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Featuring posts from Tolkien fans, artists, scholars and more

10 reasons why you should attend Oxonmoot

The Tolkien Society’s Oxonmoot is the world’s longest-running annual event dedicated to Tolkien. Taking place in an Oxford college over a long weekend close to Frodo and Bilbo’s birthday in September, it is rightly considered one of the most important events for lovers of Tolkien and his works.

Here are just 10 reasons why you should come to this year’s Oxonmoot, which takes place at St Antony’s College from 10th to 13th September 2015. And don’t forget to book your place right now! (more…)

The Curious Case of Cerin Amroth

LothlorienI have always been fascinated with Cerin Amroth, the tree-capped hill in Lothlorien where Haldir removed the blind-folds from the Fellowship.  He led Frodo up to the high flet that (presumably) marked where Amroth had once lived.  Tolkien’s description of the hill, topped with two circles of trees, always struck me as being modeled on a real place but I have never come across any attempts to identify such a place.

Maybe it is because there are (or were) several likely places in England that could have served as models for Cerin Amroth.  Just spending a little bit of time searching the Web for circles of trees in England I found several references, of which Chanctonbury Ring near Worthing and Brighton seems to me very similar to Cerin Amroth. (more…)

Tolkien Transactions LX

July 2015

Issue no. sixty …
This should, of course, have been the fifth anniversary issue, but due to my three-month hiatus last year, the fifth anniversary was actually well-past before I discovered it.
I have – well, more or less 😉 – taken this month off from Scouting, which can probably be seen in the timeliness of publishing this, and in the thoroughness of this issue. I am afraid you shouldn’t expect this state to last.
All the usual disclaimers apply about newness, completeness and relevance (or any other implication of responsibility) :-)

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The Story of Kullervo and the Brazilian contribution to its publication

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Professor Tolkien, until the end of the 20th century, was not recognized (or even known) as a great writer in Brazil. His works were generally read by people who had a good routine of reading and among youngsters who used to play RPG.

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1934 Sketch of Tolkien Discovered

JRRT

Professor J.R.R. Tolkien by Fred A. Farrell

In The Advocate of 9 August 1934 a head and shoulder portrait of an academic (right) was published with the accompanying text: “Professor John Tolkien has been Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon in Oxford University since 1925.  He served with the Lancashire Fusiliers from 1915-18.  Born of a South African family in 1892, he was educated at the King Edward VI. School, Birmingham, and Exeter College, Oxford.  He was Professor of English Language in Leeds University in 1924-5.”  This sketch does not appear to have been published for over seventy years until it resurfaced earlier this week.  The use of John rather than Ronald suggests that Tolkien was probably not actually consulted about the text.

‘New’ drawings of Tolkien are not unearthed every day, especially from the period before the publication of The Hobbit in 1937, so this image of the author dating from 1934 is particularly interesting.  What was Tolkien doing in 1934?  He had probably fairly recently completed the first version of The Hobbit.  He was a busy academic, lecturing and teaching on a daily basis, and was also working on several academic publishing projects.  The poems ‘The Adventures of Tom Bombadil’ and ‘Looney’ had also been published for the first time earlier that year.  It is interesting that although he had not published any fiction at this point, he was considered of sufficient international significance as a Catholic to be featured in an antipodean religious publication.

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The Battle for Middle-earth Will Not be Carved in Stone

A battle carved in stone, turned around and inverted.There are no hieroglyphs or bas-reliefs in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth.  That’s a curious omission from a pseudo-historical narrative of the ancient world, don’t you think?  And when it comes to statues the Elves do trees and the Gondorians do kings, but how many real examples of statues can you find in The Lord of the Rings?  Nonetheless, there is little to no evidence of actual writing carved in stone.  I can think of Balin’s tombstone, but everything else is just an ambiguously “carven pillar”. (more…)

Tolkien’s Dickensian Dreams

tolkien-dickens-goblins-headerDickens’ short story that inspired a Tolkien chapter

Introduction

In one of his many letters, J.R.R. Tolkien expressly wrote “I have never been able to enjoy Pickwick…” (Tolkien, 1990, p. 349). He was, of course, referring to the main character who gave his name to one of Charles Dickens’ most famous works: The Pickwick
Papers.
Uninteresting as it may have been to him, it is clear that particular aspects from the book have somehow found a way into Tolkien’s own method of writing: often incorporating similar dialogue styles and character qualities; not to mention particular moments that elicit the same emotional resonance within its readers. (more…)

A Dark and a White Tower at a Time of War

Map shwing the route (top left) from Thirtle Bridge to Edith's lodgings in Withernsea - to the right of the lighthouse

Map showing the route (top left) from Thirtle Bridge to Edith’s lodgings in Withernsea – to the bottom right of the lighthouse

I am aware that my latest blog post may be a little controversial, but before anyone rushes to condemn it out-of-hand, please either obtain an OS Explorer map of East Yorkshire (292), or use the StreetMap I’ve included on this blog.  From this you should be able to see that what is now the B1242 heads from Thirtle Bridge in the top left hand corner of the map south-east down towards Withernsea.  Edith’s lodgings are in the bottom right-hand corner of the map.  The proximity of the massive white structure of Withernsea Lighthouse to Edith’s lodgings is evident on the map.

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Tolkien Transactions LIX

June 2015

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

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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.

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