings Update
Announcing the UK edition by HarperCollins to be published on 8 October this year ...

Nancy Marie Brown, Tuesday, 24 March 2015, ‘Trolls: An Unnatural History, by John Lindow
A review of a book by John Lindow that takes a look into the history of the Troll. This might be a good place to start for anyone wanting to know more about the background also for the Olog-hai of Tolkien's works.


= = = = Tolkienian Artwork = = = =

Jef Murray, Saturday, 21 March 2015, ‘The Wizard's Tale
A painting of tale-telling in Middle-earth ...

‘The Ring Goes South’ by Jef Murray
The Ring Goes South
by Jef Murray
Jef Murray, Saturday, 21 March 2015, ‘The Ring Goes South
A painting of Gandalf and Frodo, presumably during the journey west of the Misty Mountains (somewhere in Eregion would be my guess).

Jef Murray, Saturday, 21 March 2015, ‘Yavanna
A sketch of Yavanna.

Jef Murray, Saturday, 21 March 2015, ‘Uinen
A sketch of Uinen.

Jenny Dolfen, Sunday, 29 March 2015, ‘Speed now this feathered shaft
A watercolour of Fingon getting ready to shoot Maedhros to release the latter from the pain of his imprisonment by Morgoth.


= = = = Other Stuff = = = =

Andrew Higgins, Sunday, 1 March 2015, ‘Well....I am Back!
After completing his Ph.D. on ‘the Genesis of Tolkien's Mythology’ (see also last month), Andrew Higgins has returned to his own blog, Wotan's Musings. With the projects Andy Higgins is sketching in this post, it would seem a good idea to follow his blog and his Academia.edu profile closely.

David Bentley, Birmingham Mail, Monday, 9 March 2015, ‘Moseley nostalgia: 21 atmospheric images show past of Tolkien's “lost paradise”
21 images from Moseley Village, from circa 1914 up to 1992.


= = = = Rewarding Discussions = = = =

Ursula Le Guin, Monday, 2 March 2015, ‘95. “Are they going to say this is fantasy?”
It is perhaps not entirely fair to hide this in the discussions section, but Ursula Le Guin has in two posts reacted to some statements by Kazuo Ishiguro regarding the fantasy genre in general. The two posts (numbers 95 and 96) are Le Guin's side of the discussion, but with links to Ishiguro's statements.
If only all internet discussions were conducted with this kind of attention and readiness to acknowledge a misunderstanding.

LotR Plaza, , ‘Book of Lost Tales Readthrough?
A read-through discussion of The Book of Lost Tales, which has so far covered the foreword and the first chapter.


= = = = In Print = = = =

Tolkien Studies XI
March saw my copy of Tolkien Studies XI finally arriving. The story behind this is, I hope, amusing enough to justify sharing it. I ordered my copy in the latter part of November, knowing that it was a little delayed, and about New Year, I started noticing that several friends had received their copies – including friends in Europe, but I wanted to give it ample time before writing West Virginia University Press about the problem.
Between this and being quite busy overall, I didn't really get around to writing them, but on 18 March Andrew Higgins wrote something on the Tolkien Society Facebook Group that made me remember again, and that made me write them at 14:42 (all times are Danish, or CET). They quickly promised to send a new copy, and after a bit back and forth, at 17:42 I got confirmation that it would be taken care of.
All of this, as the times will suggest, happened while I was at work, but when I arrived home that evening, I found the my copy, which must have been under way since about New Year, waiting for me. I immediately wrote the nice people at the WVU (at 19:23), and they were fortunately able to stop the new copy from being sent. But what a strange turn of events!

I have, of course, remained busy, and have not had time to read the whole volume yet, but I have managed to read Verlyn Flieger's contribution, ‘But What Did He Really Mean?’, in which she addresses some of the questions where Tolkien seems to be saying two opposing things about his own work – the question of conscious Christianity, the question of the independent reality of Elves and Faërie, and (interestingly) Faërian drama. Flieger's paper is more nuanced and balanced than what I have seen elsewhere, and as usual she seems to understand Tolkien's intentions, and Tolkien's struggles, better than nearly all others.


= = = = Web Sites = = = =

Wheaton College, The Marion E. Wade Center, ‘Audio and Video on Tolkien
Various talks on Tolkien from the Marion E. Wade Center – well worth listening to!

Mythgard Institute, ‘The Book of Lost Tales, Part II
A lecture series with Corey Olsen and co-lecturers about The Book of Lost Tales II (the last two lectures to be held in April).

‘Uinen’ by Jef Murray
Uinen
by Jef Murray

= = = = The Blog Roll = = = =

These are blogs you really should be following yourself if you're interested in Tolkien ...
Contents from these blogs will only be reported here if there is something that I find particularly interesting, or posts that fit with a monthly theme. However, you will find below links to monthly archives of posts for months where the blog has featured interesting posts with at least some Tolkien connection. In some cases you may find a headline for a post, if I wish to recommend it particularly.

Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond, ‘Too Many Books and Never Enough
Archive of posts from March 2015

Douglas A. Anderson, ‘Tolkien and Fantasy
Archive of posts from March 2015

John D. Rateliff -- ‘Sacnoth's Scriptorium
Archive of posts from March 2015

Jonathan S. McIntosh, ‘The Flame Imperishable
Archive of posts from March 2015

Marcel Aubron-Bülles, ‘The Tolkienist
Archive of posts from March 2015

David Bratman, ‘Kalimac's Journal
Archive of posts from March 2015

Jenny Dolfen, ‘Jenny's Sketchbook
Archive of posts from March 2015

Anna Smol, ‘A Single Leaf
Archive of posts from March 2015

Various (Bradford Eden, ed.) Journal of Tolkien Research (JTR)

Various, The Tolkien Society (TS)
Archive of posts from March 2015

Simon Cook, Ye Machine
Archive of posts from March 2015

Southfarthing Mathom
Archive of posts from March 2015

Michael Martinez, ‘Middle-earth
Archive of posts from March 2015

Grey Havens Group, ‘The Grey Havens Group
Archive of posts from March 2015


= = = = Sources = = = =

No new sources in March 2015

For older sources, see http://parmarkenta.blogspot.com/p/sources.html