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Tolkien Transactions LXII

September 2015

The Tolkienian month of September starts with the anniversary of Tolkien’s 1973 death on September 2nd. It’s a moment for reflection, but it also quickly gives way to the anticipation for the Tolkien Society Oxonmoot and the joint birthday of Bilbo and Frodo (not going into the discussion of proper calendric translation here) on what is becoming known as ‘Hobbit Day’. The celebration in Bri, the Copenhagen Tolkien Society, was already on the 13th, and together with my daughter I partook in a very fine seven-course medieval / renaissance dinner on that day.
On Hobbit Day, the chairman of the Tolkien Society posted to list some of the good reasons for joining the society. There are more, of course, but you can’t list everything …
Shaun Gunner, Tuesday, 22 September 2015, ‘Why you should join the Tolkien Society
Needless to say, the Mythopoeic Society in the US has many of the same kinds of offers, though the names differ.

An Elf in the Fields
by Jenny Dolfen
Available as a wallpaper to Jenny’s patrons at

Of course, as usual, all the standard disclaimers apply about newness, completeness and relevance (or any other implication of responsibility) :-)   Given that I have been quite busy with Scouting in September, the disclaimer about completeness is probably even more relevant than usual as much has been sorted out.

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
7: Tolkienian Artwork
8: Other Stuff
9: Web Sites
10: The Blog Roll
11: Sources


Richard Kreitner, Wednesday, 2 September 2015, ‘September 2, 1973: J.R.R. Tolkien Dies
A reprinting from, and of, Edmund Wilson’s scathing 1956 review of The Lord of the Rings. Using the anniversary of Tolkien’s death for this may seem slightly inappropriate, but sometimes it is good to remind ourselves that there are others, who do not like what we like (even if most of the specific complaints can be rejected, there remains a matter of taste, though at times Wilson reads almost as if wishing to purge himself of an unwelcome attraction to the work).

Nicole Levy, DNAinfo, Thursday, 10 September 2015, ‘‘Orcs of New York’ Parodies ‘Humans of NY’ With Tolkien Creatures
One among many stories about this new Facebook page, Orcs of New York that has sprung up in August. See also the treatment under ‘web sites, and the articles below.
Kimberley Yam, Huffington Post, Friday, 11 September 2015, ‘‘Orcs Of New York’ Is The ‘HONY’ Parody Even Sauron Would Adore
‘Stubby the Rocket’, Friday, 11 September 2015, ‘Orcs of New York Will Restore Your Faith in Orc-Kind
Myla Malinalda, Middle-earth News, Wednesday, 16 September 2015, ‘Get to Know the Orcs of New York
J.e. Reich, Tech Times, Thursday, 17 September 2015, ‘Humans Of New York Parody ‘Orcs Of New York’ Puts Mordor In The Big Apple
Shaun Gunner, The Tolkien Society, Monday, 21 September 2015, ‘“Orcs of New York” Parody Facebook page

Daniel Helen, The Tolkien Society, Monday, 28 September 2015, ‘Letter explaining creation of Estella Brandybuck up for auction
On a typed letter by his secretary, Baillie Knapheis, Tolkien added a handwritten note about Merry’s wife which later would lead him to add Estella Bolger (a sister of Fredagar Bolger) to the Hobbit family trees in The Lord of the Rings along with her marriage to Merry. This letter is now up for auction and estimated to collect at least £1,500.


Reports from past events
2 – 26 September 2015, Sheffield, UK, ‘Artshow: Evil in the Shining Light
Francesca Barbini, 26 September 2015, ‘Evil In The Shining Light Exhibition
John Cockshaw (curator of the exhibition), 29 September 2015, ‘Evil in the Shining Light art exhibition

5 – 6 September 2015, Sarehole, Birmingham, ‘Middle Earth Festival 2015
Formerly known as ‘Middle-earth Weekend’
Francesca Barbini, 2 September 2015, ‘Middle Earth Festival 2015
Shaun Gunner, Friday, 4 September 2015, ‘Middle-earth Festival Returns to Sarehole Mill this Weekend

5 – 6 September 2015, Barletta, Italy, ‘Hobbit Village 2015
Aubron-Bülles, Sunday 6 September, ‘Impressions from Hobbit Village 2015 in Barletta, Italy

