These monthly introductions have become an outlet for my feelings of having too much to do – to some extent as an explanation of delays and reduced commentary. As can be seen, I am now (albeit slowly) catching up with respect to the delays, which is certainly a relief (and due to a general lightening of loads compared to the latter half of 2016). The commentary is still light as I am unable to read through all items (and a number of them I simply include because they look interesting), and this is likely to continue for quite a while.
Therefore I continue to make disclaimers regarding the newness, completeness, relevance, agreement or veracity (or any other implication of responsibility) of anything on this list, individually and as a whole 🙂
This month it has suited my purposes to sort the contents under the following
1: The Birthday Toast
4: Essays and Scholarship
6: Reviews and Book News
7: Tolkienian Artwork
8: Story Internal (Ardalogy)
9: Other Stuff
10: Rewarding Discussions
11: Other Reading
12: Web Sites
13: The Blog Roll
by Jenny Dolfen
Shaun Gunner, The Tolkien Society, Friday, 13 January 2017, ‘How the world celebrated Tolkien’s Birthday’
Valdis, Middle-earth News, Monday, 2 January 2017, ‘Tolkien Birthday Toast 2017’
Amy H. Sturgis, Tuesday, 3 January 2017, ‘Happy Birthday, J.R.R. Tolkien!’
John D. Rateliff, Tuesday, 3 January 2017, ‘Happy Tolkien Day’
Brenton Dickieson, Tuesday, 3 January 2017, ‘Toasting Tolkien’s 125th Birthday #TolkienBirthdayToast’
James Moffat, Tuesday, 3 January 2017, ‘Tolkien Birthday Toast 2017’
Brenton Dickieson, Thursday, 5 January 2017, ‘A Brace of Tolkien Posts (125th Birthday Week)’
A list of Tolkien-related posts on his blog (so, Tolkien posts come in braces … these things are good to know 😉 ).
Russ Burlingame, Comicbook, Sunday, 1 January 2017, ‘Remembering JRR Tolkien On His Birthday’
Duncan MacLaren, BBC Radio 4, Tuesday, 3 January 2017, ‘Prayer for the Day’
A nice enough little prayer based on Tolkien’s Leaf by Niggle (though I am favourably disposed towards the final sentiment of the prayer, I am not sure I agree with the way he comes from Niggle to this sentiment).
Felix Schlagwein, Deutsche Welle, Tuesday, 3 January 2017, ‘J.R.R. Tolkien – celebrating an unusual life’
One of the better birhtday articles on Tolkien here.
Laura Rebello, International Business Times, Tuesday, 3 January 2017, ‘JRR Tolkien’s 125th birthday: Check out The Lord Of The Rings author’s biggest celebrity fans’
Clark Mindock, International Business Times, Tuesday, 3 January 2017, ‘JRR Tolkien Birthday: Quotes And Facts About The ‘Hobbit’ And ‘Lord Of The Rings’ Author’
The so-called ‘facts’ should have been reviewed more thoroughly, but at least the quotations seem to be OK (the pen & beak quotation is at a hearsay level, but at least we have someone claiming that Tolkien said so), though I haven’t verified all of them for word order, punctuation etc.
Kate Samuelson, Time, Tuesday, 3 January 2017, ‘J. R. R. Tolkien Fans Are Toasting the Lord of the Rings Author on His 125th Birthday’
Simonetta Dibbern, Deutschlandfunk, Tuesday, 3 January 2017, ‘Vor 125 Jahren: Der britische Schriftsteller J.R.R. Tolkien geboren’
In German, but certainly one of the better articles!
