While July was a month of scouting (and a new job), August has, for
me, been very much a Tolkien month. The climax was of course going
to Loughborough for Return of the Ring 2012, but also the inevitable
preparations as well as the aftermath of the conference have set its
mark on the entire month.
This month it has suited my purposes to sort the contents under the
2: Essays and Scholarship
3: The Return of the Ring
4: Reviews and Book News
5: Other Stuff
6: Rewarding Discussions
7: In Print
8: Web Sites
= = = = News = = = =
_Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News_, Thursday, 2 August 2012, "Halton
libraries join Tolkien reading project"
Actually the Reading Agency was looking for five reading groups to
read _The Hobbit_ in celebration of its 75th anniversary, but never
mind :) This sounds great, and I hope that the five reading groups
will do some interesting blogging on Tolkien's book.
Faine Greenwood, _globalpost_, Saturday, 11 August 2012, ""Hobbit"
pub sued by movie company, holds fundraiser"
Hmm -- if I said I was surprised, I wouldn't be telling the truth,
exactly. Perhaps one should chip in, hoping to get the thing into
court to see if Saul Zaentz' company really does have the rights to
sue like this.
DB, Saturday, 11 August 2012, "slow news day"
Having missed the opportunity of announcing the contents of the next
issue of _Tolkien Studies_, all David Bratman has to add this time
is that the printed copies should be coming out soon (I'm still
waiting for mine, though).
JDR, Monday, 13 August 2012, "I Talk to a Reporter"
A seemingly well-prepared reporter has been speaking with John
Rateliff -- I am curious to see the final piece when it is released
(no hints at the topic, but I suppose it's a fair guess that Tolkien
and _The Hobbit_ are at the heart of it . . .)
Jason Major, _Universe Today_, Tuesday, 14 August 2012, ""The
Hobbit" Author Gets a Crater on Mercury"
So, if you should find yourself in the neighbourhood of Mercury, you
might decide to pay the Tolkien crater a visit . . .
Max Eddy, _International Science Times_, Tuesday, 14 August 2012,
"J.R.R. Tolkien Honored With A Crater on Mercury's North Pole"
This version of the story doesn't even mention the other eight
artists acknowledged with Mercurian craters . . .
Owen Thomas, _Business Insider_, Monday, 20 August 2012, "Facebook
Investor Peter Thiel Just Revealed What A Huge 'Lord Of The Rings'
Fan He Is"
The essence of the story is that Peter Thiel has used
Tolkien-inspired names for a number of legal entities. My main
reaction is to wonder how different our perceptions are -- I thought
something like 'well, wouldn't we all?' ;-)
_Oxford Times_, Thursday, 30 August 2012, "A feast of Hobbits at
About Oxonmoot -- I wish I could go . . .
= = = = Essays and Scholarship = = = =
NMB, Wednesday, 1 August 2012, "Tolkien's Icelandic Trolls"
A very nice piece on the possible Icelandic origin of the trolls in
_The Hobbit_. If Arndis (an Icelandic _au pair_ in the Tolkien
family) had been telling the Tolkien children about these trolls,
then Tolkien's statement in the book that his audience probably
knows that trolls turn to stone if hit by sunlight is not all coy
(as Rateliff finds), but rather a very reasonable expectation _vis �
vis_ his original audience. Also, I seem to recall this being a
feature also of other trolls of Scandinavian folktales. This story
is followed up by John Rateliff (see below for August 9th).
JM, Friday, 3 August 2012, "Tolkien's Metaphysics of the Music"
This month takes us through a discussion of Platonic and Augustinian
influences (in part 5), as well as Bo�thius and Nietzsche, to
discussions of what McIntosh sees as 'misreadings' of the
Ainulindal� by earlier commenters (I certainly agree with him that
the Music itself has no creative force), to the beginning of his own
Thomistic reading (this month ending with part 14). Jonathan
McIntosh seems determined to convince us of the pre-eminence of St.
Thomas Aquinas as a philosophical source for Tolkien's work -- I am
convinced about St. Thomas being a source, but I am not sure that I
can follow McIntosh with the pre-eminence. Still, I am learning a
_lot_ by following his blog, and I recommend it wholeheartedly.
