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Featuring posts from Tolkien fans, artists, scholars and more

Tolkien’s Tinúviel: A Postscript

All Nightingale photos (c) 2016 Michael FlowersNgalesingingcrop

When writing my recent piece on Nightingales in Tolkien’s writings, I compiled a list of places in Arda which were, or could have been, associated with the species.  This was originally intended as another appendix to the essay, however, as the tone was so different, I decided against including it with the main essay.  Despite this, I am including this now as a more light-hearted piece, which I trust will be taken in that spirit, and possibly a point of discussion.

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Tolkien’s Tinúviel: The Nightingale in Tolkien’s Writings

A Nightingale at rest in Lincolnshire

A Nightingale at rest in Lincolnshire (c) 2009 Michael Flowers

In late-April Nightingales are still returning to southern Britain, so this seems an appropriate time to recall Tolkien’s treatment of this exquisite songster.  Tolkien refers to nightingales (mainly in passing) in a surprisingly high number of his works, but I’m not going to refer to them all here.  Instead, I list all the titles of his books in which I’ve been able to locate an allusion to this species in the almost obligatory appendix. (I tried to time this blog post to coincide with the arrival of this species in the UK, so apologies for any rushed elements).

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18 reasons to read “A Secret Vice: Tolkien on Invented Languages”

A-Secret-Vice-Preview

In the 18 days leading up to the publication of A Secret Vice: Tolkien on Invented Languages yesterday, co-editors Dimitra Fimi and Andrew Higgins tweeted sneak previews from the book. Here are just some of the reason why you should read the new critical edition of one of Tolkien’s most important essays.

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Tolkien Transactions LXVIII

March 2016

Oh, what a month! I had a good, long Easter holiday, getting rested up and re-energized, and on Tolkien Reading Day there was less than a handful of Tolkien-related stories that I hadn’t already dealt with, so I thought I was in good time. Then something happened, and what a great week that was. The amount of great stuff that came out over the last week of March was impressive! So if you haven’t caught up yet (and I won’t blame you, if you haven’t), you certainly have something to look forward to.

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Tolkien Transactions LXVII

February 2016

February was a month where I tried something new for the very first time in my life! Our oldest moved out, leaving us to reorganise the house, which has included setting up a nice office space, where I have been able to gather my Tolkien matters right next to my desk. Being quite satisfied with the set-up, I share a few pictures of my new ‘Troels den’ below.

As usual, I make no claims that any of this is new or relevant to anyone, and I certainly do not claim to be complete (given the many things I choose to ignore, that would be silly, indeed).

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: In Print
10: Web Sites
11: The Blog Roll
12: Sources

Swan’s wings and seafoam
Eärwen by Jenny Dolfen

News

Justyna Tomtas, Wednesday, 3 February 2016, ‘Old Toby’s in Chehalis Gets Stained Glass Windows
I am not sure how keen Tolkien would have been on being associated with a ‘Recreational Marijuana Dispensary’ such as Old Toby’s in Chehalis, Washington, but there is a part of me finding this an almost nostalgic reminder of an earlier view of Tolkien – see especially Dale Nelson’s series Days of the Craze about the reception of Tolkien’s work in the 1960s USA.

Jim Durkin, the Bournemoth Daily Echo, Thursday, 18 February 2016, ‘Rare JRR Tolkien signature to go under the hammer
On the auctioning of a signature card Tolkien signed for Mrs. Gould in Bournemouth for insertion into her book.
See also Martin Lea, the Dorset Echo, Monday, 22 February 2016, ‘It’s a lot of Tolkien – Rare letter by Lord of the Rings author goes under hammer

Troels Forchhammer, Monday, 22 February 2016, ‘“The Shadow Man” and “Noel” – the longer story …
About the whole business with these two poems and their discovery in the 1936 Annual of Our Lady’s School in Abingdon, and not least of the school finding their own copy of said annual. This post also has references to nearly all the posts and articles I have seen about this (omitting only a couple of duplicates). Two blog posts by Tolkien scholars provide additional information that is not in my post:
John D. Rateliff, Saturday, 20 February 2016, ‘The Shadow Man
Douglas A. Anderson, Wednesday, 24 February 2016, ‘Some Tolkienian updates: “lost” poems and secret vices
In which Anderson also comments on the upcoming annotated edition of A Secret Vice, and on a review of Grevel Lindop’s biography about Charles William by A.N. Wilson.