Books News Desk, Broadway World, Wednesday, 4 January 2017, ‘J. R. R. Tolkien Fans Celebrate 125th Birthday With a Global Toast’
Illyana Zeski, The Pierce Pioneer, Monday, 23 January 2017, ‘J.R.R. Tolkien Birthday’
|Happy Birthday from Elmenel
by Tsvetelina Krumova
Ben Hooper, UPI, Friday, 6 January 2017, ‘Great-grandma’s St. Anthony figurine turns out to be ‘Lord of the Rings’ elf’
Nan Spowart, The National, Tuesday, 10 January 2017, ‘JRR Tolkien’s epic The Lord of the Rings ‘depicts the horrors of the trenches’’
One of many articles taking its outset in a book by a Simon Tolkien, No Man’s Land, in which Simon Tolkien uses inspiration from his famous grandfather’s life. This article is fairly representative in both its fallacies and its correct information (don’t accept any statement without verifying it).
Shaun Gunner, The Tolkien Society, Wednesday, 11 January 2017, ‘25th anniversary of Sauron Defeated’
Arwen Kester, Middle-earth News, Thursday, 12 January 2017, ‘Middle-earth News Celebrates 6 Years Today!’
Larry Eskridge, Canton Daily Ledger, Saturday, 14 January 2017, ‘Celebrating the author of the 20th Century’
Kristina Lazzara, Marquette Wire, Tuesday, 24 January 2017, ‘Marquette purchases rare first edition of ‘The Hobbit’’
Shaun Gunner, The Tolkien Society, Thursday, 26 January 2017, ‘Tolkien Society achieves highest ever membership’
Yay! 1,287 members! Well done! No doubt the conscious on-line presence of the Tolkien Society over the past few years (e.g. with a Facebook Group with more than 25,000 members) is a strong contributing factor to the growth of the society dedicated to “educat[ing] the public in, and promote research into, the life and works” of J.R.R. Tolkien.
Congratulations to our Tolkien Society and not least to our trustees, chaired by Shaun Gunner! Well done!
Maria Sestito, Napa Valley Register, Saturday, 28 January 2017, ‘Napa Library celebrates all things Tolkien’
Daniel Helen, The Tolkien Society, Sunday, 29 January 2017, ‘Nominations open for The Tolkien Society Awards 2017’
Yay! Who else are making lists 🙂 Looking at the list of previous winners, I think it is about time we nominate the outstanding work by Christina Scull and Wayne Hammond for the “Outstanding Contribution” award! But as for the other awards, I still haven’t made up my mind 🙂
No reports or comments on past events
See the special section on the Birthday Toast.
Info on upcoming & on-going events (as of 1 January)
26 April 2016 – 27 February 2017, Various, Staffordshire, ‘Exhibition: J.R.R. Tolkien in Staffordshire 1915 – 1918’, The Haywood Society
25 March 2017, Worldwide, ‘Tolkien Reading Day 2017’, The Tolkien Society
This year’s theme is ‘Poetry and Songs in Tolkien’s Fiction’
21–23 April 2017, Warwick Arms Hotel, ‘Springmoot and AGM 2017’, The Tolkien Society
11–14 May 2017, Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA, ‘International Congress on Medieval Studies (K’zoo)’, Western Michigan University, Medieval Institute
Geoffrey B. Elliott, Thursday, 26 January 2017, ‘Kalamazoo 2017: Updates’
Anna Smol, Saturday, 28 January 2017, ‘Kalamazoo: Tolkien Symposium and ICMS Conference’
1–4 June 2017, National Conference Center, Virginia, US, ‘Mythmoot IV: Invoking Wonder’, Mythgard Institute
Curtis, Signum University, Tuesday, 22 November 2016, ‘Are you ready for Mythmoot IV?’
