Tolkien Transactions XLII

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Troels Forchhammer

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Nov 1, 2013, 5:39:53 PM11/1/13
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October 2013

A couple of days ago I vividly remembered composing the January
transactions and being happy because it helped me remember writing
the year right ... it felt like it was just a month or two ago, and
yet here we are, it's November: we've had a bit of an autumn storm
this week and there is now just two months to the new year.

How the time flies! It flies like fools ... ;-)

All the usual disclaimers apply about newness, completeness and
relevance -- all of this is chosen from things that I have come
across and chosen to suit my preferences ...

These transactions are posted to the usenet newsgroups
rec.arts.books.tolkien, alt.fan.tolkien, and alt.books.inklings, and
the usenet version can be accessed at
<http://www.webuse.net/frameset.php?su=newsgroup.php&ng=rec.arts.books.tolkien>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/ojjfamn>
They are also posted on my blog, Parma-kenta (Enquiry into the
books): <http://parmarkenta.blogspot.com>
and on LotR Fanatics Plaza in the books forum:
<http://www.lotrplaza.com/forumdisplay.php?14-The-Books>

This month it has suited my purposes to sort the contents under the
following headlines:
1: News
2: Essays and Scholarship
3: Commentary
4: Reviews and Book News
5: Interviews
6: Tolkienian Artwork
7: Other Stuff
8: Web Sites
9: The Blog Roll
10: Sources


= = = = News = = = =

xkcd, Wednesday, 2 October 2013, "Shadowfacts"
<http://xkcd.com/1272/>
Just for fun ... ;) (don't miss the Jackson reference in the
mouse-over)

Trish, Thursday, 24 October 2013, "Mythmoot II Agenda Now Available
in PDF Format"
<http://www.mythgard.org/2013/10/mythmoot-ii-agenda-now-available-in-pdf-format/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/py5ndlc>
If you want to know what you'll miss ... or perhaps what you will be
looking forward to ...

John Garth, Thursday, 24 October 2013
<http://johngarth.co.uk/>
John Garth has been interviewed for a BBC TV documentary at Thiepval
Wood about Tolkien in the Great War. The documentary is scheduled to
be aired in 2014.

AS, Sunday, 27 October 2013, "Popular Culture Association: Tolkien
Studies -- deadline Nov. 1st"
<http://annasmol.net/2013/10/27/popular-culture-association-tolkien-studies-deadline-nov-1st/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/pwjyyrr>
It will be too late to submit an abstract when this is posted, but
this might also help garner a bit of interest in the conference
itself ...

PC, Monday, 28 October 2013, "Do you have information on the BBC
documentary Tolkien in Oxford?"
<http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/press/1116-who-assisted-for-bbc-tolkien-in-oxford.php>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/op5syc5>
"Researchers at Oxford University are interested in hearing from any
member of staff who may have worked on a BBC production from March
1968 entitled "Tolkien in Oxford", presented by John Izzard." For
details see the post at the Tolkien Library -- I just hope they
succeed as I think it would be interesting to get to know the
stories of these people.

Matt Wilson, Tuesday, 29 October 2013, "New York transit official
decries fake, 'Lord of the Rings'-inspired signs in subway"
<http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/15509.aspx>
Can he really not see the fun? Does he really mean that a pop-art
project like this is not worth a single person missing a train? On
the other hand it is of course unforgivable that they have
misspelled Dol Baran (they spelt it "Dol Barad"!) ;-) Nah, it's a
good joke and well worth missing a train for ... in my opinion.


