I begin to feel that I am copying Tolkien with my perpetual excuses about time – having too much to do and too little time to do it. But a lack of time (or, rather, an excess of things to do) is nonetheless a very real part of my life, so my usual disclaimers apply about newness, completeness and relevance (or any other implication of responsibility) are as pertinent as ever (all errors, omissions, inaccuracies etc. are of course my own). One way that I indent to deal with this is to leave more entries uncommented, and merely trust that you can judge the merits for yourselves 🙂
In September, I was off to Oxonmoot with my daughter, and we had a wonderful time! I do intend to write up some kind of report (I had hoped to have it done by now, but …) to appear at a later time. Though I am very fond of Frodo, Merry and Pippin, I am somewhat more restrained in my enthusiasm for Hobbits in general, and I the September celebration of hobbit characters is the one Tolkienian event that I don’t really care about, but it’s good and fine that many enjoy it. October is the month of my own birthday (towards the end of the month), and I am getting to the age of adventure (at least according to Tolkien), so if my blogging suddenly stops within the next year, don’t be too alarmed: I may just be off on an adventure and return after a year or two to settle down again.
This month it has suited my purposes to sort the contents under the following headlines:
3: Essays and Scholarship
5: Reviews and Book News
6: Tolkienian Artwork
7: Story Internal (Ardalogy)
8: Other Stuff
9: Rewarding Discussions
10: In Print
11: Web Sites
12: The Blog Roll
by Joe Gilronan
Swissinfo, Monday, 5 September 2016, ‘Cashing in on Tolkien’s Switzerland’
Elena Koshy, New Straits Times, Saturday, 17 September 2016, ‘World commemorates death anniversary of Lord of the Writers, JRR Tolkien’
Clayton Utz, Lexology, Monday, 19 September 2016, ‘One infringement to rule them all: Federal Court finds jewellery infringes copyright in Lord of the Rings’
All thoughts of law and justice aside, I cannot help but find it oddly appropriate to rid this world of a few more copies of a symbol of the uttermost evil – symbolic of the desire for power over others, for power to make others into will-less slaves …
Arwen Kester, Wednesday, 21 September 2016, ‘Happy Hobbit Day!’
Amy Sturgis, Thursday, 22 September 2016, ‘Long live the Halflings!’
Marcel Aubron-Bülles, Thursday, 22 September 2016, ‘Happy Birthday, Bilbo and Frodo Baggins’
Well, yeah, happy birthday, Bagginses!
Alya Rehman, USC News, Thursday, 22 September 2016, ‘Happy birthday to J. R. R. Tolkien’s Bilbo and Frodo’
Jeffrey R. Hawboldt, Thursday, 22 September 2016, ‘Happy Hobbit Day!’
Bonnie North, WUWM, Monday, 26 September 2016, ‘Milwaukee Documentarian Explores True ‘Myth’ in ‘Tolkien & Lewis’’
Reports & comments on past events
5–8 August 2016, San Antonio, Texas, US, ‘Mythcon 47’, The Mythopoeic Society. The 2016 theme is ‘Faces of Mythology: Ancient, Medieval, and Modern’
3–4 September 2016, Sarehole Mill, UK, ‘Middle-earth Festival’
Daniel Helen, The Tolkien Society, Friday, 2 September 2016, ‘Middle-earth Festival returns to Sarehole Mill this weekend’
Graham Young, Birmingham Mail, Sunday, 4 September 2016, ‘Watch how Tolkien inspired Middle Earth Festival is fun for all the family – whatever the weather’
24–25 September 2016, Newcastle Castle, ‘Tolkien Weekend 2016’, Time and Tide Events
Francesca Barbini, SciFiFantasy Network, Tuesday, 20 September 2016, ‘Tolkien Weekend 2016’
Francesca T. Barbini, SciFiFantasy Network, Saturday, 24 September 2016, ‘“Illuminating Tolkien” Exhibition’ – I think it was a good thing for our savings-account that I was unable to go to Newcastle …
Info on upcoming & on-going events (as of 1 September)
26 April 2016 – 27 February 2017, Various, Staffordshire, ‘Exhibition: J.R.R. Tolkien in Staffordshire 1915 – 1918’, The Haywood Society
Express and Star, Thursday, 29 September 2016, ‘JRR Tolkien display on show’
5 November 2016, Oxford, ‘Not Oxonmoot-moot’, The Tolkien Society
11 November 2016, Liverpool Hope University, ‘Tolkien Day 2016’, Liverpool Hope University
3 January 2017, World-wide, ‘Tolkien Birthday Toast 2017’, The Tolkien Society
16–18 June 2017, Waddow Hall, Clitheroe, Lancashire, ‘The Middle-earth Beer & Music Festival’, The Ale House Clitheroe
by Jenny Dolfen
Yes, I discovered that I had forgotten the papers uploaded to Acedemia.edu in August. Please note that one does need to have an account and to sign in for downloading the papers at this site. The papers listed below are only a subset of the papers reported to the “J.R.R. Tolkien” research interest, others being excluded e.g. for being in languages I don’t speak, or for just making an abstract available.