Tom Hillman, Thursday, 5 January 2017, ‘Mythmoot IV — A New Hope’
16–18 June 2017, Waddow Hall, Clitheroe, Lancashire, ‘The Middle-earth Beer & Music Festival’, The Ale House Clitheroe
2 July 2017, Hilton Leeds Hotel, ‘Tolkien Society Seminar 2017’, The Tolkien Society – The theme this year will be “Poetry and Song in Tolkien’s works”
Anna Milon, The Tolkien Society, Tuesday, 6 December 2016, ‘Call for papers: Tolkien Society Seminar 2017’
Shaun Gunner, The Tolkien Society, Tuesday, 31 January 2017, ‘Book now for The Tolkien Society Seminar 2017’
28–31 July 2017, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA, ‘Mythcon 48’, The Mythopoeic Society
10–13 August 2017, California State University, East Bay, Hayward Campus, USA, ‘Omentielva Otsea: The Seventh International Conference on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Invented Languages’, Omentielva
21–24 September 2017, St. Anthony’s College, Oxford, ‘Oxonmoot’, The Tolkien Society
|The Fellowship of the Ring
by Katarzyna Chmiel-Gugulska
‘“J.R.R. Tolkien” on Academia.edu’
‘“Tolkien Studies” on Academia.edu’
A sampling of papers uploaded to Academia.edu in December & January (probably … or thereabouts, the exact upload date is generally not available). Unsorted. Where a paper is indicated as having been previously published in a journal, this is included here:
Paul Romney, Lembas Katern Iss. 76, pp. 101-114, ‘A Particular Phase of History: Time Travel, Temporal Ambiguity, and the Pattern of History in The Lord of the Rings’
Robert Tally, in Tolkien in the New Century: Essays in Honor of Tom Shippey, pp. 41-56, ‘Places Where the Stars are Strange: Fantasy and Utopia in Tolkien’s Middle-earth’
Lars Schmeink, Participations: Journal of Audience & Reception Studies, Vol. 13, Iss. 2, pp. 430-439, ‘How Bilbo Lost His Innocence: Media Audiences and the Evaluation of The Hobbit as a ‘Children’s Film’’
Boris Gorelik, Mallorn Iss. 55, pp. 5-10, ‘‘Africa… always moves me deeply’: Tolkien in Bloemfontein’
Dina Khapaeva, chapter in The Celebration of Death in Contemporary Culture, pp. 81-85, ‘The Hobbit, the Monster’s Godfather’
Giovanni Costabilie, ‘Whose Salvation? True Immortality, Tolkien’s Elves and the Fate of the Artist’
Michael Drout, Academia.edu, ‘List of Documents’
Michael Drout has uploaded a number of documents, many of which are from various issues of Tolkien Studies (e.g. own articles and reviews, biographies etc.). And of course, there are many non-Tolkien documents (e.g. on medievalism) that could also be of interest to the readers here.
Martina Juričková, Saturday, 24 December 2016, ‘A Journey of Virtues: Reflections of Advent Ideas in The Lord of the Rings’
Anahit Behrooz, Medievalist.net, Sunday, 8 January 2017, ‘Good versus Evil: Representations of the Monstrous in Thirteenth Century Anglo-French Apocalypse Manuscripts’
An article from Forum: University of Edinburgh Postgraduate Journal of Culture and the Arts, Issue 22 (2016). I am not entirely sure how this can be brought to relate more directly to Tolkien, but I was struck both by the concept of the monsters and by the sentence in the introduction, where Behrooz speaks of possibility of reading the Revelation “as an allegory or embodiment of the dichotomy or ‘near dualism’ of good and evil”, which seems to be to contrast somewhat with the Thomistic understanding of evil as an absence of good (I believe that lsquo;privation of good’ is the technical term).
Nelson Goering, The Tolkien Society, Tuesday, 17 January 2017, ‘The Later Quenta Silmarillion: A Reader’s Map’
An excellent work to help readers piece together something approaching a continuous (albeit far from consistent) narration of the Later Quenta Silmarillion. Goering stresses the constantly evolving nature of the texts (something that is also true of the published works, which were, in many ways, still ‘works in progress’ despite having been published), and his solutions also clearly show that there is no one right way to read these texts (though there may be ways that are wrong).
