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Usually when I come across a mainstream journalistic critical article about Tolkien, it’s time to sigh deeply and sort through everything they got wrong. So I was pleased to see Konstantin Kakaes on The Lord of the Rings in Slate yesterday, because Kakaes gets it.

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I seem to spend a lot of space here apologising for, or complaining about, my lack of time, though the first half of this year seems to have been worse than usual (hopefully culminating in June). My available time seems unlikely to change much, so the reduced commentary this month is likely to stay the norm, at least for a while.

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Every summer, The Tolkien Society hosts a seminar to showcase leading Tolkien scholarship from around the globe. This seminarthe Society’s 25thtakes place at the Leeds City Hilton on Sunday 3rd July. Book now so you don’t miss out! (more…)

or, what Tolkien was doing when you weren’t paying attention.

I’ve been keeping an annotated bibliography of the Inklings in fiction, that is, their appearances as characters in stories by other writers. Many of these novels and stories I’ve read. For some of those I had not, the descriptions were sketchy and uninformed. I decided to correct this and read three of those I could easily get. I put succinct summaries in my annotations, but now I’m going to describe them in more detail here. I read these so you don’t have to, though one I’d recommend anyway. Call that one the good; the others are the bad and the ugly. Let’s start with those and end with the palate-cleanser.

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(April &) May 2016

As I explained a month ago, I managed to overwrite the work I had been doing on my April transactions, leaving me with just a few scraps. These, then, form the basis for this month’s work, along with a few other bits and pieces from April, and, of course, what I have come across during May.

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So last fall I wrote about TV host Stephen Colbert, his Tolkien trivia mastery, and the pitfalls thereof. Though I came to critique, Colbert’s show persona is clear: nobody bests him at Tolkien trivia.

Well, I’ve now seen somebody stumping Colbert, but they may have had to cheat to do it. It was actor Ryan Gosling with a question from his mom designed for the purpose. It went like this:
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