Rolf Bremmer, Academia.edu, Upload date unknown, ‘Across Borders: Anglo-Saxon England and the Germanic World’
Bremmer, Rolf Jr. ‘Across Borders: Anglo-Saxon England and the Germanic World’ in The Cambridge History of Early Medieval English Literature, ed. Clare A. Lees (Cambridge: CUP, 2012), pp. 185-208
Nataša Tučev, Academia.edu, Upload date unknown, ‘The Knife, the Sting and the Tooth: Manifestations of Shadow in The Lord of the Rings’
Tučev, Nataša. ‘The Knife, the Sting and the Tooth: Manifestations of Shadow in The Lord of the Rings’ in Linguistics and Literature Vol. 3, No 1, 2004, pp. 111 – 121
Janet Brennan Croft, Academia.edu, Sunday, 7 August 2016, ‘Doors Into Elf Mounds’
Slide show on “J.R.R. Tolkien’s Introductions, Prefaces, and Forewords”
Janet Brennan Croft, Academia.edu, Friday, 12 August 2016, ‘“Perilous and Fair, Ancient and Modern, Luminous and Powerful” : Critical Directions for the Study of Tolkien’s Women in the 21st Century’
An author talk given at Rutgers University on 27 July, based on the introduction (co-written with Leslie Donovan) to the book Perilous and Fair: Women in the Life and Works of JRR Tolkien.
Journal of Tolkien Research, vol. 3, issue 3, Thursday, 1 September 2016, ‘Authorizing Tolkien: Control, Adaptation, and Dissemination of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Works’
The peer-reviewed articles of issue 3 (vol. 3) of the Journal of Tolkien Research have a theme introduced by Robin A. Reid and Michael D. Elam. I have to admit that though I do consider the study of ‘fan’ activities a relevant area of academic research, I have never found that it relates very well to the research on the specific franchise. In other words, I have skipped these articles as not telling us anything worth-while about Tolkien or his works. Others will certainly disagree, and I’ll welcome comments about what this may tell us about Tolkien and / or his works, but given my lack of interest, I don’t have the time to engage with these articles myself.
Annalisa Palmer, Friday, 9 September 2016, ‘Tolkien and Fairy-Story’
An interesting commentary on Faërie in The Lord of the Rings. Though I do not agree with everything, and have found a couple of mistakes, I found it a good and interesting post.
Donald E. Warden, Medievalist.net, Friday, 9 September 2016, ‘The Extent of Indigenous-Norse Contact and Trade Prior to Columbus’
Merely because I think the topic and the developments in recent years would have interested Tolkien.
Annalisa Palmer, Sunday, 18 September 2016, ‘Hobbits and Heroes’
An excellent look at the Four Travellers as modern heroes (many will probably have realised that I do not much admire Samwise ‘Halfwit’ Gamgee, but perhaps especially therefore it is good to read analyses that value him more than I do myself).