Events

Info on upcoming events (as of 1 March)
27 February–9 April 2016, Mill Bridge Gallery, Skipton, ‘Dales of a Perilous Realm’, John Cockshaw, Shaun Richardson, Mill Bridge Gallery
See, John Cockshaw, YouTube, Monday, 22 February 2016, ‘INSIDE LOOK: “Dales of a Perilous Realm” Tolkien-inspired exhibition
For more information, see Francesca Barbini, SciFiFantasy Network, Sunday, 21 February 2016, ‘Dales Of A Perilous Realm – A Tolkien-Inspired Exhibition

5 March 2016, Pembroke College, Cambridge, UK, ‘Minas Tirith Smial Annual Dinner’, Minas Tirith, the Cambridge Tolkien Society

7 March – 24 April 2016, Museum of Cannock Chase, ‘J.R.R. Tolkien in Staffordshire’, The Haywood Society
Staff, the Staffordshire Newsletter, Tuesday, 16 February 2016, ‘JRR Tolkien in Staffordshire 1915 – 1918 exhibition

22 – 25 March 2016, Seattle, WA, USA, ‘PCA/ACA National Conference, PCA/ACA

My Tolkien shelves
Photo: Troels Forchhammer

24 March 2016, Oslo, Norway, ‘ArtheCon 2016’, Arthedain

25 March 2016, Worldwide, ‘Tolkien Reading Day, Tolkien Society – the 2016 theme is “Life, Death, and Immortality”.
Lily Milos, Middle-earth News, Thursday, 25 February 2016, ‘Celebrate Tolkien Reading Day With Middle-earth News and Around the World!
Lily Milos, Thursday, 25 February 2016, ‘Celebrate Tolkien Reading Day 2016 With The Brisbane Tolkien Fellowship

8–10 April 2016, The Middletons Hotel, York, ‘Springmoot and AGM 2016’, the Tolkien Society

8–9 April 2016, University of Vermont, USA, ‘Tolkien in Vermont 2016’, Tolkien Club of University of Vermont
Anna Smol, Monday, 19 October 2015, ‘CFP: Tolkien in Vermont 2016

14 April–10 June 2016, Various locations, Scotland, ‘Leaf by Niggle’, Puppet State Theatre Company. You can find the tour plan from there.
See also: Shaun Gunner, Tolkien Society, Monday, 29 February 2016, ‘Stage play of Leaf by Niggle to tour Scotland

6–8 May 2016, University of Jena, ‘Tolkien Conference 2016’, Deutsche Tolkiengesellschaft and Walking Tree Publishers. The 2016 theme is ‘Tolkien’s Philosophy of Language’

12–15 May 2016, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, , ‘51st International Congress on Medieval Studies (K’zoo ’16)’, The Medieval Institute at Western Michigan University
John D. Rateliff, Friday, 26 February 2016, ‘Kalamazoo 2016 Tolkien Events schedule

28 May 2016, East Yorkshire, ‘Tolkien Tour: East Yorkshire’, the Tolkien Society

2–5 June 2016, Taylor University, Indiana, ‘C.S. Lewis & Friends Colloquium 2016’, Center for the Study of C.S. Lewis & Friends

17–19 June 2016, Leiden | Den Haag, ‘Lustrum 2016: Unlocking Tolkien, Unquendor – The Dutch Tolkien Society

3 July 2016, Hilton Hotel, Leeds, ‘the Tolkien Society Seminar 2016’, the Tolkien Society
This year’s theme will be ‘Life, Death, and Immortality’ in the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien. See also Daniel Helen, Tolkien Society, Tuesday, 19 January 2016, ‘Call for Papers: Tolkien Society Seminar 2016

4–7 July 2016, Leeds University, ‘International Medieval Congress’, Institute for Medieval Studies

16 July 2016, Baruch College, New York City, ‘New York Tolkien Conference

18–20 July 2016, University of Bamberg, Bavaria, Germany, ‘International Conference on Medievalism – 2016: Tradition or Myth’, International Society for the Study of Medievalism &ndash: I am not sure if there will be anything specifically Tolkienian at this conference, but looking at the theme of the 2016 conference, I would very much expect that Tolkien will be mentioned … more than once.