10 – 13 September 2015, St Antony’s College, Oxford, ‘ Oxonmoot 2015’, The Tolkien Society
Andrew Wells, 12 September 2015, ‘Oxonmoot
Dimitra Fimi, The Tolkien Society, 20 September 2015, ‘Dimitra Fimi – Constructions of Childhood in Tolkien’s Legendarium’ — video (1h 4m) of Dimitra Fimi’s lecture at OxonMoot 2015.
Michael Flowers, 20 September 2015, ‘Oxford Weekend’ — with beautiful photos from the tour of Oxford.
Francesca Barbini, 21 September 2015, ‘Oxonmoot 2015 – What You Have Missed!’ — Oh, great, Francesca … just rub it in, will you 😉
Dimitra Fimi, 27 September 2015, ‘Oxonmoot 2015 and forthcoming Oxford event

22 September 2015, worldwide & on-line, ‘Hobbit Day’
Shaun Gunner, The Tolkien Society, 22 September 2015, ‘Events to celebrate Hobbit Day
Anna Smol, 22 September 2015, ‘Happy Birthday, Bilbo and Frodo! #HobbitDay

26 – 27 Septeber 2015, Castle Keep and Black Gate, Newcastle, UK, ‘Tolkien Weekend at Newcastle Castle

Info on upcoming events (as of 1 October)
9 – 12 October 2015, Hotel Maya, Alicanta, Spain, ‘Mereth Aderthad

14 October 2015, Brisbane, Australia, ‘An Evening in Middle-earth
29 October 2015, Weston Library, Oxford, ‘Tolkien’s Legacy
See also the description of the event on the Tolkien Society web-site, ‘The Lord of the Rings: Tolkien’s Legacy’.
Dimitra Fimi, 27 September 2015, ‘Oxonmoot 2015 and forthcoming Oxford event’ —

5 – 7 December 2015, ‘Italian Ringers Con 2015

2016 Events
21 – 25 March 2016, Seattle, WA, USA, ‘PCA/ACA National Conference, PCA/ACA
Anna Smol, Tuesday, 30 June 2015, ‘Call for papers: Tolkien Studies at PCA/ACA, March 2016

25 March 2016, Worldwide, ‘Tolkien Reading Day, The Tolkien Society

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

September? 2016, Oxford, ‘Oxonmoot 2016’, The Tolkien Society — an Oxonmoot will be held …

Essays and Scholarship

Jane Beal,, Saturday, 12 September 2015, ‘Teaching Tolkien’s Translations of Medieval Literature: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Sir Orfeo and Pearl

by Jenny Dolfen

A description of a course that Beal teaches on Tolkien. The description is quite detailed, including thoughts on the metacognitive processes that Beal attempts to stimulate. Quite interesting to see how the teaching of Tolkien can be approached.

John Garth, Friday, 25 September 2015, ‘Tolkien’s ‘immortal four’ meet for the last time
Another piece of the story of the TCBS and the last meeting of ‘the immortal four’ on 25–26 September 1915 … a hundred years ago. Read Garth’s excellent piece to learn why the discovery of the signatures of R.Q. Gilson and G.B. Smith in the guestbook at Samuel Johnson’s birthplace in Lichfield is a testimony to the strength of the friendship in the core group of the TCBS.

Roy M. Liuzza, Saturday, 26 September 2015, ‘The Sense of Time in Anglo-Saxon England
Many have commented on how Tolkien manages to create a sense of pre-history, perhaps especially in his Lord of the Rings, and here we have a scholar starting an article by stating that “One of the more impressive aspects of Beowulf is its rich sense of time.” and going on to assert that “Characters in the poem are constantly aware of past generations of ancestors and heroes.” This opens up to a new statement, saying that ”There is a kind of prehistory in the poem”. All of these statements might as well have been said of Tolkien’s work as of the Beowulf poem.
Though at times rather technical, this article is quite interesting, and at the conclusion I was again reminded strongly of Tolkien’s work when Liuzza explains what might be “the most profound difference between Anglo- Saxon time and our own: the sense that time is finite, and that it devolves as it approaches its destination.”


Daniel E. Flores, The Valley Star, Friday, 11 September 2015, ‘Tolkien and the gold that does not glitter
On the importance of the difference between Tolkien’s (in the story actually written by Bilbo) version, “All that is gold does not glitter” and the normal proverbial version, “All that glitters is not gold”.