Nelson Goering, Journal of Tolkien Research, Friday, 23 September 2016, ‘Tolkien and Sanskrit (2016) by Mark T. Hooker’
A very excellent review (and discussion) by Nelson Goering of Mark Hooker’s book, Tolkien and Sanskrit.
Tom Hillman, Monday, 26 September 2016, ‘These Are Not The Elves You’re Looking For. (I)’
Fascinating! I certainly look forward to seeing the next steps.
Edmund Weiner, Tuesday, 27 September 2016, ‘Devilry in the Lord of the Rings’
On Tolkien’s use of the word devilry in The Lord of the Rings.
|The King of the Golden Hall
by Peter Xavier Price
Matthew Walter, The Federalist, Friday, 26 August 2016, ‘Tolkien Influenced Rock More Than The Velvet Underground Did’
Though I do, of course, sympathise with the idea that Tolkien’s influence is staggering and reaches unexpected areas, this article, however, leaves me unconvinced. While it is true that Tolkien did become an exponent for, and to some extent shaped, the rise of fantasy and medievalism, these themes would, in my considered opinion, have emerged also without Tolkien, and in forms only slightly different from what we saw. The world was ready for these (as it is still), and if not Tolkien, then some other authors would have been its exponents (there were precursors to Tolkien, just as there were both contemporary and later authors who were uninfluenced by him). However, while I think the article exaggerates Tolkien’s thematic influence, the listing of his more direct influence is still impressive.
James, Friday, 16 September 2016, ‘Northern Courage, Ofermōde and Thorin Oakenshield’s last stand’
While I can see the temptation, I think it is a misunderstanding to see Thorin’s attack in the Battle of Five Armies as an example of ofermod (modern Danish, overmod) – certainly in Tolkien’s interpretation of the word.
Tom Hilmann, Thursday, 22 September 2016, ‘In Dwimordene, In Lórien (TT 3.vi.514)’
On the word Dwimordene.
Brandon TheGrey, Friday, 23 September 2016, ‘A Hobbit on the Western Front: JRR Tolkien’s First World War’
A rather short (as it must be for a blog post), but seemingly reasonably accurate (I haven’t had time to read it in detail) summary based, of course, on John Garth’s brilliant Tolkien and the Great War. Perhaps a post for those who haven’t read Garth’s book and wish a taste of what it may reveal.
Rostislav Kurka, SciFiFantasy Network, Friday, 23 September 2016, ‘The Temptation of Power, Bombadil, and the Bendu’
Curious – in many ways it is more about Star Wars than about Tolkien, but the parallels are striking and well-made.
Dennis Wise, Saturday, 24 September 2016, ‘Tolkien and Sidney on Rhetoric?’
A reference to and a very short discussion of an article by Tanya Caroline Wood in Tolkien and His Literary Resonances.
Lynn Forest-Hill, Southfarthing Mathom, Tuesday, 27 September 2016, ‘September’
Now on book V, discussing ‘The Muster of Rohan’ and ‘The Siege of Gondor’.
Lee WL, Tuesday, 6 September 2016, ‘Roverandom’
Jeffrey R. Hawboldt, Wednesday, 7 September 2016, ‘“The Lay of Aortrou and Itroun” Full Details’ [Sic]
Some details on the forthcoming edition of The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun (edited by Verlyn Flieger), including the publisher’s blurp. The blurpish insistence on creating specific links to Tolkien’s Middle-earth legendarium is perhaps regrettable as the book will surely sell well enough without such claims (I will, in any case, be sure to get one).
Lee WL, Sunday, 18 September 2016, ‘Smith of Wootton Major’
Kitty, SciFiFantasy Network, Monday, 19 September 2016, ‘On Eagles’ Wings – Thayer on Tolkien’
An interview with Anna Thayer, in particular about her book On Eagles’ Wings: An exploration of Eucatastrophe in Tolkien.
