Thursday, 1 September 2011

Tolkien Transactions XVI

August 2011

Matthew Bladen, Monday, 8 August 2011, ‘Öjevind Lång’
Early in August the Tolkien Newsgroups were hit by the sad news that Öjevind Lång had died. A long-time regular of the newsgroups, and a personal friend to many of the regulars, Öjevind's warmth, wit and wisdom will long be remembered by those who experienced them in the groups. Öjevind also translated The Children of Húrin to his native Swedish. He will be missed! Namarië!

= = = = News = = = =

Robert Marquand, The Christian Science Monitor, Friday, 5 August 2011, ‘Tea-party hobbits? Hardly, say indignant Tolkien scholars’
One of last month's more amusing items was the appearance of ‘hobbits’ in US politics — presumably intended disparagingly. Though gainsaid by such illustrious Tolkien scholars as Jason Fisher and Wayne Hammond, I will maintain what I said last month that the comparison need not be quite as far-fetched as all that (perhaps I should add that I most certainly do not sympathize with the Tea Party movement). This, of course, does not invalidate the points of critique here levelled against the usage.

Arwen, Middle-earth News, Sunday, 7 August 2011, "Mythgard Institute Partners with UWIC"
The news that the two institutes offering on-line academic courses on Tolkien, the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff and the Mythgard Institute, have entered into a partnership and will recognize the credits earned at each other. Strangely the linked pages at the Mythgard Institute appears to have been taken down again — does this mean that the partnership has stopped before it started?

H&S, Monday, 8 August 2011, ‘New Website’
Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull are moving their web-site to a new host and a new URL — see under web sites below.

Glen Weldon, NPR, Thursday, 11 August 2011, "NPR's Top 100 Science Fiction And Fantasy Novels: Parsing The Results"
NPR has had a vote on the 100 best science fiction and fantasy novels, and has now released the results. Not surprisingly _The Lord of the Rings_ comes in first, but it's more surprising that The Silmarillion gets in as number 46. Lewis' Space Trilogy only just makes the list as no. 100. I haven't found any other Inkling books on the list. Children's books and young adult books were banned, which, while this means that The Hobbit and the Narnia books were ruled out together with His Dark Materials and the Harry Potter books, it also kept out such as Twilight and Eragon . . .
John Rateliff comments on the list here:
JDR, Friday, 12 August 2011, ‘And The WInner Is . . . (NPR Fantasy List)’

= = = = Essays and Scholarship = = = =

LS, Saturday, 6 August 2011, ‘A Saga sort of post.....’
Primarily on compounding in Germanic languages with a focus on compounds of the old word for an enclosure, geard or garthi. I first read this post shortly after having helped my daughter with her homework on compounds in modern Danish. In modern Danish there is only one way in which you can put two nouns next to each other an keep them as two words: if the first is a genitive form. Otherwise you run them together in a compound word (you do this iteratively, so you can, if you will, construct completely legal compounds of ten or more nouns run together). Speaking of compounds and words, Larry takes his outset from Miklagarthi (Constantinople) and also touches on Tolkien's use of Mundburg and Isengard.

BC, Saturday, 6 August 2011, ‘Tolkien and the nature of evil: Morgoth versus Sauron’
Tom Shippey has discussed Tolkien's portrayal of the nature of evil in The Lord of the Rings, but I think that the study of this question based on The Silmarillion, and particularly based on the late work on the Silmarillion published in Morgoth's Ring and _The War of the Jewels_ is due. Bruce Charlton makes a start of this and that deserves to be encouraged here.

TF, Sunday, 28 August 2011, ‘Source Criticism’
Prior to starting reading Jason Fisher's new book, _Tolkien and the Study of his Sources_ I wanted to put down some of my thoughts on source criticism. Jason has stated (see the Tolkien Library interview below) that he would like to win over some sceptics, and so I thought it a good experiment to see if he manages to sway my views with his book.