5–8 August 2016, San Antonio, Texas, US, ‘MythCon 47’, The Mythopoeic Society. The 2016 theme is ‘Faces of Mythology: Ancient, Medieval, and Modern’

8–11 September 2016, Saint Anthony’s, Oxford, ‘Oxonmoot 2016’, Tolkien Society — I have booked! 🙂

Essays and Scholarship

Bradford Lee Eden, Journal of Tolkien Research, Monday, 1 February 2016, ‘Michael H.R. Tolkien (1920-84): a research travelogue
Though I am normally not particularly interested in the details of the lives of the Tolkien children (or grand-children), Bradford Lee Eden manages to tell the story of his research into Tolkien’s second son, Michael Hilary Reuel Tolkien, in a way that is engaging and interesting. I fully understand the curiosity that drives this kind of exploration, and Eden’s way of narrating the process of discovery rather than the dry facts of the results helps to make this article a worthwhile read. What unfortunately remains unexplored is what, if anything, this can tell us about J.R.R. Tolkien and his work, and thus it remains unclear why this story is relevant in a journal focusing on the father.

Jane Beal, Journal of Tolkien Research, Thursday, 4 February 2016, ‘Why is Bilbo Baggins Invisible?: The Hidden War in The Hobbit
This is a very interesting article with a solid overall thrust, but also with some problems that make me rather torn about it. Beal looks at the concept of invisibility as developed in The Lord of the Rings, and applies a number of critical techniques to this, giving the article a well-rounded approach to the topic.
Comparing Bilbo’s role in conveying the messages of the leader (Thorin) while the Dwarves are captives of the Elves in The Hobbit to Tolkien’s rank as signalling officer is well spotted, as is the idea of soldiers feeling in some sense ‘invisible’ on the battle-field, but other biographical comparisons do not work as well as these, and attempts to link Tolkien’s role as signalling officer with the concept of invisibility feel particularly unconvincing.
Beal’s discussions of the moral, literary, and theological aspects of invisibility in the context of this power of the Master Ring as it evolved in The Lord of the Rings are masterful, but attempts to apply this to aspects of the earlier story (outside of the opdated ‘Riddles in the Dark’ chapter) are, in my considered opinion, mistaken – here Beal tries to force something into the earlier book that simply isn’t there.
A minor weakness, which I suppose primarily concerns me qua my education in physics, is the references to optical theory that are just simply incorrect from a physical point of view, and which therefore, to my physicist’s mind, weaken the argument.
Overall, however, I do think it is very much worth your while to read this article, though it would have benefitted much from some additional editing, cutting away the weaker arguments (cutting it by, perhaps, a third) would leave the strengths so much clearer.

Hiding behind the door …
fortunately the door is usually kept
closed, so that I can enjoy these.
Photo: Troels Forchhammer

Simon J. Cook, Sunday, 7 February 2016, ‘War of the Ghosts
In this post, Cook makes an important point about the scholarly context in which Tolkien worked. Cook points out that,
“The context of intellectual debate was different back then. Disciplinary divisions counted for less, and the scholarly mind roamed over a much larger intellectual terrain. Scholars from a wide variety of specialized fields were engaged in the same or similar conversations.”
This is important in order to understand that Tolkien would, in his scholarly work, be interested in, and work with, questions that would, by modern standards, belong to other disciplines. The example Cook uses here is the relationship of memory (and hence forgetfulness) and story (including folk-lore, and probably also fairy story) in the creation (I nearly wrote sub-creation) and transmission of history.
All in all an excellent post!

Li Tang, University of Iceland and Medievalist.net, Wednesday, 17 February 2016, ‘Number Symbolism in Old Norse Literature
Presenting a Master’s Thesis from the University of Iceland, Number Symbolism in Old Norse Literature: A Brief Study. This 50-page thesis should go very well together with Christopher Kreuzer’s paper, ‘Numbers in Tolkien’, in The Ring Goes Ever On: Proceedings of the Tolkien 2005 Conference, which are still available from the Tolkien Society.