Brenton Dickieson, Wednesday, 28 August 2016, ‘Bandersnatch and Creative Collaboration by Diana Pavlac Glyer’
A self-proclaimed “glowing review” of Diana Pavlac Glyer’s Bandersnatch by a “fan of Glyer’s work”
Maria Tsianti, DeviantArt, Monday, 5 September 2016, ‘Smaug the Stupendous’
|The Great Goblin
by Tomás Hijo
Elena Kukanova, DeviantArt, Thursday, 8 September 2016, ‘Haleth – sketch’
I like this 🙂
Elena Kukanova, DeviantArt, Thursday, 8 September 2016, ‘Maglor’
I think this must be a portrait of Maglor after he and Maedhros had realised that they had forfeited all claim to the Silmarils … singing in pain and regret.
Tomás Hijo, Friday, 16 September 2016, ‘The Great Goblin’
Peter Xavier Price, DeviantArt, Sunday, 18 September 2016, ‘The King of the Golden Hall’
James Turner Mohan, Sunday, 18 September 2016, ‘The First Men’
In the style of concept sketches for the three tribes and some of their artifacts …
Elena Kukanova, DeviantArt, Friday, 23 September 2016, ‘Caranthir – sketch’
Joe Gilronan, Monday, 26 September 2016, ‘Starlight Shire’
Miruna Lavinia, DeviantArt, Monday, 26 September 2016, ‘Emyn Muil’
An unusual topic, but quite nicely done!
Tom Hillman, Thursday, 25 August 2016, ‘The Last Temptation of Galadriel — Catechism, Gospel, and Fairy-story in ‘The Mirror of Galadriel’’
A discussion placed in that intersection of story-internal and story-external concerns; where you need to draw on story-external knowledge in order to understand and contextualise what his going on within the story. I do tend to like these discussions on the marches of Faërie …
Jeff LaSala, TOR.com, Wednesday, 14 September 2016, ‘Lúthien: Tolkien’s Badass Elf Princess’
A retelling of the story of Lúthien and Beren in a modern (and, I would say, simpler) vernacular and with comments by the reteller.
Séamas Ó Sionnaigh, Monday, 5 September 2016, ‘Imaginary Maps in Fantasy Fiction’
A summary of a series of articles by the Library of Congress titled Imaginary Maps in Literature and Beyond. It should be fairly easy to find the specific article dealing primarily with Tolkien, but the whole topic is of course relevant, and later authors in the fantasy genre have had to at least consider his statement that “I wisely started with a map, and made the story fit (generally with meticulous care for distances).” (Letter to Naomi Mitchison).
Marcel Aubron-Bülles, Saturday, 10 September 2016, ‘Why J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis would never have been friends in the age of Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp’
There’s a Danish expression that applies in situations such as this, and which translates to ‘Well roared, lion!’ It needed to be said, it is well said and to the point – thank you, Marcel!
Myla Malinalda, Middle-earth News, Friday, 16 September 2016, ‘TOLKIEN: The Musical’
LotR Plaza, ‘A Secret Vice’
I which I managed go get myself entangled in a discussion with a philologist on the likelihood of Tolkien having invented Fonwegian (one would think I had somewhere managed to get to know better, but alas …)
LotR Plaza, ‘Goldberry and the water lillies’
Worth browsing even if only to go watch the video that user ‘Dorwiniondil’ links to on 29 September …
Once more I have not had time yet to read what I have received (the latest issue of Beyond Bree). In my (upcoming) Oxonmoot report, I will write about the treasures that my daughter and I brought back from Oxford.
‘Stephen Walsh – Fantasy Artist’
I saw his pencil Éowyn at Oxonmoot and was impressed, and many of his other Tolkienian works are also excellent.
A relatively new (August 2016) blog with Tolkienian contents.
Lee LW, ‘Tolkien Read Through’
Lee LW blogs as he works his way through the Tolkien’s works.
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.
|More of Me
by Jenny Dolfen
Various (Bradford Eden, ed.)Journal of Tolkien Research (JTR)
Archive of contributions for the on-going volume 2, issue 1
See section “Websistes” for new sources in September 2016
For older sources, see http://parmarkenta.blogspot.com/p/sources.html
Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary by J.R.R. Tolkien edited by Christopher J.R. Tolkien.
