There is nothing new, really. Except, perhaps, that I have managed (apparently without any permanent injury) to pass, as my children lovingly remind me, a farthing score decades …. Personally I like the slow polysyllabic distinguishedness to semicentenarian 🙂 Tolkien obviously featured on my wish list, and my own present for myself, Jenny Dolfen’s brilliant Songs of Sorrow and Hope arrived just a few days after, with more to appear at a later date. My pre-order of the second edition of Scull & Hammond’s J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide probably being last to arrive as it will not be released until September next.
As in other recent months, you will find quite few posts with thorough commentary, some with some small commentary, and many with no commentary at all from my part. As long as nobody interprets my silence as consent, this shouldn’t be a huge problem (something with which you disagree can sometimes be more enlightening than something you just nod to).
As always, I claim nothing about newness (items dating back more than three years), completeness (but I do proudly claim incompleteness!), relevance, or any other implication of responsibility 🙂
This month it has suited my purposes to sort the contents under the following headlines:
1: Beren and Lúthien
2: The Bodley Medal
5: Essays and Scholarship
7: Reviews and Book News
8: Tolkienian Artwork
9: Story Internal (Ardalogy)
10: Other Stuff
11: Rewarding Discussions
12: In Print
13: Web Sites
14: The Blog Roll
|Leaf by Niggle V
On the 18th and 19th of October, the news hit the Tolkien world that the Tolkien Estate and HarperCollins and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt publishers were going to issue a stand-alone edition of the story of Beren and Lúthien, Beren and Lúthien in May 2017. Obviously this has been widely commented and shared, and a full list of articles is both impractical and impossible. Therefore I will share only a few links, and explain what sets these apart.
Wayne G. Hammond & Christina Scull, Wednesday, 19 October 2016, ‘Beren and Lúthien’
Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull were the first of the Tolkien world to comment on this, and their unrivalled Tolkien expertise along with their good relations with both the Estate and the publishers ensure that their comments are always worth reading.
John Garth, Wednesday, 19 October 2016, ‘Beren and Lúthien, a centenary publication’
The recognised expert on the earliest years of Tolkien’s writing career, including the writing of The Book of Lost Tales, John’s musings on the possible contents of the upcoming Beren and Lúthien are highly interesting!
Nelson Goering, LotR Plaza, Thursday, 20 October 2016, ‘Beren and Lúthien: Five Questions’
Philologist Nelson Goering’s five-question FAQ about Beren and Lúthien is excellent, and the ensuing discussion thread makes this an even better read.
Troels Forchhammer, Wednesday, 19 October 2016, ‘On Beren and Lúthien’
My own musings on the possible contents of the book (including some comments on what some of the above had said) are supplemented with a long list of references, updated as of 5 November, including many news articles of … variable worth. The links are grouped, and the main articles should be possible to read (they include, of course, all of the articles listed above).
|Leaf by Niggle I
Another piece of news to hit us this month was the announcement that the Bodleian Libraries have decided to award Christopher Tolkien with the Bodley Medal “for bringing his father’s literary legacy to the public”. This honour is richly deserved for Christopher Tolkien’s work as both scholar and editor and both my warm congratulations and sincere gratitude go out to Mr Tolkien for his great work!
The official description states that “The Bodley Medal is awarded by the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the worlds in which the Bodleian is active including literature, culture, science and communication.” To say that Christopher Tolkien has made an outstanding contribution seems to me a bit of an understatement, actually.
The Bodleian Libraries, Thursday, 3 November 2016, ‘Editor and Scholar Christopher Tolkien awarded Bodley Medal’
Though it wasn’t published until 3 November, I believe that the official announcement from the Bodleian Libraries belongs here (don’t be surprised to see it again next month, though 🙂 ).
Natasha Onwuemezi, The Bookseller, Monday, 31 October 2016, ‘Christopher Tolkien awarded the Bodley Medal’
Daniel Helen, The Tolkien Society, Monday, 31 October 2016, ‘Christopher Tolkien awarded Bodley Medal’
Leah Schnelbach, TOR.com, Thursday, 20 October 2016, ‘Gandalf Brings Street Magic to Middle-earth!’
Just for fun …
Blackmore Vale Magazine, Thursday, 20 October 2016, ‘On This Day… it will be 61 years since The Return of the King was published’
Tamlyn Jones, Birmingham Mail, Friday, 21 October 2016, ‘JRR Tolkien’s childhood church added to ‘At Risk’ register’
About parts of the Birmingham Oratory being deemed as ‘in danger’ by Historic England (a UK public body).
