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Sign up now for the next Tolkien Society seminar!

The next free, online Tolkien Society seminar is Translating and Illustrating Tolkien and will take place on Saturday 6th November. You can now sign up for the seminar by visiting the event page.

The Tolkien Society Seminar is a short conference of both researcher-led and non-academic presentations on a specific theme pertaining to Tolkien scholarship. The Society has so far held two seminars in 2021 (“Twenty-first Century Receptions of Tolkien” and “Tolkien and Diversity”) and their online setting has seen increased interest with over 700 attendees from 52 countries at “Tolkien and Diversity”. We are delighted to be running 2021’s third and final seminar which will be held online and will be free for all.

What will the seminar discuss?

Tolkien’s appeal has led to his fiction and non-fiction being translated into over fifty languages. The art of translation is immensely complex and when discussing the Dutch translation of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien himself saw the task as “formidable”, offering his own supportive intervention to achieve a satisfactory result. The author’s invented names and languages prompt the question of how the translator should approach Tolkien’s immense mythology. Recent scholarship has emphasised the need for a wider range of Tolkien’s work to be translated in order for readers to gain a fuller understanding of Arda and the author’s development. But with a wealth of translated texts existing already, this seminar hopes to spark new interpretations about old texts and for unacknowledged translations to be brought to light and examined.

An illustrator of his own work, Tolkien had a keen eye for the visual representation of a text. He admired the work of illustrators such as Pauline Baynes, Cor Blok and Ingahild Grathmer (the Queen of Denmark) and others who illustrated the original English and translated versions of his texts. The manner in which illustrators have engaged with Tolkien’s stories varies dramatically and can often be influenced by culturally specific ideas. This seminar hopes to re-examine renowned illustrations of Tolkien’s work while calling for new or overshadowed illustrations to be discussed.

Papers may consider, but are not limited to the following:

  • Translations/illustrations of Tolkien’s fiction/non-fiction
  • The role of the translator/illustrator
  • Translations/illustrations and their context
  • Translations’/illustrations’ reception

Sign up here!

About the Author: Will Sherwood
Will is the Education Secretary for the Tolkien Society. A secondary school teacher of English and Music in Kent, Will is passionate about building relationships between the Society and educational institutes across the globe. He welcomes communications from schools and educational charities that are looking to engage with Tolkien's life and works and can be contacted at education@tolkiensociety.org