Læringsteorier: Seks Aktuelle Forståelser edited by Knud Illeris
I had these transactions something like 80% done before going to Oxonmoot, but couldn’t get the last bit finished due to my other preparations. Now, however, I wish to get it out – to get it off my mind, so that I can work on other things (such as e.g. a report from my first Oxonmoot). This means that most entries will appear without commentary, and that there will be things I ignore simply because I haven’t the time to dig out all my notes (if anything important turns up later, I will of course include it in a later issue).
We use trivia to prove our depth of knowledge in a given topic but also to introduce people to new ideas or to revive interest in old things. How many people do trivia contests motivate to read books or perform Internet searches? But what we choose to include in our trivia lists suggests our priorities or interests are biased, either toward the simplistic or the popular. “Hard trivia” is almost a non sequitur. Why is it “hard trivia”? Is not all trivia hard for the untutored audience?
Why do people focus on the more well-known details of Tolkien’s stories rather than dredge up the hard-to-find facts? Perhaps it is simply because we don’t want to humiliate ourselves, but maybe it’s a reflection of where reader interests lie. The people who make up trivia contests are no different from the people who participate in them. We all love the story and immerse ourselves in the details. And yet we paint those details with expectations and assumptions. (more…)
As you will see below, July has been a deliciously busy month with conferences and interesting papers coming up. And due to the summer holiday season in Denmark, I’ve been able to keep up better than usual.
As I can see that the end of August and start of September is going to be quite busy for me, I had better warn that the next transactions may end up being somewhat delayed. If I haven’t posted when I take off for Oxonmoot on the 8th, there is a good chance that I’ll merge the August and September issues …
I don’t remember where or when I first heard that I was banned from participating in Tolkien trivia contests at conventions. This has been a running joke for decades, now, but it was going strong when I handed the Tolkien fan programming track at Dragon*Con over to Jincey from TheOneRing.net. She sent me an email one evening with an odd request. “I need expert-level trivia questions that even you cannot answer,” she pleaded.
For my part I have always felt there were questions I cannot answer. I just cannot think of them when people ask me for examples, but it’s hard to perform under pressure when you’re supposed to sift through millions (thousands?) of questions. (more…)
In regard to my critique of an article on Tolkien, various posters in the comments section are trying to convince me that “fight” is a perfectly reasonable term to describe the ornate and scholarly word contest that Gandalf and Saruman have in Tolkien’s book.
Among them is the author of the article, who points out that “argument” is used to define “fight” in his dictionary. Leaving aside the fact that even “argument” is not really the best choice of word to describe the scene, it’s a fallacy to say that a word used to define another word in the dictionary must have exactly the same meaning. More likely, they overlap over parts of their meanings. It’s true that I can find “argument” used to define “fight” in a dictionary, but in the same dictionary I find “debate” used to define “argument” and “discussion” used to define “debate,” and by that point, I think, we’ve left “fight” far behind, so I don’t think much of the dictionary-definition shuffle as a method of shifting your word’s meaning.
“Fight” is especially ill-chosen to describe the scene in the book when it’s a perfect term to describe the absurd wizard-fu battle in the movie. It makes it look as if you’re remembering the movie instead of the book. And when, of all the possible words to describe that scene in the book, you choose this one, is leads inevitably to the conclusion that the movie has affected your memory of the book.
What do you think?
Usually when I come across a mainstream journalistic critical article about Tolkien, it’s time to sigh deeply and sort through everything they got wrong. So I was pleased to see Konstantin Kakaes on The Lord of the Rings in Slate yesterday, because Kakaes gets it.
I seem to spend a lot of space here apologising for, or complaining about, my lack of time, though the first half of this year seems to have been worse than usual (hopefully culminating in June). My available time seems unlikely to change much, so the reduced commentary this month is likely to stay the norm, at least for a while.