= = = = Essays and Scholarship = = = =

Medievalist.net
<http://www.medievalists.net/category/articles/>
As I did for September, I will cut down a bit on my coverage of the
scholarship from Medievalist.net and merely list headlines (in many
cases I will not have time to read much beyond the headline in any
case).
"Why Cats were hated in Medieval Europe" (1 Oct) -- Tevildo,
Berúthiel anyone?
<http://www.medievalists.net/2013/10/02/why-cats-were-hated-in-medieval-europe/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/obgz6hs>
"Trial by Battle" (4 Oct) -- can anyone recall an instance of this
practice in Tolkien's writings?
<http://www.medievalists.net/2013/10/04/trial-by-battle-2/>
"The meaning, practice and context of private prayer in late
Anglo-Saxon England" (5 Oct) -- a Ph.D. dissertation with a focus on
"three eleventh-century monastic codices" including _Ælfwine’s
Prayerbook_ ...
<http://www.medievalists.net/2013/10/05/the-meaning-practice-and-context-of-private-prayer-in-late-anglo-saxon-england/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/nc9qxhy>
"Looming Danger and Dangerous Looms: Violence and Weaving in Exeter
Book Riddle 56" (10 Oct) -- Riddles and the Exeter book, how could I
not be intrigued? An article from _Leeds Studies in English_ from
2011.
<http://www.medievalists.net/2013/10/10/looming-danger-and-dangerous-looms-violence-and-weaving-in-exeter-book-riddle-56/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/q38qurc>
"Top Ten Monsters of the Middle Ages" (13 Oct) -- Naturally with
dragons at the top. Nothing about the critics, though.
<http://www.medievalists.net/2013/10/13/top-ten-monsters-of-the-middle-ages/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/pvztu7o>
"The millennium King Arthur: the commodification of the Arthurian
legend in the 20th century" (15 Oct) -- A Master's thesis about the
appearance of King Arthur in twentieth century (mostly American)
pop-culture. From 2008, but it probably wouldn't consider Tolkien's
_The Fall of Arthur_ even if it had been possible.
<http://www.medievalists.net/2013/10/15/the-millennium-king-arthur-the-commodification-of-the-arthurian-legend-in-the-20th-century/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/p8f4lyq>
"Alfonso the Slobberer and Ivar the Boneless: Worst Nicknames for
Medieval Rulers" (22 Oct) -- No Danish kings in the list, but a good
assortment of undesirable nicknames. No Renewer or Elfstone on this
list, though.
<http://www.medievalists.net/2013/10/22/alfonso-the-slobberer-and-ivar-the-boneless-worst-nicknames-for-medieval-rulers/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/l2sfvle>

Kristine Larsen, "The Astronomy of Middle-earth: Astronomical Motifs
and Motivations in the Work of J.R.R. Tolkien"
<http://www.physics.ccsu.edu/larsen/tolkien.html>
A recent picture showing an artist's impression of the Solar System
with names in Quenya for the planets has attracted some attention.
Unfortunately the research behind the naming is not as sound as that
of the foremost Tolkienian astronomer, Dr. Kristine Larsen, and so I
will point people to her web-site rather than the flawed picture. A
number of her papers are available on-line and form a true treasure
hoard of Tolkien scholarship.

Coventry University, Thursday, 3 October 2013, "Vikings: More social
than savage?"
<http://www.medievalists.net/2013/10/03/vikings-more-social-than-savage/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/nusndob>
OK, so this is the exception that proves the rule ;-) I am
enchanted by this study not just because it studies the Icelandic
Sagas or because it refers in passim to Tolkien, but also because it
is another example of how statistical studies are entering the realm
of literary studies (and of course it was first published in a
physics journal which just adds to the 'coolness' ;-) ). We have the
lexicometry that studies the frequencies with which certain words
occur in a text, and which has been used to settle certain
long-standing author disputes (Michael Drout's 'Lexiomics' is
essentially a lexicometry project), and of course various scientific
methods have long been used to place ancient manuscripts in time and
place, but the statistical study of networks is a quite recent
invention (or at least it has grown big with the growth of on-line
social networking sites) that is now creeping into literary studies
where it aims to study the social networks described in literature.
In this case it is the networks from Icelandic Sagas that are being
studied and found on some parameters to be more alike to real social
networks than to the networks usually described in medieval heroic
fiction.

John Garth, _The Telegraph_, Friday, 4 October 2013, "Battle of the
Somme: the 'animal horror' that inspired JRR Tolkien"
<http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/world-war-one/inside-first-world-war/part-two/10356085/jrr-tolkien-war.html>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/pwasllr>
John Garth's articles about Tolkien's WWI experiences are always
worth reading -- well researched and engagingly written this is an
excellent introduction to the importance of the Great War.

Nick, Mythgard Institute, Monday, 21 October 2013, "Lord of the
Rings III"
<http://www.mythgard.org/2013/10/lord-of-the-rings-iii/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/qgapjjh>
Mythgard Institute is offering a free course on _The Return of the
Ring_ that can both be followed in live sessions and as podcasts
(e.g. for those in timezones where the timing is unfortunate). It
has already started, but you can still catch up on the podcasts. I
just hope that I can get into some of the live sessions ...

AS, Monday, 21 October 2013, "Year's Work in Medievalism becomes
open access"
<http://annasmol.net/2013/10/21/years-work-in-medievalism-becomes-open-access/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/px5lyfy>
As the title says ... _Year's Work in Medievalism_ is a
peer-reviewed scholarly journal on ... surprise! ... medievalist
subjects ;-)


= = = = Commentary = = = =

Lynn Forest-Hill, Wednesday, 2 October 2013, "Last Meeting in
September"
<http://southfarthingmathom2012.wordpress.com/2013/10/02/last-meeting-in-september/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/pesom7w>
Reporting the reading group's discussions nn the last chapters of
John Garth's _Tolkien and the Great War_. I've said this before, but
it bears repeating: if you have read Garth's book, you will
certainly find the discussions of the Southfarthing Smial's reading
group well worth reading.