See also Express & Star, Monday, 24 October 2016, ‘JRR Tolkien’s childhood church on ‘at risk’ list’
Reports & comments on past events
Lynn Forest-Hill, Friday, 28 October 2016, ‘Wessexmoot 2016’
About the 2016 ‘Wessexmoot’ on 22 October.
Info on upcoming & on-going events (as of 1 November)
26 April 2016 – 27 February 2017, Various, Staffordshire, ‘Exhibition: J.R.R. Tolkien in Staffordshire 1915 – 1918’, The Haywood Society
Andy MacDonald, A Little Bit of Stone, Monday, 3 October 2016, ‘Exhibition celebrates Tolkien’s link with Staffordshire’
Lichfield Mercury , Monday, 31 October 2016, ‘A treat for fans of Lord of the Rings as JRR Tolkien exhibition heads to Lichfield’
5 November 2016, Oxford, ‘Not Oxonmoot-moot’, The Tolkien Society
5 November 2016, Champaign, Illinois, USA, ‘Urbana Theological Seminary: fifth annual Tolkien conference’, Urbana Theological Seminary
10 November 2016, The British Library, London, ‘Fantastic Maps: From Winnie the Pooh to Game of Thrones’, The British Library
11 November 2016, Liverpool Hope University, ‘Tolkien Day 2016’, Liverpool Hope University
3 December 2016, The Old Contemptibles, Birmingham, ‘Yulemoot 2016’, The Tolkien Society
3 January 2017, World-wide, ‘Tolkien Birthday Toast 2017’, The Tolkien Society
11–14 May 2017, Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA, ‘International Congress on Medieval Studies (K’zoo)’, Western Michigan University, Medieval Institute
16–18 June 2017, Waddow Hall, Clitheroe, Lancashire, ‘The Middle-earth Beer & Music Festival’, The Ale House Clitheroe
3–6 July 2017, Leeds, ‘International Medieval Congress’, University of Leeds, Institute for Medieval Studies
28–31 July 2017, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA, ‘Mythcon 48’, The Mythopoeic Society
Markus Altena Davidsen, Academia.edu, date unknown, ‘The Spiritual Tolkien Milieu: A Study of Fiction-based Religion’
A dissertation for the doctor’s degree at the University of Leiden (The Netherlands). The author’s own description is as follows:
“This book offers a comprehensive analysis of the organisation and development of the spiritual Tolkien milieu, a largely online-situated network of individuals and groups that draw on J.R.R. Tolkien’s literary mythology for spiritual inspiration. It is the first academic treatment of Tolkien spirituality and one of the first monographs on fiction-based religion, a type of religion that uses fiction as authoritative texts. Adopting a semiotic approach to religion, the book raises questions about the persuasive power of narrative, about religious blending, and about rationalisation of beliefs. How can some readers come to believe that supernatural agents from fictional narratives are real? How do fiction-based religions emerge when their authoritative texts lack important religious building-blocks, such as descriptions of rituals? And how do adherents of fiction-based religions legitimise their beliefs, given the fact that their religion is based on fiction? In short, with Tolkien religion as a case the dissertation aims to uncover the semiotic structures and processes involved in the construction and maintenance of fiction-based religion, and the social structures that sup¬port the plausibility of such religion.”
|Hurin of the Keys
by Peter Xavier Price
Emine Çiftçi, Academia.edu, date unknown, ‘The Signs of On Fairy Stories by J.R.R. Tolkien in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Peter Pan’
Kevin Hensler, Academia.edu, date unknown, ‘Consideration of Gender-Embodiment in the Works of J.R.R. Tolkien – Conference Abridgement’
Stephen Mirarchi, Academia.edu, date unknown, ‘Intellect, Will, and Assent in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. St. Austin Review 16:4 (July/August 2016): 22-26.’
Thomas Honegger, Academia.edu, Tuesday, 5 April 2016, ‘‘We don’t need another hero’ – Problematic Heroes and their Function in Some of Tolkien’s Works’
Thomas Honegger, Academia.edu, Saturday, 8 October 2016, ‘‘Fantastic Animals, Animals in the Fantastic’, Fastitocalon – Studies in Fantasticism Ancient to Modern Vol. VI, 2016, Issue 1 & 2’
The editorial introduction to this issue of Fastitocalon dealing with animals in relation to the fantastic.