Lynn Forest-Hill, Wednesday, 30 September 2015, ‘Last meeting in September
Discussing chapter 3 of book 3 of The Lord of the Rings, ‘The Uruk-hai’, and as always the discussions are well worth going over.

Reviews and Book News

Stuart Lee, Wednesday, 2 September 2015, ‘Is HarperCollins flogging a dead horse with latest Tolkien publication?
Stuart Lee comes to a mixed conclusion with respect to the titular question, but overall finds that Tolkien readers now having access to the Kullervo and Kalevala texts, on balance, must be a good thing.

Douglas A. Anderson, Tuesday, 8 September 2015, ‘Smith of Wootton Major: Extended Edition (2015) by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Verlyn Flieger
This first article of volume 2 of the Journal of Tolkien Research offers Douglas A. Anderson’s review of Verlyn Flieger’s 2015 edition of Smith of Wootton Major.
In this review, Douglas A. Anderson addresses various infelicitous errors and omissions in Verlyn Flieger’s ordering and selection of the materials for this edition (and for the 2005 edition). Based on Anderson’s explanations here, I join him in hoping “for a corrected and revamped edition in the future, one which better and more fully presents the archival materials.”

Lydia Willgress, Mail Online, Saturday, 12 September 2015, ‘Unfinished J.R.R. Tolkien work The Story of Kullervo ‘to be published later this month’
Reporting, on 12 September, that The Story of Kullervo will be (future tense) published by HarperCollins on 27 August, this article doesn’t add anything, but I include it more to show how broad the interest in a new Tolkien title is.

Steve Hayes, Wednesday, 23 September 2015, ‘Inklings (book review)
A review of the book Inklings by Melanie M. Jeschke. Not a biographical or otherwise critical work, but a work of, according to Hayes, rather poor fiction.

John D. Rateliff, Wednesday, 23 September 2015, ‘The New Calendar
A look at the 2016 Tolkien calendar with illustrations by Tove Jansson.

Tolkienian Artwork

Tomás Hijo, Tuesday, 8 September 2015, ‘Smaug, hijo mío, lo tuyo es un no parar. Smaug prints
Prints of Tomás Hijo’s Smaug.

Jenny Dolfen, Friday, 11 September 2015, ‘Thranduil in Spring
This third seasonal Thranduil follows the autumn and winter pictures of the Elvenking. Now we can just wait for the summer image …

Jenny Dolfen, Thursday, 17 September 2015, ‘Avari
Avari wandering the forests of Middle-earth …

Shaun Gunner, The Tolkien Society, Friday, 18 September 2015, ‘Beyond Bree Calendar 2016
Announcing the release of the 2016 Beyond Bree calendar.

Graeme Skinner, Wednesday, 23 September 2015, ‘Sir Gandalf of Valinor
Having fun.

‘CG-Warrior’, Friday, 25 September 2015, ‘Gendalf [sic]
A portrait of Gandalf with his pipe

Other Stuff

Thranduil in Spring
by Jenny Dolfen

John D. Rateliff, Wednesday, 16 September 2015, ‘The Pope Likes Tolkien
I agree with Rateliff that there is little evidence that Francis can be called ‘a Tolkien fan’, but that the evidence suggests a familiarity with at least The Lord of the Rings and a fondness of the book. And yes, the translation I provided at The Tolkienist is indeed very rough (having studied my Spanish in my teens and only used it very sporadically since).

Marc Vander Maas, Wednesday, 16 September 2015, ‘Video: Jonathan Witt On Tolkien’s Vision Of Freedom
As I have said before, I am deeply sceptical of the work by Witt and Richards in their Hobbit Party book. From what I have so far read and seen by the two authors, their work seems very strongly affected by confirmation bias – or, to put it more bluntly, they seem more concerned about analysing how Tolkien can be made to confirm their own views rather than providing an unbiased analysis of what Tolkien’s views actually were. Although this video only confirms me in that assessment, I should probably also add that this does not mean that there is nothing worthwhile to find in their treatment, but one needs to approach it with caution.

Kelly cowling, Friday, 25 September 2015, ‘Building a Home for Fairies: A Changing Grey Havens Group
About the Grey Havens Group, about making room and home for (as Tolkien would have put it) Faërie, and about the changing structuring of the community.