Karl E.H. Seigfried, Monday, 29 February 2016, ‘The Wanderer: An Old English Poem
Karl Seigfried here provides his own prose translation (following the example of e.g. Tolkien’s prose translation of Beowulf) of the Old English poem, The Wanderer. The poem is often cited as an important source for Tolkien, not least the Lament for the Rohirrim recited by Aragorn (“Where now the horse and the rider?   Where is the horn that was blowing? […]”), and Seigfried touches on this and a number of other parallels in his commentary / annotations. Instead of here trying to summarise all the Tolkien-relevant parts of Seigfried’s comments (risking to overlook something), I invite you to read through the whole article.

Commentary

John D. Rateliff, Wednesday, 3 February 2016, ‘Blurbs That Never Were (Richard Burton on Tolkien)
More from the 1966 Diplomat magazine with its Tolkien theme. Interesting, to say the least.

Henry Karlson, patheos, Tuesday, 9 February 2016, ‘Tolkien and Kullervo
In this excellent post, Karlson addresses comments, e.g. by Garth and Flieger, that Tolkien’s fascination with the story of Kullervo from Lönnrot’s Kalevala was strange in the context of his faith, suggesting that it was inconsistent with his Roman Catholic faith. Karlson disagrees with this assessment, and instead finds that Tolkien “shows us that what might seem impossible if we rely upon a fundamentalist mindset is possible, and not because of lack of faith, but in and with it.” Tolkien, according to Karlson, was a twentieth century representative of a Roman Catholic tradition of entering into dialogue with “the followers of other religions” (or in this case, their myths and beliefs) and find what is good and true and valueable therein.
Though I do not know if this is Karlson’s intention, this also, to me, offers a frame for understanding both why it is important to take Tolkien’s Roman Catholic faith into account when trying to understand him, but also why it is insufficient in itself. There is much more to Tolkien’s life and work that one needs to take into account, but his faith is a part of the metaphorical lens through which he saw and understood the world (as was his philological training, his war-time experiences, and much else).

Tom Hillman, Thursday, 11 February 2016, ‘“We will burn like heathen kings before ever a ship sailed hither from the West.” (RK 5.iv.825)
A very fine analysis of Tolkien’s use of heathen twice in The Lord of the Rings. Though I suspect that Hillman puts too much into the word ‘back’ in the statement from the ‘Akallabêth’ that Ar-Pharazôn “turned back to the worship of the Dark”, this is, overall, probably the finest analysis I have seen of Denethor and Gandalf’s use of ‘heathen’.

Alina H, SciFiFantasy Network, Sunday, 14 February 2016, ‘JRR Tolkien’s Writing Credibility: The One Trait that Makes It All Believable
Asserting that Tolkien’s writing style is more reminiscent of the myths and legends of ancient days, Greek histories, Norse sagas or the Middle-eastern Bible, is of course not new. Alina H here also claims that this is a essential ingredient in making the work believable – what I might have called establishing that inner consistency of reality that induces literary belief. I think this is, to some extend, correct, but I would also say that the validity of this argument goes along with the metafiction of ‘Tolkien the translator’. A more traditional work of fiction without this metafictional transmission would, by the logic of this argument, not benefit from Tolkien’s writing style – and that statement probably highlights what I think is the greatest weakness in Alina H’s analysis.

Simon J. Cook, Tuesday, 16 February 2016, ‘Faërie as Nature
Simon Cook is entirely right when claiming that Tolkien’s Faërie is not just some magical otherworld of make believe. Faërie is not just Valinor, reachable only on the mystical ships of the Elves, but it is far more present. He is also right in pointing out the connections between Faërie and the natural world, but identifying the two as the same thing is an error. Smith goes into the woods to reach Faërie, but he moves through the woods and at some point reaches Faërie. Faërie is more than just the natural world – even “as experienced by those who truly belong to it” – but it is connected to the natural world, and I suspect that Tolkien might say that Faërie can only be reached through the natural world (except by enchantment, as when reading a good story).