Kris Swank, Academia.edu, Monday, 10 October 2016, ‘The Irish Otherworld Voyage of Roverandom’
The slides from a presentation. The abstract reads: ‘Signum University M.A. graduate Kris Swank discusses her thesis, “The Irish Otherworld Voyage of Roverandom,” in which she reads Tolkien’s children’s story, Roverandom, as a modern immram, a type of medieval Irish tale concerned with a sea-voyage to the Otherworld. View the entire presentation @ https://youtu.be/TNvkhtTaVXw‘
Medievalist.net, Sunday, 23 October 2016, ‘The Mandrake Plant and Six Anglo-Saxon Cures’
Debby Banham and Christine Voth, Medievalist.net, Sunday, 23 October 2016, ‘The Diagnosis and Treatment of Wounds in the Old English Medical Collections: Anglo-Saxon Surgery?’
John Garth, Oxford Today, Saturday, 1 October 2016, ‘Teaching Tolkien in Nevada: Former OT digital editor John Garth on his move to Las Vegas’
John Garth tells the story of his year in the USA – or at least some of it. Tolkien, Las Vegas, USA and Garth’s excellent journalistic (and storytelling) command of the language blend to a fine article.
David Russell Mosley, Patheos, Monday, 3 October 2016, ‘Can Christians Believe Myths? Looking to Tolkien for Some Answers’
Lynn Forest-Hill, Wednesday, 12 October 2016, ‘First in October’
The reading group is on book V of The Lord of the Rings, discussing ‘The Siege of Gondor’ and ‘The Ride of the Rohirrim’ (though, having much to say about the former, they only just got started on the latter).
Joseph Pearce, The Imaginative Conservative, Thursday, 13 October 2016, ‘Belloc versus Tolkien: Two Views of Anglo-Saxon England’
Spurred by a comment in the memoirs of Jesuit Fr. Martin D’Arcy, Joseph Pearce comments on two opposing views of, particularly, the importance of Anglo-Saxon culture on English Christianity.
Tom Hillman, Friday, 28 October 2016, ‘‘For some the only glimpse. For some the awaking.’’
by Katarzyna Chmiel-Gugulska
Arwen Kester, Middle-earth News, Monday, 3 October 2016, ‘The Proverbs of Middle-earth, By David Rowe’
A pre-review of David Rowe’s The Proverbs of Middle-earth from Oloris Publishing.
Wayne Hammond & Christina Scull, Tuesday, 4 October 2016, ‘Tolkien Companion and Guide 2nd Ed.’
A second, updated and expanded, edition is being published on 7 September next year. I have pre-ordered (need I say more 🙂 )
See also Daniel Helen, The Tolkien Society, Wednesday, 5 October 2016, ‘Second edition of “Tolkien Companion and Guide” announced’
John D. Rateliff, Tuesday, 4 October 2016, ‘“TOLKIEN & LEWIS” film’
A review of the Tolkien and Lewis documentary.
Arwen Kester, Middle-earth News, Thursday, 6 October 2016, ‘Kings, Queens, and Halflings: A Historian Looks at Middle-earth, by David Cofield’
On the release of Kings, Queens, and Halflings: A Historian Looks at Middle-earth by David Cofield from Oloris Publishing
Joe Gilronan, Wednesday, 12 October 2016, ‘My book “From The Shire To The Sea” released…’
Oloris Publishing has published the art book by Joe Gilronan, From The Shire To The Sea
Jenny Dolfen, Saturday, 15 October 2016, ‘ARTBOOK NEWS (FEAT. MAGLOR’S G-STRING)’
About the hardback copies of Songs of Sorrow and Hope and a little production glitch … (spot the issue with Maglor’s G-string on the second to bottom book depicted). I have my copy on my shelves to enjoy whenever I wish 🙂
Janet Brennan Croft, Academia.edu, Tuesday, 18 October 2016, ‘Seven v. 32 and Waymeet for Tolkien Teachers’
A double review from issue 129 of Mythlore
Kris Swank, Academia.edu, Tuesday, 18 October 2016, ‘Book Reviews (Mythlore 129) – “The Surprising Imagination of C.S. Lewis: An Introduction” and “Ransoming the Wasteland: Papers on C.S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy, Chronicles of Narnia, and Other Works”’
Another double review from issue 129 of Mythlore
Kris Swank, Wednesday, 19 October 2016, ‘The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and the voyage of Roverandom’
Kris Swank’s paper for Mythmoot III in 2015, in which she “Compares C.S. Lewis’ ‘Voyage of the Dawn Treader’ and J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘Roverandom,’ and the influence on both of medieval Irish immrama”.