Verlyn Flieger, LotR Plaza, Wednesday, 8 August 2012, "The Theorist
of the Fairy-Tale"
An essay by Verlyn Flieger about Tolkien as a theorist of
fairy-tales, both as expressed in his famous essay, 'On
Fairy-Stories' and as expressed in his fiction. A must-read!!
H&S, Wednesday, 8 August 2012, "New Addenda and a Reply"
New addenda and corrigenda to several of their books, including a
new page for _The Art of the Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien_ -- remember
to pay attention to Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull's 'Addenda and
Corrigenda' pages when you're using their books (this is an
extraordinarily fine service that we should be very grateful for --
also remember to advise Wayne and Christina when you find errors or
omissions from their books, so that your findings can benefit the
whole of the Tolkien community). The reply is to comments in the
_Mythprint_ review of _The Art of the Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien_.
JDR, Thursday, 9 August 2012, "An Icelandic au pair?"
John Rateliff's follow-up to Nancy Marie Brown's blog-post about
"Tolkien's Icelandic Trolls" (see above for August 1st). Rateliff
adds some interesting comments about photos which corroborate
Arnd�s' memories and Tolkien's knowledge about Icelandic troll
stories, but overlooks, in my opinion, the importance of the
knowledge of Tolkien's _audience_ (relative to his own knowledge).
JDR, Friday, 10 August 2012, "More on Arndis Thorbjarnardottir"
Following up a bit more on the story about Arnd�s and her
recollections about her stay as _au pair_ in the Tolkien household.
JF, Friday, 10 August 2012, "Esgaroth -- what's in a name?"
Some speculations about the name 'Esgaroth' -- be sure to also read
the comments! I love this kind of word-games regardless of whether
or not they are 'correct' in terms of the history of the word in
Tolkien conscious or sub-conscious mind (I strongly suspect that it
Talelmarhazad, Grey Havens Group, Thursday, 16 August 2012,
"Tolkien's Mysterious "Shipwreck of Love""
The idea that there is a something autobiographical about the love
between Faramir and �owyn is, of course, wholly speculative (and,
since the analysis here points at another love interest than Edith,
not likely to meet with the approval or help of the Tolkien Estate).
I can't quite decide whether to merely reject the idea or to see it
as at least a remote possibility.
BC, Monday, 20 August 2012, "Timing and causes of the breakdown of
Tolkien and Lewis's close friendship and alliance"
I have said it before, and will probably need to say it again, but
the reason I I like Dr. Bruce Charlton's blog so much, and recommend
it so frequently, is not that I agree with everything he says, but
because his posts usually make me _think_ even when I, as is often
the case, disagree -- this, in my view, is a very valuable thing
that helps me learn and grow. As the title says, this blog post
discusses the whys and whens of the cooling of the friendship
between C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. I think the word 'breakdown'
is probably an exaggeration both because it implies something more
sudden than was the case, and because it suggests a more complete
break than I think was the case. Of the arguments that Charlton put
forth, I think he exaggerates the issues of Tolkien's health in the
period he discusses -- at least I read the _Chronology_ for the
years in question quite differently (there's the teeth, yes, but I
see no indication of any kind of 'psychological breakdown'). I do,
however, not doubt that the other causes that Charlton mentions were
important contributants to the cooling of the friendship between the
two authors. He mentions Tolkien's reaction to _The Lion, the Witch
and the Wardrobe_ (I have to say that I rather agree with Tolkien on
that one), Tolkien's work on revising/editing _LotR_ and _The
Silmarillion_ and getting them published.
Kelly Cowling, Friday, 24 August 2012, "Trio of One: Valentinian
Soul Types in The Lord of the Rings"
I'm afraid that I am running a little too late with my transactions
to get through a long text of Jungian psychology and gnostic
symbolism, neither of which are analytical frameworks for which I
usually have much patience anyway. Still, the piece does look
interesting, so I will certainly read it when I find the time.
Erin Heffernan, _The Marquette Tribune_, Thursday, 30 August 2012,
"Frodo lives at Marquette with Tolkien course and lecture series"
On a Tolkien course at the Marquette -- where they can draw on their
archives of Tolkien's drafts and manuscripts for _The Hobbit_, _The
Lord of the Rings_ and _Mr. Bliss_.