Tom Hillman, Wednesday, 17 February 2016, ‘Boromir, Fear, and the Pity of Frodo (FR 2.x.396-402)
Excellent post, well worth reading!
One minor point is that Christopher Tolkien does, in The War of the Ring p.97, state that the differences between the versions of Gandalf’s words in book I, ch. 2 and book IV, ch. 1 “remain different in detail of wording, perhaps not intentionally at all points.” I would say that the final words, which I have emphasised, are precisely an acknowledgement that the differences are intentional at some points, and Christopher Tolkien’s discussion of the words Hillman stresses, “fearing for your own safety”, strongly suggests that he thinks that this is indeed intentional.
A further discussion of these points, taking Tolkien’s discussions in various letters into account, would be very welcome, indeed!

Right behind the desk — the
largest free wall space in the room
Photo: Troels Forchhammer

Morangles, Medievalist.net, Wednesday, 17 February 2016, ‘Of Myths, Fairy Tales, and TV series
Not explicitly Tolkien, but combining myth, fairy stories and modern viking stories (in this case the History Channel TV-series, Vikings) can never be wholly disconnected from Tolkien.

Tom Hillman, Thursday, 18 February 2016, ‘An Observation on The Ring Verse (FR 1.ii.50)
An excellent point, really. It is, however, typical of the more anthropocentric view of The Lord of the Rings that the focus is on death rather than on the key part of the Gift (or Doom): freedom. Freedom to shape their lives beyond the Music, and thus to shape it beyond, or around, their Doom of death. I would argue that it is only Men who could do this, not because the other races cannot die, but because only Men have the power to, as Flieger suggest, actually reshape the Music (“the free choices of Men will have the power to alter the destinies of Elves.” Splintered Ligh, ch. 15).

Michael Martinez, Monday, 22 February 2016, ‘Did Ofermod Influence Frodo’s Decision to Claim the One Ring?
As Martinez says, “great question”! And a fine answer.
Adding to this, I think that Tolkien’s assertion than Frodo’s was not a moral failure, particularly in the context of Tolkien’s explications of this moment in this and other letters, suggests that Frodo was not acting with free will in this moment – that his choice to claim the Master Ring for his own was not made as a free choice.
At a minor point, I disagree with the implication that the Master Ring has a ‘will’ as such – the Master Ring is, in my considered opinion, not sapient in any way.

Reviews and Book News

Roz Kaveney, Thursday, 24 February 2016, ‘Tolkien’s English mythology
I strongly suspect that nobody will ever see me complain too much about a Tolkien piece where the main message appears to be that “it’s not quite that simple” …
Roz Kaveney opens with the question of whether “Can we accept, perhaps, that The Lord of the Rings is a good, intelligent, influential and popular boo but not a transcendent literary masterpiece or a work of supreme wisdom?” I see it as a rhetorical question – possibly a tongue-in-cheek warning that if you do believe that The Lord of the Rings is “a transcendent literary masterpiece or a work of supreme wisdom”, then you might not want to read the review.
Personally I hope that nobody, myself included, will ever trust me to identify supreme wisdom, and much less transcendent literary masterpieces. I can recognise what I, personally, like when I meet it, but I’ll keep it at that!
As for the rest of the review, I think that Kaveney exaggerates the reflexive fan-boyish defensiveness of some academic Tolkien scholarship (not that this doesn’t exist at the level she implies, and worse than that, but not really in academic scholarship, I would say), but the overall call is precisely to avoid the simplistic binary thinking inherent also in Tolkien’s own poetic comment that, “The Lord of the Rings / Is one of those things: / If you like you do: / If you don’t, then you boo!”
The human mind apparently likes to keep things simple, but reality rarely is, and I think Kaveney should be lauded for trying to point out that things are more complex, really.
See also LotR Plaza, ‘TLS Review,
and Mythsoc Yahoo group, , ‘“An English mythology”: Review in TLS of JRRT books

Johnathan Svendsen, Narnia Fans, Friday, 5 February 2016, ‘Tumnus’ Bookshelf: The NarniaFans Book Reviews: Bandersnatch: CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien, and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings
A review of Diana Pavlac Glyer’s 2015 book, Bandersnatch: CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien, and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings. Svendsen is clearly very enthusiastic, praising also the illustrations and the accessiblity of the book. One sentence probably highlights the differences in Svendsens and my approaches. He writes, “She admitted that the earlier book was more for scholars, but this was for general readers.” If I had written that, I would probably have said that Glyer had admitted that this was a reworking of her earlier book for the general public. Personally I much prefer the language and structure of scholarly works that require their readers to think and reflect, and this seems to be no exception.

