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In the 18 days leading up to the publication of A Secret Vice: Tolkien on Invented Languages yesterday, co-editors Dimitra Fimi and Andrew Higgins tweeted sneak previews from the book. Here are just some of the reason why you should read the new critical edition of one of Tolkien’s most important essays.

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March 2016

Oh, what a month! I had a good, long Easter holiday, getting rested up and re-energized, and on Tolkien Reading Day there was less than a handful of Tolkien-related stories that I hadn’t already dealt with, so I thought I was in good time. Then something happened, and what a great week that was. The amount of great stuff that came out over the last week of March was impressive! So if you haven’t caught up yet (and I won’t blame you, if you haven’t), you certainly have something to look forward to.

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February 2016

February was a month where I tried something new for the very first time in my life! Our oldest moved out, leaving us to reorganise the house, which has included setting up a nice office space, where I have been able to gather my Tolkien matters right next to my desk. Being quite satisfied with the set-up, I share a few pictures of my new ‘Troels den’ below.

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Some years ago I was presented with the opportunity to participate in a special project in which someone wanted me to translate a number of texts into Elvish, a task for which I am singularly unqualified.  Visions of con artists streamed through my head as I thought what it would take to do the work required.  I had known people in my youth whose philosophy was, “How much does it pay?”  These were the kinds of people who, if you asked them, “Does your software do [X]?” they would reply with, “It CAN.”

Instead I passed on the opportunity and submitted to my erstwhile benefactors and business partners a list of four names of people I felt were singularly qualified to do the deed.  I cautioned them I did not get on very well with candidate number four but he had the chops and belonged on the list more than I did. (more…)

You’ve all seen the articles like the one in the Guardian proclaiming “Unseen JRR Tolkien poems found in school magazine.”

As a news item, this story is a curious thing.

What’s just now been discovered is the school’s copy of the magazine with the poems in it. As the article makes clear, when Wayne G. Hammond inquired about the magazine, having found a reference elsewhere to Tolkien poetry being in it, the school could not find a copy of that issue and passed Wayne on to the archives of the Sisters of Mercy, the controlling order.

They had one, so that’s when the poems were found, some three years ago, and one of them has since been reprinted. But perhaps the school personnel did not know any of that, and now they’ve found it too. Good for them, but the only actual news here is, “So that’s where our copy was hiding!”

Daniel Helen has the whole story, with links to Wayne’s blog posts with more details.

January 2016

Another busy month …
I have said often enough that the two primary criteria for something to make it to these transactions is 1) that I actually see it, and 2) that I find it interesting or relevant or otherwise worthy enough to spend time on sharing it with you.
I am sure that many things that would meet the second criterion never makes the first, but the reverse is also true: I see a lot of stuff that fails to meet the second criterion – this month including, among other things, spurious and foolish claims about that chimney and folly in Birmingham, the possible auditioning of an acclaimed musician (however much I like his music) in connection with the Jackson films (the Beatles’ bid for a The Lord of the Rings film is more interesting in a Tolkienian context), and what appears to be violations of the copyrights of the Tolkien Estate. You will find no trace of any of these below.

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