JF, Friday, 31 August 2012, "Shadows of the past"
Out of the blissful waters of forgetfulness comes an interview with
Daniel Grotta, author of the first book-length biography in English
(generally considered to be very bad and full of factual errors).
There's quite a bit to this post, including a link to a new issue of
the _Festival Journal_ (the journal associated with the Festival in
= = = = The Return of the Ring = = = =
Demosthenes, Friday, 3 August 2012, "Return of the Ring hosting
massive Tolkien art exhibit"
About the impressive array of Tolkien-inspired artists and artwork
on exhibition at the Return of the Ring conference.
David Godsall, _Loughborough Echo_, Friday, 10 August 2012, "Lord of
the Rings fans invited to JRR Tolkien conference at Uni"
The local news telling about the conference . . .
JD, Wednesday, 15 August 2012, "Loughborough Log: Day One"
For most of us, this was day zero, the day before the day . . .
The following three posts by Jenny also deal with the Return of the
Ring in Loughborough, and they are all very readable -- you really,
really should go read them!
Day two (16 August)
Day three (17 August)
Day four and five (20 August)
JV, _Examiner_, Thursday, 16 August 2012, "Return of the Ring
conference opens with Tolkien art exhibit"
A piece on the impressive art exhibition
AW, Thursday, 16 August 2012, "Loughborough"
More a comment on the town than on the conference.
John DiBartolo, _Middle-earth News_, Sunday, 19 August 2012, "Peter
Jackson, Alan Lee, John Howe Greetings to the Tolkien Society From
The video that was sent to the Return of the Ring.
JD, Monday, 20 August 2012, "Loughborough Pictures"
Pictures from the conference -- this deserves to be mentioned
separately (though unfortunately merely photographs, not Art by
BBC, Monday, 20 August 2012, "In pictures: Return of the Ring
Eight pictures from the Return of the Ring.
AW, Monday, 20 August 2012, "Loughborough"
This would be the very brief not of 'I'm back' :)
John DiBartolo, _Middle-earth News_, Friday, 24 August 2012, "Return
of the Ring 2012 Wrap-up Interview"
A nice video interview with deputy chair, Shaun Gunner.
TF, Saturday, 25 August 2012, "The Return of the Ring"
My own report from the Return of the Ring.
Emil Johansson, Tuesday, 28 August 2012, "Return of the Ring 2012"
Emil Johansson's pictures from the conference. Take me back, they do
. . .
= = = = Reviews and Book News = = = =
Holly Ordway, _Mythlore_, Wednesday, 1 August 2012, "Mythopoeic
I really think that the final paragraph of Ordway's excellent review
of the book by Salwa Khoddam says it all:
Probably the best way to look at _Mythopoeic Narnia_ is
as the rough draft of a future book. The strengths of the
book are genuine, but remain largely conceptual; the
problems of the book are numerous and, in total, serious.
The problems could be addressed in an overhaul of the
book, but are more than sufficient to make it impossible
to recommend the book as currently published.
Sara Brown, _Mythlore_, Saturday, 3 August 2012, "Tolkien and
Sara Brown wrote the _Mythlore_ review of Carl Phelpstead's book on
_Tolkien and Wales_, and it is reprinted here. Brown is overall
positive despite pointing out a couple of weaknesses (I cannot agree
with her comments regarding linguistic terms -- I certainly have no
linguistic training, but I found all such terms to be sufficiently
explained in the text, including the ones she specifically
David Oberhelman, Mythopoeic Society, Sunday, 5 August 2012,
"Mythopoeic Awards: 2012 Winners Announced"
Announcing the 2012 winners of the Mythopoeic Awards. Of particular
interest here is the winner of the award in Inklings Studies,
_Tolkien and Wales_ by Carl Phelpstead (see the _Mythlore_ review
elsewhere, as well as my review on Parma-kenta in August 2011).
Congratulations to Carl and the other winners!
JDR, Saturday, 11 August 2012, "And the Winner Is . . ."
Following up on the announcement of Carl Phelpstead winning the
Mythopoeic Award in Inklings Studies . . .