= = = = Taum's Aphorisms = = = =

JDR, Wednesday, 10 August 2011, ‘Taum: Twenty Years’
John Rateliff has been publishing a series of posts containing a set of aphorisms written by Taum Santoski (what Rateliff says might be called ‘Aphorisms Towards a Poetics of Fantasy’), celebrating Santoski's life and his contributions to Tolkien studies up to the twentieth anniversary of his death.
No. 1: Wednesday, 10 August 2011:
No. 2: Thursday, 11 August 2011:
No. 3: Friday, 12 August 2011:
No. 4: Saturday, 13 August 2011:
No. 5: Tuesday, 16 August 2011.
No. 6: Thursday, 18 August 2011:
No. 7: Friday, 26 August 2011:
No. 8: Saturday, 27 August 2011:
No. 9: Sunday, 28 August 2011:
No. 10, Monday, 29 August 2011:
No. 11, Tuesday, 30 August 2011:
No. 12, Wednesday, 31 August 2011

JDR, Friday, 26 August 2011, ‘Taum's Aphorisms, parts I to VI’

One of the advantages of writing in aphorisms is that it lends itself to a great deal of ambigiuity, so there is some room for interpretation ;-) Rateliff says, in his comments to no. 6, that he thinks that this one is ‘entirely specious’ though of course he can't rule out the possibility that he doesn't see the subtlety, and this is, I think, one of the dangers of this form. I am trying myself to make sense of it all, and I think that there is some valuable help both in Rateliff's comments and in other comments on the individual aphorisms.

= = = = Book News = = = =

PC, Monday, 1 August 2011, "Interview with Jason Fisher about Tolkien and the Study of His Sources"
One of the big news of late has been the book that Jason Fisher has been editing on source criticism in a Tolkien context, and here is an interview that Pieter Collier has done with Jason on the subject. I doubt that Jason will win over many of those who reject source criticism as a valid approach to Tolkien's work because they probably will not read his book, but people such as myself, who are very wary of source criticism without rejecting it outright may come to view it in a more positive light. I look very much forward to reading this book.

Damien Bador, The Tolkien Library, Tuesday, 2 August 2011, "Interview with Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull about The Art of the Hobbit"
A little extra information on the upcoming book by Wayne and Christina on Tolkien's own artwork for The Hobbit. There is very little to add, I think, except to note the intriguing promise of their having ‘one or two ideas’ which they 'hope to develop with HarperCollins and the Tolkien Estate' but which they are 'not yet free to talk about'.

JDR, Thursday, 4 August 2011, ‘The Bones of the Ox’
We are, it appears, several who are reading _Tolkien and the Study of his Sources_ edited by Jason Fisher. John Rateliff is one of the contributors, but at the moment of writing, I have not yet reached his essay on She and Tolkien.

Kunochan,, Monday, 8 August 2011, "Glow-in-the-Dark Hobbits & Homophobic Frodos: Rankin Bass' 1980 'The Return of the King' Reviewed"
(Thank you, internet, for URL shorteners!) A rather humorous review of the abominable (as most viewers appear to agree) 1980 animated adaptation of The Return of the Ring by Rankin & Bass.

JF, Friday, 12 August 2011, "My book is now published and available!"
Jason Fisher is understandably elated that his book, _Tolkien and the Study of his Sources_ is now available from the book sellers.

Kristin Thompson, Thursday, 18 August 2011, "editors discuss ‘picturing tolkien,’ a new anthology on the lotr film trilogy"
Kristin Thompson, who wrote The Frodo Franchise, interviews the editors of _Picturing Tolkien: Essays on Peter Jackson's The Lord Of The Rings Film Trilogy_, a new book dealing with Tolkien and Jackson.

TF, Tuesday, 23 August 2011, ‘Tolkien and Wales’
My on-line review of Phelstead's book Tolkien and Wales. The short version is: it's an excellent book, buy it and read it yourself! The long version? Well, read the review ;-)

JF, Mythprint, Tuesday, 23 August 2011, "Reviews: A Tolkien English Glossary"
‘This review originally appeared in Mythprint 48:6 (#347) in June 2011.’ Jason Fisher applauds the concept, but doesn't find the execution at all up to it.

JDR, Thursday, 25 August 2011, "My Newest Publication: "Two Kinds of Absence""
John Rateliff has also contributed to the volume _Picturing Tolkien: Essays on Peter Jackson's The Lord Of The Rings Film Trilogy_ and here offers a few comments.