Joe Gilronan, Tuesday, 16 February 2016, ‘From the Shire to the Sea: The Art of Joe Gilronan (PRE-ORDER).
The art book by Joe Gilronan from Oloris Publishing, From the Shire to the Sea is now available for pre-order!

Rizal Johan, Star2, Sunday, 21 February 2016, ‘Tolkien’s first prose work is full of magic and bruality
A review of Tolkien’s The Story of Kullervo edited by Verlyn Flieger that gives the book 8 out of 10.Most of the review is a summary of the story of Tolkien’s Kullervo retelling, and the reviewer does not really engage with Tolkien’s Kalevala essay.

Daniel Helen, Tolkien Society, Friday, 19 February 2016, ‘Extended version of Tolkien’s “A Secret Vice” to be published in April
About the upcoming release of this extended edition, A Secret Vice: Tolkien on Invented Languages edited by Dimitra Fimi and Andrew Higgins. I’m certainly looking forward to that one!

Tolkienian Artwork

Graeme Skinner, Monday, 1 February 2016, ‘Meanwhile in Moria ….
Gandalf lighting up a pipe in Moria.

Elena Kukanova, Deviant Art, Sunday, 7 February 2016, ‘Finrod Galadriel Orodreth- fragment
This is a fragment from the next picture, Lord of the Third House in Middle-Earth.

Elena Kukanova, Deviant Art, Sunday, 7 February 2016, ‘Lord of the Third House in Middle-Earth
Portraying “Finarfin’s farewell to his children”.

Elena Kukanova, Deviant Art, Monday, 15 February 2016, ‘Somewhere under the same sky
Presumably Andreth thinking of Aegnor …

Elena Kukanova, Deviant Art, Monday, 15 February 2016, ‘Finrod and Aegnor. The last conversation

Ebe Kastein, Deviant Art, Wednesday, 17 February 2016, ‘Young Nerdanel

Peter Xavier Price, Deviant Art, Sunday, 21 February 2016, ‘Turin Journeys to Dor-Lomin
I think this piece excellently captures some of the atmosphere of the Narn – the sense of dark doom and a single man against the world …
See also his Gloomy Woods II piece from 29 February. Though not made to illustrate Tolkien’s Middle-earth, this piece could also easily portray one of the gloomy forests of Tolkien’s world.

Ebe Kastein, Deviant Art, Thursday, 25 February 2016, ‘Young Nerdanel in colour

Ebe Kastein, Deviant Art, Saturday, 27 February 2016, ‘Haudh-en-Elleth
The ghost of Finduilas on her mound, the Haudh-en-Elleth.

Other Stuff

Chris Lough, TOR.com, Tuesday, 2 February 2016, ‘The Earth Isn’t Flat, But Middle-earth Is
This piece is not more wrong than most of what you see, and it’s more right than many. Still, I do wish that writers would do a bit of research before making such blanket statements – if the author would just have limited his piece to apply to the published Silmarillion, the more serious problems would have disappeared (there would still be some minor issues for readers to nitpick).

Ben, Aussierebel, Wednesday, 3 February 2016, ‘George R.R. Martin’s inane commentary on Tolkien
Addressing some relevant questions pertaining to Martin’s comments on the lack of information about Aragorn’s tax policies. Well said!

James Moffet, Friday, 5 February 2016, ‘My decade-old Tolkien book
It is always good to hear of someone who loves their old Tolkien books and keep them around. I haven’t thrown out any of my Tolkien books, though the Danish paper-back book club edition of The Lord of the Rings, Ringenes Herre from Gyldendals Bogklub, that I got for my 18th birthday (more than three decades ago) is in tatters.

Steve Hayes, Tuesday, 9 February 2016, ‘The One Ring
I know I am not the only one with an interest in how references to Tolkien is used in modern political argumentation, and clearly Hayes has given this some thought, here offering some reflections on a specific way of using Tolkien references (specifically to the Master Ring) to make a political point.
Incidentally, I think Hayes is spot on with his comment that “even attempting to answer [a question posted in a Tolkien newsgroup] would indicate that one had missed a central point of the story.” This could be extended to a great many of the questions I see asked in various Tolkien fora.