Gibbelins, Wednesday, 2 October 2013, "Why Tolkien works for readers
of all faiths"
<http://www.theonering.net/torwp/2013/10/02/79943-why-tolkien-works-for-readers-of-all-faiths/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/osb75hs>
I rather like the point Gibbelins makes here when (s)he emphasizes
how we need to distinguish between the less specific underlying
spirituality of (particularly) _The Lord of the Rings_ and the more
specific Catholicism that is actually very rare. Estel, in this
view, is a trust, and belief, in some spiritual reality that is
greater than and above us, but it is not necessarily in the God of
the Roman Catholic Church. On the other hand, I think it is
important also to realize that there are some elements that are
specifically Roman Catholic -- it is just that they are fewer and
further between than it is at times claimed.

Fr. Dwight Longenecker, Tuesday, 8 October 2013, "My Conversation
With Tolkien's Daughter"
<http://www.patheos.com/blogs/standingonmyhead/2013/10/my-conversation-with-tolkiens-daughter.html>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/omccpxp>
Perhaps as a bit of counter-weight to the article by Gibbelins
above. While Gibbelins is probably making the error of ignoring the
Catholic elements of _The Lord of the Rings_ too much, I think that
Fr. Longenecker makes the opposite error of seeing Catholicism
everywhere, ignoring the non-Catholic elements and seeing anything
that is not actually un-Catholic as Catholic. I think a more useful
path for understanding the spiritual element of Tolkien's writings
would lie in a synthesis / compromise between these two views.

HR, Tuesday, 8 October 2013, "The Results Are In"
<http://teachingtolkien.com/2013/10/08/the-results-are-in/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/na3vmjc>
Holly Rodgers has been adminstering reading assessments to her
students, including the dwarves of her Teaching Tolkien class, and
the latter have done quite well, a fact that Rodgers attributes in
part to their reading of challenging, but good, literature. The
Tolkienist in me is cheering loudly, completely drowning out the
scientist in the back of my mind mumbling about sample sizes and
controls ;-)

BC, Thursday, 10 October 2013, ""I name you Elf-Friend - the
blessing of Frodo by Gildor Inglorion"
<notionclubpapers.blogspot.dk/2013/10/i-name-you-elf-friend-blessing-of-frodo.html>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/ozfvbbm>
Bruce Charlton fastens on the two facts that the idea of the
'Elf-friend' is extremely important in Tolkien's writings and that
Gildor Inglorion in _LotR_ I,3 is the first to call Frodo an
Elf-friend. I am not sure about the causality here (i.e. whether
Gildor is the active agent blessing Frodo, or if he detects and
points out a pre-existing condition -- both seem to me equally
likely), but the moment is nonetheless important for the reader e.g.
in understanding Goldberry's reaction to Frodo. A re-reading of some
of Flieger's writings on the issue of the Elf-friend may be called
for ;-)

Lynn Forest-Hill, Monday, 14 October 2013, "First Meeting in
October"
<southfarthingmathom2012.wordpress.com/2013/10/14/first-meeting-in-october/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/q9bgu44>
The Southampton Tolkien Reading Group of the Southfarthing Smial
(are those actually identical? I suddenly realize that I do not know
...) finished John Garth's _Tolkien and the Great War_ in September
(if you start out on that book, I'd recommend to include the
southerners' discussions in your readings) and have turned to
Tolkien's own _The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún_. As usual the
discussion is much too far-ranging to summarize, but very much worth
reading.
See also the continuation, in which discussions move on to the first
part of the poem, the 'Upphaf':
Lynn Forest-Hill, Saturday, 26 October 2013, "Last Meeting in October"
<http://southfarthingmathom2012.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/last-meeting-in-october/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/ojaeae9>

BC, Friday, 18 October 2013, "Was JRR Tolkien a pessimist? No, not
really"
<http://notionclubpapers.blogspot.dk/2013/10/was-jrr-tolkien-pessimist-no-not-really.html>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/pkfm4gu>
Charlton points out that Tolkien obviously was optimistic about the
prospect of the 'next world', but I disagree with him on two counts.
First I think that people such as Tom Shippey and Verlyn Flieger
have already pointed this out, but they do not overemphasize it,
which is what I believe Charlton does in his analysis of the ending
of the Silmarillion (which is my other point of disagreement). It is
very important that we keep Tolkien's Catholic faith in mind, but
also that we do not assign it too much importance. Tolkien was a
rather complex author, and while his faith was very important to
him, so were many other things that also inform his work. I would
say that Tolkien's faith is more often the source for giving other
elements a twist rather than being the original source of the
element itself.