Asbury University, Monday, 13 August 2012, "Asbury prof finishes
book on 'The Hobbit' ahead of movie based on Tolkien classic"
More on the upcoming _The Christian World of The Hobbit_ by Devin
Brown and about the author (see also the interview with the Tolkien
Library reported in the _Transactions_ for May).
Various, the Mythopoeic Society, Monday, 20 August 2012, "Acceptance
Remarks -- 2012"
The acceptance remarks from the winners of the 2012 Mythopoeic
PC, Tuesday, 21 August 2012, "Beyond Bree Calendar 2013: Evil in
About the 2013 _Beyond Bree_ calendar.
PC, Sunday, 26 August 2012, "The fifth Beyond Bree Award was given
to Mark T. Hooker"
More information about the Beyond Bree Awards, about Mark T. Hooker
(and his work on Tolkien) and on _Beyond Bree_.
Nancy-Lou Patterson, _Mythlore_, Wednesday, 29 August 2012, "How
Thin is the Crust"
An old, 1979, very enthusiastic review of _The Dark Tower and Other
Stories_ by C.S. Lewis and edited by Walter Hooper.
Janet Brennan Croft, _Mythlore_, Friday, 31 August 2012, "Various
Reviews of _North Wind_ #29 (on George MacDonald), _VII_ #28 (on the
Inklings) and _Tolkien Studies_ #8. A sober recounting of the
contents of the various articles.
= = = = Other Stuff = = = =
JD, Wednesday, 1 August 2012, "Grand Old English Wash Brush or:
Painting of Maglor"
I'll readily admit that some of the technical stuff about the
differences between various types of brushes, colours etc. is lost
on me, but the thoughts that go into the picture are well worth
reading, and the finished picture is amazing.
TF, Friday, 3 August 2012, "Glorfindel(s) I miss you!"
A reaction to Shaun Gunner's article in _Amon Hen_ no. 236 with the
same title. Shaun raises the question of where the great
story-internal discussions have gone, and I follow up with some of
my views on these discussions. In essence I think we ought to find
some new topics for our great discussions, as Elven wings and Balrog
Ears are difficult to take seriously now, whereas there are some
very interesting story-internal discussions that could still be
taken up (even if we cannot ultimately decide the 'truth' we may all
learn something valuable in the process).
BC, Sunday, 5 August 2012, "The greatest mystery of C.S Lewis's life
-- is it so mysterious?"
Speculations on the nature and causes of C.S. Lewis' otherwise
mysterious attachment to Mrs Janie Moore ("Minto"). Bruce G.
Charlton speculates that Lewis was servicing Mrs Moore as penance
for a sexual relationship (before his becoming a Christian), and
that this had a profound negative effect on C.S. Lewis' brother,
Warnie. As I don't know much about Lewis at all, I can't really
comment on these speculations.
Ivona Elenton, Grey Havens Group, Sunday, 5 August 2012, "The
Kingdoms of Middle Earth in Sweden"
An account of at least four of the Tolkien Societies in Sweden.
Kelly Cowling, Grey Havens Group, Saturday, 11 August 2012, "On
Feelings and Magic: Eliot, Williams and Tolkien"
From Eliot to Williams, to Kelly Cowling herself and with references
to Tolkien. I wonder, however, if Cowling has spoken with trained
scientists about this -- if so, I will have to merely say that they
have been trained in another scientific tradition than I. this post
succeeds reasonably, I think, when it applies itself to analyse
literature, but not so well when it applies itself to an analysis of
H&S, Monday, 13 August 2012, "Homeward Bound and Down to Earth"
Christina Scull relates the last of the tale of Christina Scull and
Wayne Hammond's trip to England, including their return to
Williamstown, and the recent book additions (some of which have
JDR, Thursday, 16 August 2012, ""Modern America has virtually no use
for the modern British children's book" (What Hath Harry Wrought?)"
A bit of commentary on the comment (quoted in the title) by Humphrey
Carpenter in 1985 -- a mere decade before _His Dark Materials_ and
the _Harry Potter_ series . . .
DB, Saturday, 18 August 2012, "another attempt at explaining the
David Bratman has been caught up in a discussion and made some
comments about Peter Jackson -- I rather like David Bratman's way of
saying things, and though I think that the Jackson trilogy are great
as simple action-adventure films, I also do agree with Bratman on
their status with respect to Tolkien's story.