James Graham-Campbell, Medievalist.net, Monday, 23 January 2017, ‘The Vikings in Orkney’
Natalia Klimczak, Friday, 27 January 2017, ‘Väinämöinen: The Finnish Deity and Hero Who Inspired Tolkien to Create Gandalf and Tom Bombadil’
An introduction to the idea of Tolkienian inspirations from the Finnish Kalevala cycle, seemlingly designed with readers of The Lord of the Rings in mind – even if the specifics of the claims may be new also to readers familiar with The Story of Kullervo and other Kalevala-references in Tolkien. I could have wished that it went just one or two steps further – just naming the particular singing quality of all the Tom Bombadil says, and merely stating that Gandalf has some echoes of Väinämöinen feels a bit too superficial to me.
Angela Marion Smith, Medievalist.net, Sunday, 29 January 2017, ‘King Æthelstan in the English, Continental and Scandinavian Traditions of the Tenth to the Thirteenth Centuries’
|Once Upon A Shire
by Joe Gilronan
Steuard Jensen, January 2017, ‘A Rings-Reader’s Bridge to The Children of Húrin’
An excellent guide for a reader of The Lord of the Rings to get an idea of what’s going on in The Children of Húrin.
T.J. West, Friday, 6 January 2017, ‘Reading “The Lord of the Rings”: “Journey to the Cross-Roads,” “The Stairs of Cirith Ungol,” and “Shelob’s Lair”’
Tom Hillman, Sunday, 8 January 2017, ‘No Laughing Matter: the Ring and the Quality of the Dúnedain’
… and yet humour is involved, as Hillman shows here.
Chris Gehrz, Patheos, Tuesday, 10 January 2017, ‘Lewis, Tolkien, and the Shadow of War’
Philip Seargeant, The Conversation, Wednesday, 11 January 2017, ‘Why Tolkien’s fantastic imaginary languages have had more impact than Esperanto’
This has also appeared in other places with similar headline.
Bruce G Charlton, Thursday, 12 January 2017, ‘Fantasy fiction is more important than ‘real life’: completing the argument of JRR Tolkien’s essay On Fairy Stories’
I am quite certain that Tolkien would have disagreed vehemently on theological, literary, and simple human groups.
Andrew Whalen, iDigitalTimes, Friday, 13 January 2017, ‘‘Lord Of The Rings’ Answer To Marie Kondo: Tolkien’s Fantasy Coinage For Those Who Like Clutter’
About mathoms ….
Stephen C Winter, Monday, 16 January 2017, ‘A Cock Crow Announces the Fall of Mordor’
Lynn Forest-Hill, Southfarthing Mathom, Saturday, 14 January 2017, ‘First in January (2017)’
T.J. West, Thursday, 19 January 2017, ‘Reading “The Lord of the Rings”: “The Choices of Master Samwise”’
Bruce G Charlton, Thursday, 19 January 2017, ‘The Romantic Theology of the Inklings (considered as a complementary group)’
My own impression of the Inklings is such that Charlton’s search for a more coherent, complementary, theory of something appears to me forced – a matter of forced applicability rather than the contemporary actuality of the group and its writers.
Simon J Cook, Tuesday, 24 January 2017, ‘LOTR: early drafts: Tom Bombadil in passing’
Cook’s investigations of the early drafts of The Lord of the Rings continue to be interesting!
T.J. West, Thursday, 26 January 2017, ‘Reading “The Lord of the Rings”: “Minas Tirith”’
Lynn Forest-Hill, Southfarthing Mathom, Sunday, 29 January 2017, ‘Last in January’
Bruce G Charlton, Sunday, 1 January 2017, ‘Review of Tales from the Perilous Realm – Brian Sibley’s 1992 radio adaptations of Farmer Giles of Ham, Smith of Wooton Major, Leaf by Niggle and some Lord of the Rings scenes featuring Tom Bombadil’
Jeffrey R. Humboldt, Wednesday, 4 January 2017, ‘A Few More Details About the Revised Tolkien Companion and Guide’
A very few additional details on the upcoming three-volume second edition of Scull and Hammond’s essential J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide.