BC, Tuesday, 22 October 2013, "The wind siezes them and drives them
away... Failing to get to Faery: Tolkien's strangely lame recurrent
plot idea"
<http://notionclubpapers.blogspot.dk/2013/10/the-wind-siezes-them-and-drives-them.html>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/ndhdmwc>
First, Bruce Charlton seems to forget that the adverse weather
(mists, winds, etc.) was always a part of the protection of Faery /
Blessed Realm / Valinor / Undying Lands in Tolkien's mythology --
what is special about the cases that he lists is that these sailors
were allowed even a glimpse of the Lonely Isle, Tol Eressëa, before
being blown back. This basic idea also seems to me both very
believable and very powerful for any sea-faring people as the
peoples on the north-western shores of Europe. The suggestion of
Tolkien knowing "vivid visionary dreams" the "Lands of the Gods and
Elves" is one that I would reject on the basis of the present
evidence (i.e. there is no evidence and the burden of proof is
entirely on anyone making such an unusual claim).

SH, Wednesday, 23 October 2013, "Chronological List of works by
Charles Williams"
<http://theoddestinkling.mymiddleearth.com/2013/10/23/chronological-list/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/nw8co4t>
"What is the best way to get to know a writer?" asks Sørina Higgins
rhetorically, answering her own question with the advice to "Read
through his or her works in the order in which they were written".
She then proceeds to create a chronological list of the works of
Williams by the order of writing, which made me wonder if there is
any similar (and readily available) list for Tolkien except by
extracting the information from Christina Scull and Wayne Hammond's
ineluctable _J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide: Chronology_. Åke
Bertenstam has collected a chronological bibliography in order of
publication:
<http://www.forodrim.org/bibliography/tbchron.html>
and the Forodrim's Mellonath Daeron has also a list of the contents
of _The History of Middle-earth_ ordered (roughly) by time of
writing:
<http://www.forodrim.org/daeron/md_hmch.html>
but that obviously doesn't include anything besides the thirteen
volumes of the _History_ (and _Unfinished Tales_). Creating the list
and then reading it all ... now there's a project to embark upon ...
:-)

Beachcombing, Thursday, 24 October 2013, "Tolkien, a Poppy and the
Death of Traditional Fairies"
<http://www.strangehistory.net/2013/10/24/tolkien-a-poppy-and-the-death-of-traditional-fairies/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/nluydby>
A reaction to John Garth's article "Tolkien and the boy who didn’t
believe in fairies" (see last month). Sometimes it is good to be
reminded that Tolkien's dislike of the diminutive Victorian flower
fairies is so well known that it is surprising to many that this is
where he started.

SH, Sunday, 27 October 2013, "Abstract: "King Arthur Was an Elf!""
<http://theoddestinkling.mymiddleearth.com/2013/10/27/abstract-king-arthur-was-an-elf/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/pytg8ky>
An intriguing idea, but I think Sørina Higgins means it more as a
slightly provocative appetizer for a more traditional comparitive
study of the Arthurian writings of the Inklings -- a very good
idea!

BC, Monday, 28 October 2013, "Lord of the Rings: "Deeply sad, almost
without hope..." True - but only in a literary sense"
<http://notionclubpapers.blogspot.dk/2013/10/lord-of-rings-deeply-sad-almost-without.html>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/kpm264l>
A curious post where I find myself more or less agreeing with nearly
all of the points that Charlton bases his argument upon and yet find
myself unable to agree with the overall conclusion. A part of the
problem may (I am not sure) be that Bruce Charlton seems to me to
base his argument partly on his own presumption of what Tolkien's
religious feelings should be and then he interprets the texts to
suit that presumption. This feels to me too much as affirming the
consequent -- or 'begging the question'.

Ryan Jacobs, _The Atlantic_, Tuesday, 29 October 2013, "Why So Many
Icelanders Still Believe in Invisible Elves"
<http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/10/why-so-many-icelanders-still-believe-in-invisible-elves/280783/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/o75kf2r>
If we accept at face value the assertations in this, apparently
quite well-researched, article, the Icelandic nation seems even more
perfectly poised between believing and not believing in the Primary
World reality of Elves than Tolkien's early versions of his essay
'On Fairy-stories', in which he also points out that
"At the heart of many man-made stories of the elves lies, open or
concealed, pure or alloyed, the desire for a living, realised
sub-creative art, which (however much it may outwardly resemble it)
is inwardly wholly different from the greed for self-centred power
which is the mark of the mere Magician."
See also NMB, Wednesday, 30 October 2013, "Icelandic Witchcraft"
<http://nancymariebrown.blogspot.dk/2013/10/icelandic-witchcraft.html>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/or4gxch>
Which deals with another, and more human, aspect of what a properly
enlightened scientist probably ought to call Icelandic superstition
...

