Well, I’m back …
After a hiatus of three months, I return with the Tolkien Transactions for the month of November 2014. This means that I have skipped the transactions for August through October, except for the few bits that I had prepared before I got too busy, and the few bits that are too good to miss out on
The publication of Scull and Hammond’s expanded edition of The Adventures of Tom Bombadil basically completes the set of publications of drafts and associated papers, and annotated editions, of all of Tolkien’s books published during his lifetime. (What’s come out posthumously is all “drafts” in a sense.) Omitting his purely technical publications, only “Leaf by Niggle” and a few miscellaneous poems remain unpublished in this format. I thought it might be useful to have a bibliography of these items, so here are all the ones published in book form, with The Silmarillion also treated in this format.
One of the most frequent requests I receive from fans of Tolkien and Middle-earth is to speculate on what The Silmarillion might have looked like, “had Tolkien finished it”. This is a really popular topic. I have stumbled across more than one attempt to produce a (pseudo)-canonical Silmarillion text through the years. Canonical contrivances always lead into the Valley of Canonical Collisions. There is no canon, and everyone has their own idea of what should be canon. The problem is of such universal proportions that the Vulcans have a saying: “Only J.R.R. Tolkien can write a canonical Silmarillion; everything else is fan fiction.”
Yesterday to mark Armistice Day the BBC Look North (East Yorkshire & North Lincolnshire) regional news programme included a short feature on J.R.R. Tolkien’s convalescence in East Yorkshire during World War One. I wrote a piece for this blog back on 11th of August, so this acts as a sort of sequel to the more detailed information on there. As the programme is only available on BBC iPlayer for 24 hours, and not available outside the UK at all, what follows is a transcript of that one-and-a-half minutes of TV time:
It’s been worth the wait. Although we’ve have had a teaser trailer for some months now, today Warner Bros. finally revealed to fans their vision of the Middle-earth duo-trilogy (hexalogy)? Their vision is one of epic proportions blasting through any cuteness and trivialities to present a grim, dangerous, emotionally-complex and eye-watering spectacular Middle-earth. (more…)
For several years I’ve been keeping a bibliography of appearances by or references to the Inklings as characters in fiction. I’ve tried to keep it complete, so it’s a surprise to find an old one that I’ve missed.
A review copy of Raymond Edwards’ new biography, Tolkien (Robert Hale, 2014), revealed one. It’s in Tomorrow’s Ghost, a 1979 novel by the thriller writer Anthony Price.
Amon Hen 249 contains my first compilation of recent articles and media references to Tolkien and his world. Apparently, some readers would like to be directed to the full online articles, so what follows are links to those mentioned in the current issue.
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John Garth’s revelation that “The Notion Club Papers” contains a secret message from J.R.R. Tolkien (so I see it) is an interesting find. I could not help but be a failed Thief of Baghdad by leaving the path to the True Treasure to turn aside and reach for glistening little gems. In other words, once I read the Tolkien Society article and John’s blog about the connections Tolkien drew to the “Earendel” poem I could not help myself. I had to start thinking about related and distracting things.
Somewhere in-between the fact that Tolkien mentions Gollum eating a baby Orc in one draft of The Hobbit and the fact that Arundel is a village name of debatable etymology (one fabulous story suggests its name may originate from that of a horse) I have managed to stumble toward an oft-cited quote from The Lord of the Rings: “He that breaks a thing to learn what it is has left the path of wisdom”.