Joseph Pearce, The Imaginative Conservative, Saturday, 7 January 2017, ‘The Best of Tolkien’
I suppose one might argue that ‘The Best on Tolkien’ would have been a more accurate title, as Pearce here lists some books that are, in his opinion, among the best books about Tolkien and / or Tolkien’s work. I can see that Pearce and I have largely read, and been moved by, different books about Tolkien, but we do agree on Carptenter, Shippey, Flieger and Garth, and I find it very strange not to find the works by Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull on this list (as for the rest, I suppose that is more easily explained by the large differences in perspective on Tolkien between Pearce and myself).
John D. Rateliff, Monday, 9 December 2016, ‘Clyde Kilby’s Collected Essays’
Rateliff provides some lovely examples from the book, particularly from the report of Kilby’s meeting with Lewis in 1953. This could well be a book inclusion in the modest collection to my right as I write (see my updated ‘shelfie’ illustrating this issue).
Lynn Maudlin, The Horn of Rohan Redux, Friday, 13 January 2017, ‘Mythprint #379 Published’
Nelson Goering, Journal of Tolkien Research, Sunday, 15 January 2017, ‘A Secret Vice (2016) by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Dimitra Fimi and Andrew Higgins’
A favourable (and wholly deserved so) review of A Secret Vice: Tolkien on invented languages.
Jeffrey H. Ryan, Tuesday, 17 January 2017, ‘Tolkien Tuesday: 2017’
A summary of some of the Tolkien books known to arrive in 2017.
Bruce G Charlton, Tuesday, 17 January 2017, ‘Review of The Hobbit animated movie 1977’
A review of the Rankin / Bass animated film that is somewhat more positive than mine would be …
Tom Hillman, Thursday, 19 January 2017, ‘Review: Tolkien, Race and Cultural History: From Fairies to Hobbits’
Tom Hillman, Thursday, 19 January 2017, ‘Review: J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lost English Mythology’
Tom Hillman, Thursday, 19 January 2017, ‘Review: Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary, together with Sellic Spell’
Tom Hillman, Thursday, 19 January 2017, ‘Review: The Book of Lost Tales, Part One’
Tom Hillman, Thursday, 19 January 2017, ‘Review: Tolkien’ (the biography by Edwards)
Tom Hillman, Thursday, 19 January 2017, ‘Review: Deep Roots in a Time of Frost: Essays on Tolkien’
Tom Hillman, Thursday, 19 January 2017, ‘Review: Perilous and Fair: Women in the Works and Life of J. R. R. Tolkien’
Tom Hillman, Thursday, 19 January 2017, ‘Review: The History of Middle-Earth Index’
Tom Hillman, Thursday, 19 January 2017, ‘Review: The History of the Hobbit’
Tom Hillman, Thursday, 19 January 2017, ‘Review: A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War: How J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis Rediscovered Faith, Friendship, and Heroism in the Cataclysm of 1914-18’
What Hillman himself describes as a ‘deluge’ of reviews (many more than these Tolkien-related ones). Some short, some longer, but worth checking.
Matěj Čadil, DeviantArt, Monday, 12 December 2016, ‘The Road Goes Ever On’
Jenny Dolfen, Sunday, 1 January 2017, ‘Lúthien’
by Tsvetelina Krumova – Elmenel
Tsvetelina Krumova, Monday, 2 January 2017, ‘Happy New Year!’
Tsvetelina Krumova, Tuesday, 3 January 2017, ‘My First Artwork for this Year’
Šárka Škorpíková, DeviantArt, Wednesday, 4 January 2017, ‘Bywater pool on the day of Bilbo’s party’
Elena Kukanova, DeviantArt, Thursday, 5 January 2017, ‘Morgoth’
User ‘wildelbenreiter’, DeviantArt, Thursday, 5 January 2017, ‘the big heart of a tree’
Matěj Čadil, Friday, 6 January 2017, ‘Tom and Goldberry’s First Meeting’
Francesca T. Barbini, SciFiFantasy Network, Saturday, 14 January 2017, ‘The Silmarillion Symphony Ep 2: The Fall of Fingolfin’
A work by composer Aaron M Dunn.