BC, Wednesday, 30 October 2013, "Numenor as a nation of Elf-Friends"
<http://notionclubpapers.blogspot.dk/2013/10/numenor-as-nation-of-elf-friends.html>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/la2vdk3>
I am uncomfortable with Bruce Charlton's ideas about Elf-friends,
but I cannot put my finger on it exactly. But whether one subscribes
to that idea or not, the thoughts about Númenor and the Númenóreans
as a middle ground between Faërie and Middle-earth and between Elves
and Men are interesting. As so often before -- including in posts
this month -- I find that agreeing or disagreeing with Charlton is
not what it is about: for me it is about being challenged in my
reading in a good way -- a way that makes me think and re-think my
position, which inevitably leaves me wiser even if I end up in the
same place where I started.


= = = = Reviews and Book News = = = =

Alex Mueller, Thursday, 3 October 2013, "Tolkien: The Fall of
Arthur"
<http://medievallyspeaking.blogspot.ca/2013/10/tolkien-fall-of-arthur.html>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/oke6awq>
A review of _The Fall of Arthur_ from a medievalist. Mueller does
not just have praise for the book, and whether one agrees or
disagrees, his criticisms are worth pondering, not just because they
are well argued, but he makes it easier by delivering them with a
great deal of respect for the poem and the book.

PC, Saturday, 5 October 2013, "Tolkien: the Forest and the City"
<http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/press/1108-tolkien-the-forest-and-the-city.php>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/odzjrvk>
Announcing a new collection, presumably the proceedings of the
homonymous conference last year, _Tolkien: The Forest and the City_,
to be published on 30 November. With contributions from a wide range
of Tolkien scholars including the four keynote speakers, Michael
Drout, Tom Shippey, Verlyn Flieger and Alison Milbanks this
collection does sound promising -- anyone in need of a review? ;-)

Sørina Higgins, Saturday, 12 October 2013, "Call For Papers: The
Inklings and King Arthur"
<http://theoddestinkling.mymiddleearth.com/2013/10/12/inklings-and-arthur/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/kttnh86>
Sørina Higgins has put out a call for papers for a book on the
Inklings and King Arthur that will be edited by herself and will
probably appear some time in 2015. Though I think the comparison of
Lancelot and Eärendel is rather missing the point, I do hope and
expect that this volume will contribute valuable scholarship for
putting Tolkien's Arthurian poem in context.

MT, Tuesday, 15 October 2013, "The Riddles of The Hobbit by Adam
Roberts"
<http://mythoi.tolkienindex.net/#post11>
A review of Adam Roberts' book, _The Riddles of The Hobbit_, which
still seems an intriguing work. Morgan Thomsen adds a bit of detail
on the use of e.g. the Exeter riddles (see also the article from
Medievalist.net on one of these), but otherwise this review doesn't
change what I said based on Pieter Collier's review last month:
"Though somewhat surprised not to find any mention of the Saga of
King Heidrik the Wise, I am intrigued by the review here."

JF, Tuesday, 22 October 2013, "In the new volume of Tolkien Studies
..."
<http://lingwe.blogspot.dk/2013/10/in-new-volume-of-tolkien-studies.html>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/pqqpqem>
Jason Fisher has posted again :-) This time he comments on his own
appearances in the latest issue of _Tolkien Studies_ including
reviews of his work, citations and of course the double review he
did himself of the two _Hobbit_ books by Mark Atherton and Corey
Olsen.


= = = = Interviews = = = =

PC, Sunday, 6 October 2013, "Interview with Jemima Catlin about the
new illustrated edition of The Hobbit"
<http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/press/1109-interview-jemima-catlin-illustrated-the-hobbit.php>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/p9gkxa8>
Another interview with Jemima Catlin, Pieter Collier has of course
had the benefit of both the book and the interview in _The Big
Issue_ when preparing the questions, and since Pieter is also a keen
Tolkienist, the interview covers some angles of particular interest
to fellow Tolkienists such as e.g. the degree of inspiration from
previous works to illustrate _The Hobbit_.

PC, Sunday, 27 October 2013, "Interview with Adam Roberts about The
Riddles of The Hobbit"
<http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/press/1115-interview-adam-roberts-the-riddles-of-the-hobbit.php>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/obrkpyo>
There are some quite interesting answers by Adam Roberts in the
middle of this on the more general role of the riddle in _The
Hobbit_ (not just in 'Riddles in the Dark'). These answers have
certainly helped put Roberts' book a little higher on my wish-list.