The Mythopoeic Society, Thursday, 20 October 2016, ‘Mythlore 129 published, Table of Contents available’
See also Lynn Maudlin, The Horn of Rohan Redux, Thursday, 20 October 2016, ‘Mythlore 129 published’
Dennis Wise, Friday, 21 October 2016, ‘REVIEW: J.R.R. Tolkien, Robert E. Howard, and the Birth of Modern Fantasy by Deke Parsons’
The short version: the book left Wise ‘feeling distinctly underwhelmed.’
John Rateliff, Wednesday, 26 October 2016, ‘The New Arrival (2017 Tolkien Calendar)’
David Bratman, The Tolkien Society, Saturday, 29 October 2016, ‘a sinister student’
About the latest in the series of murder mysteries by Kel Richards, an Australian radio broadcaster and crime novelist, featuring C.S. Lewis as the detective.
Joe Gilronan, FineArtAmerica, Sunday, 25 September 2016, ‘Bilbo Baggins’
Tobi, John Howe: Flavour of the Month, Wednesday, 5 October 2016, ‘Trees Company’
Peter Xavier Price, DeviantArt, Saturday, 8 October 2016, ‘Hurin of the Keys’
Peter Xavier Price, DeviantArt, Saturday, 8 October 2016, ‘Eárendil and Elwing’
Graeme Skinner, Sunday, 9 October 2016, ‘Mr Beard’
CaroB, John Howe: Flavour of the Month, Monday, 10 October 2016, ‘Ent’
Elena Kukanova, Friday, 14 October 2016, ‘Arvedui and Firiel’
I am growing quite fond of Elena Kukanova’s style …
User ‘persian-pirate’, DeviantArt, Friday, 14 October 2016, ‘Hobbits’
Ambra Bigot, DeviantArt, Sunday, 16 October 2016, ‘Sleeping Smaug…’
Elena Stewart, DeviantArt, Monday, 17 October 2016, ‘Galadriel’
James Turner Mohan, DeviantArt, Thursday, 20 October 2016, ‘Telerin Portrait’
A ‘maiden of Alqualondë’.
User ‘annamare’, DeviantArt, Thursday, 20 October 2016, ‘The First Elves – Cuivienyarna’
|Leaf by Niggle III
Riana, DeviantArt, Saturday, 22 October 2016, ‘Leaf by Niggle I’
First of three images by Riana. See comments under the third (numbered ‘V’).
Sergiu, John Howe: Flavour of the Month, Saturday, 22 October 2016, ‘Tree’
Miruna Lavinia, DeviantArt, Sunday, 23 October 2016, ‘PROJECT LOTR – landscapes’
Elena Kukanova, DeviantArt, Monday, 24 October 2016, ‘Morgoth’
Joe Gilronan, FineArtAmerica, Monday, 24 October 2016, ‘Good Morning Gandalf’
Tomás Hijo, Monday, 24 October 2016, ‘Curiosity killed the cat. Grishnak ’
Norloth, John Howe: Flavour of the Month, Tuesday, 25 October 2016, ‘Come back to me and say my land is fair’
Miruna Lavinia, DeviantArt, Tuesday, 25 October 2016, ‘Gollum’s Cave in the Mountains’
Francesca Baerald, Wednesday, 26 October 2016, ‘Map of Middle Earth – Lord of the Rings’
Riana, DeviantArt, Thursday, 27 October 2016, ‘Leaf by Niggle III’
Riana, DeviantArt, Sunday, 30 October 2016, ‘Leaf by Niggle V’
I really like these three illustrations for Tolkien’s allegorical story, Leaf by Niggle. Riana captures something of the essence of the story in this pictures, the first capturing the obsession of Niggle, the second one of the key moments of the story (the two voices), and the third perfectly summarises the final scene – and particularly the indifference shown by Tompkins and Perkins … Niggle, who?
I do love the attempts to wring out everything from a single sentence, that is at the heart of many story internal discussions. What really happens at this or that point in the story? What is this or that character’s personality in this aspect?
Attempts to answer such questions can only rarely stay within the story itself, but will often need to employ various tips and tricks from the toolbox of literary analysis and critique, but always with a view to try to understand better the author’s intention with some minute detail.
Tom Hillman, Thursday, 13 October 2016, ‘Hob Hayward, Robin Smallburrow, and the Words of Gildor Inglorion’
Tom Hillman, Sunday, 16 October 2016, ‘As One That Returneth from the Dead’
Ian Spittlehouse, Saturday, 1 October 2016, ‘Tolkien and Gordon, the Leeds connection’
Joseph Pearce, The Imaginative Conservative, Friday, 21 October 2016, ‘In Memory of The Battle of The Somme’
Other Minds Magazine, Sunday, 23 October 2016, ‘Other Minds Issue 16 Published!’