Francesca Barbini, SciFiFantasy Network, Saturday, 20 February 2016, ‘The Greek TS At The Greisinger Museum
On the visit of the Greek Tolkien Society, The Prancing Pony, to the Greisinger Tolkien Museum in Switzerland.

Michael Martinez, Tolkien Society, Thursday, 18 February 2016, ‘Mythmaking in the Golden Age of Tolkien
In this post, Martinez seems to me to discuss the relations of fan receptions, scholarly receptions, and scholarship on fan receptions (all of Tolkien’s work – both his own scholarship and his fiction). I am not entirely sure what Martinez is trying to say here. At one point he sets up two worlds, one of scholarship and one of fiction, that he appears to think of as entirely separate things (which I don’t think they are), and at another point, he seems to suggest that future scholarship will treat Tolkien’s own work and the fan receptions as one and the same (which I doubt). In both cases, I actually think that my reading is flawed, but I am not sure what Martinez’ intention is.

Rewarding Discussions

LotR Plaza: ‘One Ring to Rule Them All – Who?
About whom, or what, the Master Ring was intended to rule.

LotR Plaza:, , ‘Tolkien Trivia Time!
The Plaza has managed to get a nice thread of trivia game running …

Rec.arts.books.tolkien: ‘Orcs and Hobbits
A long thread with many side-tracks that takes its starting point in the simple question of how on Middle-earth Treebeard could have mistaken Merry and Pippin for small orcs?

In Print

Beyond Bree, February 2016
Dale Nelson is officially my favourite regular contributor to Beyond Bree! This month, he has contributed a new instalment of his ‘Days of the Craze’ series as well as notices on

Web Sites

The Last Alliance, The University of Alberta Tolkien Society
The web site features a podcast series by the society, which includes both lectures by scholars, both resident and visiting, and the society’s own discussions of Tolkien’s works. From February 2016 you can find e.g. The Cycle of Order and Chaos in the Lord of the Rings by Dr Natalie Van Deusen, and Dr. William Thompson’s lecture, Of Hobbits, Elves, and Talking Dragons: J.R.R. Tolkien and the Journey into Faerie.

Confirming J.R.R. Tolkien Quotations
A new public Facebook group aiming at confirming – or more likely disconfirming – quotation attributed to professor J.R.R. Tolkien, and if possible discover the true source, when this is not Tolkien.

A couple of old posts from the Oxford Dictionaries blog should have been included long ago, but will now have to be included here:
Peter Gilliver, Jeremy Marshall, and Edmund Weiner, 7 January 2013, ‘J.R.R. Tolkien and the definition of ‘hobbit’ – An excerpt from the book The Ring of Words: Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary
Jonathan Dent, 5 March 2013, ‘Whale-horses and morses: Tolkien and the walrus in the OED – About Tolkien’s work on the entry for ‘walrus’.
Tim William Machan, 13 November 2013, ‘Why did Tolkien use archaic language? – About Tolkien’s archaisms and why some people may see them as problematic, but unfortunately Machan doesn’t really attempt to answer his titular question.

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.

Dimitra Fimi, ‘Dr. Dimitra Fimi
Archive of posts from February 2016

Douglas A. Anderson, ‘Tolkien and Fantasy
Archive of posts from February 2016

John D. Rateliff — ‘Sacnoth’s Scriptorium
Archive of posts from February 2016

David Bratman, ‘Kalimac’s Journal
Archive of posts from February 2016

Laerminuial and Estel
a work in progress by Jenny Dolfen

Jenny Dolfen, ‘Jenny’s Sketchbook
Archive of posts from February 2016

Andrew Higgens, ‘Wotan’s Musings
Archive of posts from February 2016

Anna Smol, ‘A Single Leaf
Archive of posts from February 2016

Various (Bradford Eden, ed.)
Journal of Tolkien Research
(JTR)
Archive of contributions for the on-going volume 2, issue 1