BC, Tuesday, 21 August 2012, "Is there anything *like* Tolkien?"
No, there is not anything quite _like_ Tolkien's _The Lord of the
Rings_, is Charlton's conclusion, and I agree. It is, however,
possible to list a number of works that share some similarities with
Tolkien's grand work.
Don Burns, _Sacramento Press_, Thursday, 23 August 2012, "J.R.R.
Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series explored at Central Library
Don't you just love when the title line says it all? All I have to
add is that it is the Sacramento Public Library -- if you're in the
area, perhaps you should check out the details (though the timing
will probably make it difficult for most people with a regular
JV, Friday, 24 August 2012, "Rivendell depicted in enormous LEGO
Lego is amazing, and it's no surprise that they're making heaps of
money! Now, how do I lobby for them to do a Tolkien-themed corner in
Legoland (the original, of course -- in Billund, Denmark) ;-)
APOD, _NASA_, Friday, 24 August 2012, "Moon Meets Morning Star"
Ithil meets E�rendil . . . beautiful!
JD, Friday, 24 August 2012, "Messy E�rendil sketch"
Another thing of, at least potential, beauty. So far, as Jenny
Dolfen says, a 'messy sketch', but I agree that it would be very
nice to have some more artwork featuring E�rendil, and I'll look
forward to see what she may make of him in finished artwork.
JDR, Monday, 27 August 2012, "The New Arrival: Stella Mills' HROLF
On the saga of Hrolf Kraki and its relations to Tolkien's work.
Imogen Reed, _Tolkien Library_, Wednesday, 29 August 2012, "Fifteen
Places Tolkien Fans should Visit before they Die"
I agree with most of what Imogen Reed lists here, though I have no
use for New Zealand in a Tolkien context (I'd like to visit New
Zealand, but that has nothing to do with my interest in Tolkien's
work, to which the country has no connection at all). Since the
countryside of the Somme has been restored over the past century, I
wonder if anyone knows where one should go to get a feeling of the
place that Tolkien experienced? Where does one go to get an
impression of what life at the Somme front in 1917 was really like?
JDR, Friday, 31 August 2012, "hrolf kraki, con't"
With some more about the edition of the Saga of Hrolf Kraki that
Rateliff has got hold of: translated by Tolkien's student, Stella
Mills, and this edition with a foreword by Priscilla Tolkien about
the personal friendship between Stella Mills and the Tolkiens, but
also the intriguing information that John Rateliff is 'just starting
to sketch out an article on JRRT and his lifelong support for
women's higher education.' I'll look forward to that one!
PC, Friday, 31 August 2012, "Tolkien Library Guest Post Guidelines"
Guidelines for those who would want to post a contribution to the
Tolkien Library website.
= = = = Rewarding Discussions = = = =
"Glorfindel(s), I miss you!"
Based on Shaun Gunner's article in _Amon Hen_ 236, we had a good
discussion of why the great story-internal debates have petered out
without being replaced by new debates.
"Northhalde Tr� and the Evil North"
Though much of the good stuff was posted in July, I didn't really
notice this thread until August. The topic is medieval inspirations
for locating the fortress of evil (Utumno and Angband in Tolkien's
works) in the north.
"The nature of the three elven rings"
A discussion of the Three Rings that sort of drifts into other
aspects, such as the nature of the invisibility effect of the other
Rings of Power and such.
= = = = In Print = = = =
_Beyond Bree_ August 2012
This issue opens with a long review of Christopher MacLachlan's
_Tolkien and Wagner: The Ring and Der Ring_ by Jim Allan, who
doesn't like the book very much, finding that while it 'is not
without value in places' it generally displays a large confirmation
bias to the point of making its author appear gullible. _Beyond
Bree_ continues with a review of a book owned by the Tolkien
children, _The Starry Heavens_ from 1933, news about _The Hobbit_
films and merchandise, and a review of a trailer for the _Hobbit_
film. Mark Hooker (winner of the fifth Beyond Bree Award -- see
above) backs up a claim of additional knowledge to add to a
_Mythlore_ article on the origins of the word 'Hobbit' in the first
of a series (this time on the artillery piece 'a hobit'), and Dale
Nelson continues his series on the 'Days of the Craze' with an
article on 'Henry Resnik on Tolkien and Tolkien Fandom'. The
newsletter is rounded off by the usual letters, references, notices
and finally a couple of original poems by Geoff Davies (_Last of the
Ring Bearers_) and Matthew Amish (_Distant Shores are Calling_).