= = = = Tolkienian Artwork = = = =

JD, Tuesday, 8 October 2013, "Gandalf walkthrough"
<http://goldseven.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/gandalf-walkthrough/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/k8pa5n9>
A very nice Gandalf there, in the midst of much Hannibal ...

JG, Sunday, 13 October 2013, "Coming soon Tolkien inspired Art
exhibition"
<http://joegilronanlordoftherings.blogspot.dk/2013/10/coming-soon-tolkien-inspired-art.html>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/ovzesqn>
Announcing an exhibition in Aberdeen on November 11-18th with
several Tolkien-inspired artists.

PC, Wednesday, 23 October 2013, "The Ascent of Orodruin, a missing
Cor Blok painting, resurfaces"
<http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/press/1114-the-ascent-of-orodruin-cor-blok.php>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/qeo6ps9>
Another of the missing Cor Blok paintings has been found. Now the
list of Cor Blok paintings which location is unkown is down to a
dozen or so.


= = = = Other Stuff = = = =

Ian Spittlehouse, Tuesday, 1 October 2013, "Happy Anniversary!"
<http://blueplaque-tolkien-in-leeds.blogspot.dk/2013/10/happy-anniversary.html>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/nrbp6k8>
Celebrating the first anniversary of the blue plaque and listing a
number of resources (including some charming old photographs).

S&H, Thursday, 3 October 2013, "Every Inch Is Needed"
<wayneandchristina.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/every-inch-is-needed/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/nlcpcz9>
Christina Scull writes about the problem that will inevitably face
any dedicated collector: lack of space. If one is furthermore a
dedicated collector that desires to keep a degree of order in one's
collection, the task will just become even more difficult. I admit
that I occasionally lost track of books and shelves, but it is
heartening to know that there is at least one place where all these
editions are kept in order. A warm expression of gratitude to
Christina Scull and Wayne Hammond for their dedication and hard
work!

MB, Friday, 4 October 2013, "Why did you call this blog 'The
Tolkienist'?"
<http://www.thetolkienist.com/2013/10/04/why-did-you-call-this-blog-the-tolkienist/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/ozoex53>
Well ... it seems like a perfectly natural thing to do, doesn't it?
;-) Another way to put it would be to ask 'what is in a name?' -- a
question that is seen very often in Tolkienian discussions where
names are considered important. Marcel here tries to tell us what is
in the name of 'Tolkienist'.

BC, Saturday, 5 October 2013, "A previously unpublished letter from
JRR Tolkien - 14 June 1973"
<http://notionclubpapers.blogspot.dk/2013/10/a-previously-unpublished-letter-from.html>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/ndfzwb8>
Bruce Charlton received a kindly note from Tolkien written by
Tolkien's secretary, Margaret Joy Hill -- 'MJH' less than three
months before Tolkien's death. Joy Hill handled much of Tolkien's
fan mail from the offices of George Allen & Unwin, but she often
visited Tolkien, the last time in August 1973 (see more details in
Scull & Hammond, _The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide: Reader's
Guide_ pp.366-7).

Damien Walter, Friday, 11 October 2013, "There's more to fantasy
than the elves and orcs of Tolkien"
<http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2013/oct/11/fantasy-novel-elves-orcs-tolkien>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/logrgl7>
I might add that there's more to Tolkien (and particularly his
portrayal of good and evil) than the Elves and Orcs. When faced with
this kind of oversimplifying misrepresentation of Tolkien, it is
common among Tolkien enthusiasts to dismiss it as just 'more of the
same' instead of engaging in a dialogue with it. But is it not true
that the portrayal of Elves and Orcs in _The Lord of the Rings_
gives an unsophisticated picture of good an evil? The sophistication
is only added when you realise that these are in many ways
embodiments of certain distillations of human nature -- the Elves
embodying the artistic, wise and generally good sides of humans (at
least in LotR -- the picture is more complex in _The Silmarillion_)
and the Orcs the violent and hateful sides, but the human races of
Tolkien's mythology, the Big Folk and the Little Folk (as they said
in Bree), comprise all the various sides of humans and shows the
sophisticated pictures of good and evil -- with good being the
extremely difficult choice that is nonetheless portrayed as
possible.

PC, Tuesday, 15 October 2013, "J.R.R. Tolkien interest slowly rising
again according to Google Trends"
<http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/press/1112-tolkien-interest-according-to-google.php>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/qzxuc95>
Pieter Collier has been looking at the trends of some
Tolkien-related search terms in Google Trends, and he gets what we
might say is the expected answer. Speaking as a scientist with some
knowledge of statistics and data analysis, I am a bit dubious about
how these things are used -- there are some traps for the unwary
(e.g. "correlation is NOT causation"), and there is the question of
what lies behind a search term -- what is it combined with, what is
generating the interest (what is, for instance, the two or three
searches from that computer before and after the one we're looking
at), etc. etc. All in all I would warn against trying to interpret
the data beyond the obvious (media coverage causes search interest
... that much is pretty obvious).
Update: The article has been updated with data from Google Books
Ngram viewer stretching further back.