Myla Malinalda, Middle-earth News, Saturday, 26 September 2015, ‘The Lord of the Rings Dioramas
About a group of German diorama-builders, who have been working on dioramas inspired by Jackson’s films.

Bishop Robert Barron, Catholic Sentinel, Wednesday, 30 September 2015, ‘Colbert, Tolkien and gifts
Taking his outset in the interview with Stephen Colbert (see last month’s transactions for the quotations and a discussion of which letters Colbert was thinking of), Barron moves on to discuss where Tolkien might himself have learned this lesson, and how it might have been central at the Birmingham Oratory.

Anna Smol, Wednesday, 30 September 2015, ‘Eala! Unlock your word hoards!
About a new journal, Eala, which intends to publish poetry in medieval Germanic languages such as Old English. Now to start composing (and remember to use the alliterative meter – end-rhymes has no place in such poetry!)

Web Sites

Harry Aspinwall, August 2015, ‘Orcs of New York
The page parodies the blog ‘Humans of New York’ using Orcs instead of humans, and includes many references to The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion.

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.

John D. Rateliff — ‘Sacnoth’s Scriptorium
Archive of posts from September 2015

John Garth, ‘John Garth
Archive of posts from September 2015

Marcel Aubron-Bülles, ‘The Tolkienist
Archive of posts from September 2015

David Bratman, ‘Kalimac’s Journal
Archive of posts from September 2015

Jenny Dolfen, ‘Jenny’s Sketchbook
Archive of posts from September 2015

Anna Smol, ‘A Single Leaf
Archive of posts from September 2015

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

Various, The Tolkien Society (TS)
Archive of posts from September 2015

Southfarthing Mathom
Archive of posts from September 2015

Taruithorn, the Oxford Tolkien Society, ‘
Archive of posts from September 2015

Michael Martinez, ‘Middle-earth
Archive of posts from September 2015

Grey Havens Group, ‘The Grey Havens Group
Archive of posts from September 2015

Bruce Charlton, ‘Tolkien’s The Notion Club Papers
Archive of posts from September 2015


No new sources in September 2015

For older sources, see

Tolkien Transactions LXI

August 2015

This month started with the very sad news of the sudden and unexpected death at 55 of Jef Murray, artist and writer of mythopoeic art, not least drawings and paintings inspired by Tolkien’s work, and very generously allowing me to use his Tolkien-inspired works to illustrate my posts on this blog.


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) :-)


Tolkien Transactions LIX

June 2015

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


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.


Tolkien Transactions LVII

April 2015

April has been a rather busy month, and I have been away for much of the first couple of weeks of May, only getting down to work on these transactions on May 15th. All of this is intended to lead up to the point that, if I am to post this before the end of May (and get at least a couple of days of calm before getting started on the next issue), I have to list a lot of the links with little or, more often, no comment. Therefore you will find this issue somewhat shorter and having rather less commentary than usual. Given my normal grumpiness and difficult-to-satisfy standards, I suppose that this is all to the best … and in any case, I hope you’ll forgive me.


Tolkien Transactions LVI

March 2015

Besides much else that has happened in March, I need also to somehow mark the death of Sir Terry Pratchett, or Pterry to many of his fans. Much has been posted about Pratchett in the weeks since he passed away, but as with Tolkien, he leaves his work behind.


Tolkien Transactions LV

February 2015

First, heartfelt congratulations to Dr Andrew Higgins upon receiving his Ph.D. for his thesis, The Genesis of Tolkien’s Mythology. Eglerio! A laita se!


Tolkien Transactions LIV

January 2015

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


Tolkien Transactions LIII

December 2014

First of all, I hope you have all had a very happy Yule, and I wish you all a prosperous, happy, and Tolkienian New Year!

Next, I will remind you of the 2015 birthday toast on Saturday, January 3rd, when you are supposed to toast to “The Professor” at 21:00 (9 PM) local time. For much more information, see the Tolkien Society’s 2015 birthday toast pages – and don’t forget that you can join the Tolkien Society …


About the Author: Troels Forchhammer
“The love of Faery is the love of love” – J.R.R. Tolkien

Being either among the last of the baby boomers or first of the generation X'ers, I have now grown to become a father of four, an active Scouter, a physicist working as test and quality engineer ... and of course an amateur Tolkienist.