Various, The Tolkien Society (TS)
Archive of posts from February 2016

Simon Cook, Ye Machine
Archive of posts from February 2016

Southfarthing Mathom
Archive of posts from February 2016 – the group’s discussions this month cover III,8 ‘The Road to Isengard’

Tom Hilman, ‘Alas, not me
Archive of posts from February 2016

Michael Martinez, ‘Middle-earth
Archive of posts from February 2016

Ben, ‘A clearer thinking oasis
Archive of posts from February 2016

Grey Havens Group, ‘The Grey Havens Group
Archive of posts from February 2016

Bruce Charlton, ‘Tolkien’s The Notion Club Papers
Archive of posts from February 2016

Various, ‘Middle-earth News
Archive of posts from February 2016

Sources

New sources in February 2016
Tom Hilman, ‘Alas, not me
description

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

Updated 2016-03-05 to correct errors. Thank you to Ian Collier for spotting a misspelled name 🙂

Mythmaking in the Golden Age of Tolkien

If Middle-earth were Troy we would have a thousand stories to tell.Some years ago I was presented with the opportunity to participate in a special project in which someone wanted me to translate a number of texts into Elvish, a task for which I am singularly unqualified.  Visions of con artists streamed through my head as I thought what it would take to do the work required.  I had known people in my youth whose philosophy was, “How much does it pay?”  These were the kinds of people who, if you asked them, “Does your software do [X]?” they would reply with, “It CAN.”

Instead I passed on the opportunity and submitted to my erstwhile benefactors and business partners a list of four names of people I felt were singularly qualified to do the deed.  I cautioned them I did not get on very well with candidate number four but he had the chops and belonged on the list more than I did. (more…)

So that’s where our copy was hiding!

You’ve all seen the articles like the one in the Guardian proclaiming “Unseen JRR Tolkien poems found in school magazine.”

As a news item, this story is a curious thing.

What’s just now been discovered is the school’s copy of the magazine with the poems in it. As the article makes clear, when Wayne G. Hammond inquired about the magazine, having found a reference elsewhere to Tolkien poetry being in it, the school could not find a copy of that issue and passed Wayne on to the archives of the Sisters of Mercy, the controlling order.

They had one, so that’s when the poems were found, some three years ago, and one of them has since been reprinted. But perhaps the school personnel did not know any of that, and now they’ve found it too. Good for them, but the only actual news here is, “So that’s where our copy was hiding!”

Daniel Helen has the whole story, with links to Wayne’s blog posts with more details.

Tolkien Transactions LXVI

January 2016

Another busy month …
I have said often enough that the two primary criteria for something to make it to these transactions is 1) that I actually see it, and 2) that I find it interesting or relevant or otherwise worthy enough to spend time on sharing it with you.
I am sure that many things that would meet the second criterion never makes the first, but the reverse is also true: I see a lot of stuff that fails to meet the second criterion – this month including, among other things, spurious and foolish claims about that chimney and folly in Birmingham, the possible auditioning of an acclaimed musician (however much I like his music) in connection with the Jackson films (the Beatles’ bid for a The Lord of the Rings film is more interesting in a Tolkienian context), and what appears to be violations of the copyrights of the Tolkien Estate. You will find no trace of any of these below.

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Tolkien Transactions LXV

December 2015

First of all:
Happy New Year!

Now, with that out of the way, it is appropriate to highlight the Tolkien Birthday Toast on the evening of January 3rd (21:00 – or 9 PM – local time). For more information on the Birthday Toast, please refer to the Tolkien Society web-site.

Christmas this year marked the end (hopefully) of a very busy period for me, but fortunately I seem to have been able to catch up at least with my transactions over the holiday period (and still have completed other tasks), making me once again on time with this post. No promises can or will, of course, be made as for next month 🙂

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Yes, Virginia, The Hobbit IS Long Enough for Three Movies

Is The Hobbit too long or short for three movies?I am still amazed at the ill logic people resort to when throwing down the gauntlet at Peter Jackson’s “Hobbit” trilogy.  I am on record as trashing the second movie and barely acknowledging the third, so I feel like I have earned my spurs in this charade of film criticism that has dominated many fannish and armchair critic discussions.  But I will summarize my feelings again just so we’re clear on where I stand: I LOVED the first movie, HATED the second one, and prefer the third to the second. (more…)