Noble Smith, _Huffington Post_, Tuesday, 29 October 2013, "The
Hidden Hobbit: 10 Secrets from Tolkien's Classic"
<http://www.huffingtonpost.com/noble-smith/the-hidden-hobbit-10-secr_b_4174846.html>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/ojcf87f>
I may regret the sensationalist presentation of these well-known
bits of information about _The Hobbit_, and I may detest the
unsuccessful attempts at hearty humour, but at least it is not
exactly _mis_information ...


= = = = Web Sites = = = =

Jef Murray: Artist, Author, Illustrator
<http://www.jefmurray.com>
Jef Murray has kindly given me permission to use his artwork for
my blog. Personally I am completely enchanted by his sketch-work (as
with Alan Lee, I tend to prefer their pencil-work). But don't let
that deceive you -- a work such as _Tuor and the Swans_ is too good
to miss.

Joe Gilronan Tolkien Art
<http://joegilronanlordoftherings.blogspot.com/>
As you can see above Joe Gilronan has also allowed me to use his
work for this blog. He paints some evocative paintings that at first
sight seem to define the scene completely, but when you look
closely, they still leave the viewer to define crucial details from
their own mind's eye. As with some other recent artists, Gilronan
cannot wholly escape the imagery of the Jackson films even where
they contradict Tolkien.

Jenny Dolfen -- Jenny's Sketchbook
<http://goldseven.wordpress.com/>
Like Jef and Joe, Jenny has kindly allowed me to use her work.
Unlike Jef and Joe, however, Jenny's work is mainly character
studies, and she tends to define her characters in detail. Her
Tolkien work is, however, based on very close readings of Tolkien's
writings, and I her paintings always manage to remind me acutely of
Tolkien's texts, making me react to the painting as if to Tolkien's
words.


= = = = The Blog Roll = = = =

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, but I will here note the number of
Tolkien-related posts in the month covered by these transactions
(while the number of posts with a vaguer relation -- e.g. by being
about other Inklings -- are given in parentheses).

Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond (S&H), "Too Many Books and
Never Enough"
<http://wayneandchristina.wordpress.com/>
1 Tolkien-related posts in October 2013 which is listed above.

Jason Fisher (JF) -- "Lingwë -- Musings of a Fish"
<http://lingwe.blogspot.com>
1 Tolkien-related posts in October 2013, listed above

Pieter Collier (PC), "The Tolkien Library"
<http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/>
13 Tolkien-related (and a couple of posts at further remove) posts
in October 2013. Besides those listed above, there are a couple of
posts on comic-book adaptations of Tolkien's works, a new deluxe
edition of _Unfinished Tales_ and a new boxed collector's hardcover
set, as well as a short (and IMO somewhat exaggerated) guest post on
Tolkien's influence.

Douglas A. Anderson (DAA), "Tolkien and Fantasy"
<http://tolkienandfantasy.blogspot.com/>
No posts in October 2013

John D. Rateliff (JDR) -- "Sacnoth's Scriptorium"
<http://sacnoths.blogspot.com>
No Tolkien-related posts in October 2013

Marcel Aubron-Bülles (MB), "The Tolkienist"
<http://thetolkienist.com/>
In addition to the post listed above, there are a couple of other
posts about Tolkien fans.

David Bratman (DB), "Kalimac"
<http://kalimac.blogspot.com/>
and the old home:
<http://calimac.livejournal.com/>
No Tolkien-related posts in October 2013

Jenny Dolfen (JD), "Jenny's Sketchbook"
<http://goldseven.wordpress.com/>
1 Tolkien-related post in October 2013, but the Hannibal paintings
are definitely also worth your while (a word of warning, though --
if you are not careful, you might learn something there!)

Holly Rodgers (HR), "Teaching Tolkien"
<http://teachingtolkien.com/>
2 Tolkien-related posts in October 2013. In addition to the post
listed above, there is the 10 October post describing an outrageous
critique at a teachers' training session.

Anna Smol (AS), "A Single Leaf"
<http://annasmol.net/>
1 Tolkien-related post in October 2013 and one of medievalist
interest. Both listed above.

Various, The Mythopoeic Society
<http://www.mythsoc.org>
No posts in October 2013

Morgan Thomsen (MT), "Mythoi"
<http://mythoi.tolkienindex.net>
1 Tolkien-related posts in October 2013 -- the review listed above.