PC, Sunday, 28 August 2011, "A Tolkien Tapestry: Pictures to Accompany The Lord of the Rings Will be Released Next Week"
The text of the news-item from Pieter Collier doesn't appear on the page that it refers to, but the news run:
Next week, on the 1st of September, there will be released the book called A Tolkien Tapestry, that brings together all art by Cor Blok. I'm very proud to announce this, since I was asked to edit the book and find and scan all of the art that was sold all accross the globe. Hope you will all enjoy the result. Further this month there will also be released a signed limited deluxe edition.
Cor Blok's illustrations to The Lord of the Rings have produced some very strong reactions — one needs only to read a few of the on-line discussions on the 2011 and 2012 calendars — but though I have, initially, had to admit that Blok's artwork was outside of my limited sympathies, I have become increasingly curious about his work. I have started to seriously consider buying this book.

= = = = Other Stuff = = = =

JDR, Friday, 19 August 2011, ‘Taum Santoski’
On the day of the twentieth anniversary of Taum Santoski's death, a brief remembrance.

Tom O'Boyle, _Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Sunday, 28 August 2011, "The Next Page / The eternal C.S. Lewis: now, more than ever"
I love Tolkien's work, and I am interested in the other Inklings insofar as the group was an important part of the context in which Tolkien wrote, but I have never read very much of their work (I've read the Narnia books, which I found preachy, but nothing else). So, I glean what I can from what I can find, and here was some bits that I didn't know about C.S. Lewis, and which I found interesting. The perspective is quite obviously Christian (the article describes what can best be termed a pilgrimage to Lewis' Oxford), but not in an importunate way.

= = = = Rewarding Discussions = = = =

RABT/AFT: ‘Jackson's Dwarves are smarter Dwarves’
There were some attempts made to try and bridge the usual trenches into which discussions of Jackson's film-versions of _The Lord of the Rings_ too often, and too easily, fall. Though the attempts may not in all ways have been successful, the chance to discover that it is often minute differences in perspective that decide whether you end up being regarded as for or against the films more than made up for the eventual reversal to the entrenched positions of some of the debaters.

LotR Plaza: ‘The Ring and Ofermod’
The best thing about this debate, from my perspective, was that I learned something about the scholarly discussions regarding the interpretation of the Old English word ofermod and of Tolkien's interpretation of The Battle of Maldon.

= = = = Web Sites = = = =

I will try to present a couple of sites every month — if I've found a new site (of any kind) that I have found interesting, then I will add that, and then I'll throw in some oldies to keep things rolling ;-)

Wayne & Christina
That Christina Scull and Wayne Hammond has a web-site is nothing new, but it has now moved to a new URL, so remember to update your bookmarks!

The Tolkien Usenet Groups' Web-site Project
The pages at have apparently grown unstable again, and so I will advocate using the mirror I have made on my own web-hotel. Everything that was on the other site is also found here, including the full overview of all our Chapter-of-the-Week discussions. 

= = = = Sources = = = =

John D. Rateliff (JDR) — ‘Sacnoth's Scriptorium’

Jason Fisher (JF) — ‘Lingwë — Musings of a Fish’

Michael Drout (MD) — ‘Wormtalk and Slugspeak’

Wayne G. Hammond & Christina Scull (H&S) — "Too Many Books and Never Enough"

Pieter Collier (PC) — ‘The Tolkien Library’

Douglas A. Anderson (DAA) et Al. — ‘Wormwoodiana’

Corey Olsen (CO), ‘The Tolkien Professor’

David Bratman (DB), ‘Kalimac’
and the old home:

Larry Swain (LS), ‘The Ruminate’

‘Wellinghall’, ‘Musings of an Aging Fan’

Various, ‘The Northeast Tolkien Society’ (NETS), ‘Heren Istarion’

Bruce Charlton (BC), ‘Tolkien's The Notion Club Papers’

Andrew Higgins (AH), ‘Wotan's Musings’

Various, The Mythopoeic Society

Henry Gee (HG) ‘cromercrox’, ‘The End of the Pier Show’

David Simmons (DS), ‘Aiya Ilúvatar’

Troels Forchhammer (TF), ‘Parmar-kenta’

Mythprint — ‘The Monthly Bulletin of the Mythopoeic Society’

Amon Hen — the Bulletin of the Tolkien Society

- and others

Troels Forchhammer

The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.
- Terry Pratchett, Hogfather

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