Ulla Thurnell, DeviantArt, Saturday, 21 January 2017, ‘Hobbiton’
Blacksanz, DeviantArt, Sunday, 22 January 2017, ‘Gimli’
Antonio José Manzanedo, DeviantArt, Sunday, 22 January 2017, ‘Gwaihir the Windlord’
Joe Gilronan, Thursday, 26 January 2017, ‘Once Upon A Shire’
Daniel Pilla, DeviantArt, Saturday, 28 January 2017, ‘Gandalf and Bilbo’
User ‘GGoya’, DeviantArt, Sunday, 29 January 2017, ‘Don’t Follow the Lights’
Joona Kujanen, DeviantArt, Tuesday, 31 January 2017, ‘Battle of Five Armies: King Under the Mountain’
Michael Martinez, Tuesday, 31 January 2017, ‘Is There Any Significance to the Number of Steps at Orthanc?’
Michael Martinez, Tuesday, 10 January 2017, ‘DragonCon Cancels the Tolkien and Middle-earth Fan Programming Track’
Obviously these are worse news to some than to others (I don’t recall reading about DragonCon before this, though I probably have …), but of course it is upsetting to those who have been heavily involved in this.
Jonathan S MacIntosh, Tuesday, 17 January 2017, ‘Entrepreneurship vs. Labor in Middle-earth’
Brian Castner, KWAC, Tuesday, 24 January 2017, ‘Simon Tolkien Draws On His Famous Grandfather’s Experiences In ‘No Man’s Land’’
See also Dennis Drabelle, Washington Post, Thursday, 26 January 2017, ‘J.R.R. Tolkien’s war experiences inspire his grandson’s novel, ‘No Man’s Land’’
LotR Plaza, , ‘Alliterative Revival’
Having an expert on the alliterative metre contribute can be daunting, but not when it’s the kind and helpful Nelson Goering … 🙂
‘Did Tolkien ever change the meanings of his words?’
The discussion has now been closed, but an interesting topic that could do with a broader discussion (though not of whether Tolkien changed the meanings, but rather how, when, and particularly why he change the meanings of his words).
Among other things, I will here add some old items that have come up (in some cases I’ll be reposting), and which are still worth reading. So expect rather a jumble in this section.
Rebecca Lawes, Winter 2017, ‘Tolkien & Latin’
Jenny Turner, London Review of Books, Vol. 23 No. 22, 15 November 2001, ‘Reasons for Liking Tolkien’
A lengthy analysis that is critical in an intelligent way. Good reading!
Christopher Howse, The Telegraph, 14 November 2014, ‘Tolkien and the Gothsâ€™ disaster’
What might Tolkien have meant by saying that “the greatest disaster in history was that the Goths fell into the Arian heresy”?
Michael Caines, The Times Literary Supplement, 2 December 2015, ‘Iris Murdoch: letter-writer and eucatastrophist’
The theme of this article is relating and comparing Iris Murdoch and J.R.R. Tolkien. Good stuff.
Apart from these, I am still working my quiet way through Tolkien’s Beowulf, while also keeping up with various non-Tolkienian reading (I’ve recently bought a couple of books by Lord Baden-Powell, Rovering to Sucess and Lessons from the Varsity of Life, and I also still have some books in Danish from my birthday to get through – one a Danish translation of I am Malala). Good days ahead 🙂
Ryszard Viajante Derdzinski, ‘Tolknięty’
A blog on the genealogy of Tolkien. Derdzinski believes to have traced the family of J.R.R. Tolkien to Danzig (modern day Gdansk) in what was, at the time, eastern Germany. I haven’t had time to read the most recent posts, but he has promised to post some more convincing evidence of the link from London to Danzig, and I look forward to seeing more from this very interesting research.
|Elrond and Elros
by Jenny Dolfen
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
For older sources, see http://parmarkenta.blogspot.com/p/sources.html
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.