Emil Johansson (EJ), "LotR Project Blog"
<http://lotrproject.com/blog/>
2 posts with Tolkien-related humour in October 2013

Michael Martinez (MM), "Middle-earth"
<http://middle-earth.xenite.org/>
23 Tolkien-related, mostly story-internal posts in October 2013

Bruce Charlton (BC), "Tolkien's The Notion Club Papers"
<http://notionclubpapers.blogspot.com/>
12 Tolkien-related posts in October 2013. The posts I've listed are
supplemented by a post on alliterative poetry (linking to another
blog of Charlton's), another on Tolkien's poems in general, a brief
praise of Paul Kocher's _Master of Middle-earth_, a short comment on
Tolkien's _Lay of of Aotrou and Itroun_, and the lay itself (which I
should think is under copyright?)


= = = = Sources = = = =

New sources in October 2013

For older sources, see
<http://parmarkenta.blogspot.com/p/sources.html>

--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid e-mail is <troelsfo(a)gmail.com>
Please put [AFT], [RABT] or 'Tolkien' in subject.

You can safely assume that you've created God in your own
image when it turns out that God hates all the same people
you do.
- Anne Lamott

Steve Morrison

unread,
Nov 9, 2013, 5:56:36 PM11/9/13
to
Troels Forchhammer wrote:

> Damien Walter, Friday, 11 October 2013, "There's more to fantasy
> than the elves and orcs of Tolkien"
> <http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2013/oct/11/fantasy-novel-elves-orcs-tolkien>
> <http://preview.tinyurl.com/logrgl7>
> I might add that there's more to Tolkien (and particularly his
> portrayal of good and evil) than the Elves and Orcs. When faced with
> this kind of oversimplifying misrepresentation of Tolkien, it is
> common among Tolkien enthusiasts to dismiss it as just 'more of the
> same' instead of engaging in a dialogue with it. But is it not true
> that the portrayal of Elves and Orcs in _The Lord of the Rings_
> gives an unsophisticated picture of good an evil? The sophistication
> is only added when you realise that these are in many ways
> embodiments of certain distillations of human nature -- the Elves
> embodying the artistic, wise and generally good sides of humans (at
> least in LotR -- the picture is more complex in _The Silmarillion_)
> and the Orcs the violent and hateful sides, but the human races of
> Tolkien's mythology, the Big Folk and the Little Folk (as they said
> in Bree), comprise all the various sides of humans and shows the
> sophisticated pictures of good and evil -- with good being the
> extremely difficult choice that is nonetheless portrayed as
> possible.

On the other hand, if you just want to point and laugh at a bad
discussion of good and evil in Tolkien, try an article by G. Willow
Wilson (one of the writers Walter praises):

http://preview.tinyurl.com/lllcwm3

Bet you didn't know that the word "orc" may have been chosen for its
similarity to "Turk", which people Tolkien was prejudiced against
after fighting them in WWI. Or that the movie, in contrast to
Tolkien's racist book, contains a remarkable scene in which Faramir
eulogizes a dead Southron warrior, which could only have been
written in our post-9/11 era.

> Bruce Charlton (BC), "Tolkien's The Notion Club Papers"
> <http://notionclubpapers.blogspot.com/>
> 12 Tolkien-related posts in October 2013. The posts I've listed are
> supplemented by a post on alliterative poetry (linking to another
> blog of Charlton's), another on Tolkien's poems in general, a brief
> praise of Paul Kocher's _Master of Middle-earth_, a short comment on
> Tolkien's _Lay of of Aotrou and Itroun_, and the lay itself (which I
> should think is under copyright?)

I wonder why no one seems to have reprinted this? It would be nice to
have a new edition of /Tales from the Perilous Realm/, say, which
included it.

Curlytop

unread,
Nov 17, 2013, 3:26:36 PM11/17/13
to
Steve Morrison set the following eddies spiralling through the space-time
continuum:

>> Bruce Charlton (BC), "Tolkien's The Notion Club Papers"
>> <http://notionclubpapers.blogspot.com/>
>> 12 Tolkien-related posts in October 2013. The posts I've listed are
>> supplemented by a post on alliterative poetry (linking to another
>> blog of Charlton's), another on Tolkien's poems in general, a brief
>> praise of Paul Kocher's _Master of Middle-earth_, a short comment on
>> Tolkien's _Lay of of Aotrou and Itroun_, and the lay itself (which I
>> should think is under copyright?)
>
> I wonder why no one seems to have reprinted this? It would be nice to
> have a new edition of /Tales from the Perilous Realm/, say, which
> included it.

Is the text of Aotrou and Itroun available (legally) anywhere on the web?
--
ξ: ) Proud to be curly

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