_Mythprint_ vol.49 no.6/7, August 2012, whole no. 361
This issue of _Mythprint_ is filled with four reports from this
year's Mythcon, which again seems to have been an enjoyable affair.
In addition to the Mythcon reports, there is a review of the
comic-book biography of Tolkien by Marcel Aubron-B�lles, who finds
that the book, unsurprisingly, doesn't offer anything to a serious
Tolkienist, but also that it 'might be a good and easy read' for
young people with an awakening interest in the man behind the tale.
= = = = Web Sites = = = =
Artwork, Illustrations and Sketches by Jenny Dolfen
Jenny Dolfen's (remember that she's German -- the "J" is pronounced
roughly as the consonant sound of English "Y") Tolkien-inspired art
is wonderful! I shan't be linking to every sketch (though probably
to every finished work) that she posts, but go check out her work
Blog by Tolkienist Marcel R. Aubron-B�lles -- hopefully he will soon
have something to post there rather than just the announcement that
something is coming . . . (get at it Marcel!)
J.R.R. Tolkien's 'The Lord of the Rings' and the Scottish Border
A web-site by Christine Ahmed looking into connections between
Tolkien's book and the Scottish Border. Interesting material enough
for long study here.
Jos� Manuel Ferr�ndez Bru
The website of Tolkien scholar Jos� Manuel Ferr�ndez Bru, who has
studied particularly the influence of Tolkien's guardian, Fr.
Francis Morgan. So far the website is in Spanish only, but I'm
hoping that it will appear in English soon (it promises so, but how
soon is 'soon'?)
= = = = Sources = = = =
John D. Rateliff (JDR) -- "Sacnoth's Scriptorium"
Jason Fisher (JF) -- "Lingw� -- Musings of a Fish"
Michael Drout (MD) -- "Wormtalk and Slugspeak"
Wayne G. Hammond & Christina Scull (H&S) -- "Too Many Books and
Pieter Collier (PC) -- "The Tolkien Library"
Douglas A. Anderson (DAA) et Al. -- "Wormwoodiana"
Corey Olsen (CO), "The Tolkien Professor"
David Bratman (DB), "Kalimac"
and the old home:
Larry Swain (LS), "The Ruminate"
Andrew Wells (AW), "Musings of an Aging Fan"
Various, 'The Northeast Tolkien Society' (NETS), "Heren Istarion"
Bruce Charlton (BC), "Tolkien's The Notion Club Papers"
Marcel R. Aubron-B�lles (MB), "The Tolkienist"
Andrew Higgins (AH), "Wotan's Musings"
Various, The Mythopoeic Society
Henry Gee (HG) 'cromercrox', "The End of the Pier Show"
Jonathan S. McIntosh (JM), "The Flame Imperishable"
Morgan Thomsen (MT), "Mythoi"
Steuard Jensen (SJ), "Strings, Rings, and Other Things"
John Howe (JH)
Jenny Dolfen (JD)
Nancy Marie Brown (NMB), "God of Wednesday"
Josh Vogt (JV), "Tolkien Examiner"
David Simmons (DS), "Aiya Il�vatar"
Michael Martinez (MM), "Tolkien Studies Blog"
Michael Martinez (MM), "Middle-earth"
Troels Forchhammer (TF), "Parmar-kenta"
_Mythprint_ -- 'The Monthly Bulletin of the Mythopoeic Society'
_Amon Hen_ -- the Bulletin of the Tolkien Society
_Beyond Bree_ -- the newsletter of the Tolkien Special Interest
Group of the Americal Mensa
- and others
Valid e-mail is <troelsfo(a)gmail.com
Please put [AFT], [RABT] or 'Tolkien' in subject.
Elen s�la l�menn' omentielvo
- /The Fellowship of the Ring/ (J.R.R. Tolkien)