‘Hawke’, Sunday, 30 October 2016, ‘Adventures in Middle-earth D&D 5e Tolkien-based Gaming’
LotR Plaza, ‘Middle-Earth’s Noldor Population in Third Age’ [sic]
Starting from the question of the Noldorin population in Middle-earth at some point in the Third Age, the discussion moves on to the question of the meaning of the word High-elf (and derivatives). While inconclusive, this kind of thing is interesting also in that it shows that Tolkien’s usage was not always consistent – not even within a single work such as The Lord of the Rings (an inconsistency which Tolkien acknowledged in the index).
LotR Plaza, ‘A Secret Vice’
Discussions of the interpretations of this book continue with valuable input …
Amon Hen issue 261, October 2016, Andrew Butler (ed.), The Tolkien Society.
I had the opportunity to sit down and read through this issue of Amon Hen more thoroughly than I have with a number of earlier issues, and I quite enjoyed it. The most important column, by far, for me is ‘Behind Glass Doors’ (reporting on the committee work). A number of other regular columns report on other activities of the Society, such as e.g. ‘The Burning Palantír’ which reports on antics of the Tolkien Society Facebook group, and not least ‘Michael’s Miscellany’ which discusses mentions of Tolkien in the general press, and which, with its broader scope, in my own not-too-humble opinion serves as a fine supplement to my own transactions.
This issue also featured an supplement to Michael Flowers’ own report on his Inaugural East Yorkshire Tolkien Tour, this one by Catherine Thorn, who didn’t feel any restraint in praising the organisers, and Michael in particular, for what was, by all accounts, a truly brilliant experience.
Irina Metzler has written an article, ‘Eloi and Morlocks: The Inspiration for All Things Eldar and Mordor?’, arguing that Tolkien was inspired by the Eloi and Morlocks in Well’s The Time Machine for the Elvish roots EL and MOR. The article is well written and interesting, but ultimately not very convincing given the numerous earlier appearances of these phonetic elements in related senses, a tradition that both Wells and Tolkien tapped into, though for Tolkien Wells was of course a (relatively recent) part of that tradition.
Kristine Larsen wrote about polarised moon light in ‘Do Dwarves Wear Their Sunglasses at Night? Pondering the Science of Moon-letters’, which suggests that the moon-letters could be explained (or perhaps rather modelled) scientifically by the polarisation of the light reflected by the moon.
The second part of Angela Nichol’s ‘The Tragedy of Arvedui and Its Relevance to The Lord of the Rings’ also appears in this issue, which may, or may not, bring her investigations of Arvedui to a close. While there is little new to people who have carefully read The Lord of the Rings, it is good to see the book being read with this kind of attention to detail and this kind of analytical approach.
Mythprint no. 378, Fall 2016, Megan Abrahamson (ed.), The Mythopoeic Society.
Mythcon, Mythcon and Mythcon … and a few reviews, including Ryder W. Miller’s review of Tolkien Among the Moders by Ralph C. Wood (ed.).
Beyond Bree October 2016, Nancy Martsch (ed.), The American Mensa Tolkien Special Interest Group
I haven’t had time to look through my copy of Beyond Bree this month and there is, unfortunately, no table of contents from which I might at least get an overview.
|Eárendil and Elwing’
by Peter Xavier Price
‘British Library Maps Collection’
I don’t know if it’s for being a Scout … or a scientist … or a Tolkienist, but I do love maps and I know a lot of other people who do so as well, including many other Tolkien enthusiasts, so therefore ….
Not least, check out this great article: Tom Harper, Bristh Library – Maps, ‘What is a fantasy map?’
And yes, Tolkien does get mentioned along with a lot of other fantasy map makers.
Edward Platt, aeon, 25 july 2013, ‘Out of the deep’
“From Atlantis to Noah’s Ark, we have long been drawn to stories of submerged lands. What lies beneath the flood myths?”
I’ll also put this old article here about the attraction of (some might say obsession with) flood and submersion narratives. The article doesn’t mention Tolkien or Númenórë, but it deals with a tradition into which Tolkien’s own flood narrative fits nicely.
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.
Various (Bradford Eden, ed.)Journal of Tolkien Research (JTR)
Archive of contributions for the on-going volume 3, issue 3 – no new articles in October 2016.
No new sources in October 2016
For older sources, see http://parmarkenta.blogspot.com/p/sources.html
|Nazgûl and Galadriel
by Katarzyna Chmiel-Gugulska
“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.