Tolkien Transactions XXXIII

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Troels Forchhammer

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Feb 1, 2013, 10:53:41 AM2/1/13
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January 2012

As my list of sources continues to grow, I find that I need to be
more critical in my approach lest I end up with no time for family
and friends, and therefore I have this month been more selective,
including only items that I have found adds something relevant. This
means that I have omitted some items that would have made the list
just a month ago (the Christmas holiday allowed me to handle an
extreme amount of posts, but I cannot take a week's holiday every
month to complete these transactions).

This month it has suited my purposes to sort the contents under the
following headlines:
1: Tolkien Day
2: News
3: Essays and Scholarship
4: Commentary
5: Reviews and Book News
6: Interviews
7: Tolkienian Artwork
8: Other Stuff
9: Rewarding Discussions
10: In Print
11: Web Sites
12: Sources

= = = = Tolkien Day = = = =
The Birthday Toast, or Tolkien Day, is celebrated by Tolkienists all
over the world on the third of January in memory of professor J.R.R.
Tolkien who was born on that day in 1892 in Bloemfontein, South
Africa. This year was Tolkien's twelfty-first birthday . . ..

The event invariably effects a number of postings by Tolkienists as
well as newstories both about the celebrations and in memory of
Tolkien. I have garnered a number of these to give an idea of how
the world celebrates the birthday of professor J.R.R. Tolkien, CBE.

THE PROFESSOR!


TOLKIENISTS

The 2013 Birthday Toast at the Tolkien Society:
<http://www.tolkiensociety.org/toast/2013/>

MB, Thursday, 3 January 2013, "Join the Tolkien Birthday Toast for
2013"
<http://www.thetolkienist.com/2013/01/03/join-the-tolkien-birthday-toast-for-2013/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/b67ctxa>
A little late for joining the Birthday Toast now, but still ;-)

JDR, Thursday, 3 January 2013, "Happy Tolkien Day!"
<http://sacnoths.blogspot.dk/2013/01/happy-tolkien-day.html>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/ame5ysr>
John Rateliff planned to spend the evening reading some of Tolkien's
poetry.

Demosthenes, Thursday, 3 January 2013, "January 3: time for the
Tolkien Toast!"
<http://www.theonering.net/torwp/2013/01/03/67867-january-3-time-for-the-tolkien-toast/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/a2dum9t>

Il, Thursday, 3 January 2013, "Let's Raise a Glass"
<http://ilverai.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/lets-raise-a-glass/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/bdmtkko>
"So like the hobbits, let us all raise a glass to the Professor" --
indeed!

Brian Sibley, Thursday, 3 January 2013, "LORD OF MIDDLE-EARTH"
<http://briansibleysblog.blogspot.dk/2013/01/lord-of-middle-earth.html>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/axgq8xf>
A tribute.


GENERAL MEDIA AND OTHERS

Elizabeth Drake, _Christian Science Monitor_, Wednesday, 2 January 2013, "10 quotes by J.R.R. Tolkien on his birthday"
<http://www.csmonitor.com/Books/2013/0102/10-quotes-by-J.R.R.-Tolkien-on-his-birthday>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/ao3f3n5>
Well, 7 quotations by Tolkien, actually, and three fallacies, and a
biographical piece claiming that Tolkien worked at Cambridge after
leaving his position in Leeds. Not OK!

Michael Wilkes, Wednesday, 2 January 2013, "Honouring Tolkien"
<http://michaelwilkesblog.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/honouring-tolkien.html>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/afuodsj>
A tribute to the professor.

Andrew Losowsky, Thursday, 3 January 2013, "J.R.R. Tolkien Quotes:
Our Favorites On His 121st Birthday"
<http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/03/jrr-tolkien-quotes-our-fa_n_2398210.html>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/aha2xft>
All ten quotations actually by Tolkien . . .

Hannah Osborne, Thursday, 3 January 2013, "JRR Tolkien Fans to Toast
'The Professor' on The Hobbit Author's 121st Birthday"
<http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/420181/20130103/j-r-tolkien-birthday-121-today-fans.htm>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/apfkxol>
Quoting from the entries for the Tolkien Society Birthday Toast is a
nice idea, I think.

Wolff Bachner, _The Inquisitr_, Thursday, 3 January 2013, "Today In
History: J.R.R. Tolkien Born 120 Years Ago On January 3, 1892"
<http://www.inquisitr.com/466239/today-in-history-j-r-r-tolkien-born-120-years-ago-on-january-3-1892/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/awenl69>
Yes, they DID post that this year :) This is actually quite
enjoyable, despite a couple of mistakes, the worst, in my opinion,
not being the mathematical error in the headline, but the
implication that John Ronald died "just months after the passing of
Edith" -- some 21 months actually passed from Edith's death on
1971-11-29 to J.R.R.T.'s death on 1973-09-02.

Leslie Gornstein, _E_, Thursday, 3 January 2012, "Happy 121st
Birthday, J.R.R. Tolkien: Star Wars, Harry Potter and More Reasons
to Thank The Hobbit Creator"
<http://uk.eonline.com/news/375593/happy-121st-birthday-j-r-r-tolkien-star-wars-harry-potter-and-more-reasons-to-thank-the-hobbit-creator>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/askhljw>
Celebrating the professor by pointing out elements of (very) popular
culture that would not be (or would at least be very, very
different) if not for J.R.R. Tolkien and his Middle-earth books. The
quoted source is Corey Olsen -- well done, Corey!

Jill Baughman, _The Stir_, Thursday, 3 January 2013, "12 J.R.R.
Tolkien Quotes to Celebrate His 121st Birthday"
<http://thestir.cafemom.com/entertainment/148997/12_jrr_tolkien_quotes_to>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/arvjm5y>
A nice pick of verifiable (and hereby verified) quotations including
some interesting choices from outside Tolkien's legendarium.


= = = = News = = = =

Balthasar Weymarn, _Russia Beyond the Headlines_, Wednesday, 2
January 2013, "The Hobbit: Soviet adaption of Tolkien's book"
<http://rbth.ru/articles/2013/01/02/the_hobbit_soviet_adaption_of_tolkiens_book_21639.html>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/afu7uye>
Like last month's reminiscences in _Beyond Bree_ about the 1977
Rankin/Bass TV-special of _The Hobbit_, this is a reminisicence of
an earlier, more primitive, Hobbit adventure. This one a 1985 Soviet
live-action adaptation by Vladimir Latyshev for Leningrad
Television.

Jim Durkin, _Bournemouth Daily Echo_, Thursday, 3 January 2013, "JRR
Tolkien's fireplace attracts �50k bid on eBay"
<http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news/10140006.JRR_Tolkien___s_fireplace_attracts___50k_bid_on_eBay/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/bj4uqgy>
While demolishing the house that the Tolkiens inhabited rather
briefly (July 1968 to December 1971) in Poole, the demolisher (who
had apparently prepared well) secured a number of items that were
probably in the house when the Tolkien's lived there, including the
fireplace. Other items are less certain (some loose lions, for
instance), while a post card addressed to Edith Tolkien is of course
certainly tied to them. I don't really know whom to be outraged at
-- the enterprising demolisher or the gullible fools buying the
stuff . . .

Angie Han, Thursday, 3 January 2013, "Rumor: Universal and Tolkien
Estate Planning Middle-earth Theme Park?"
<http://www.slashfilm.com/rumor-universal-and-tolkien-estate-planning-middle-earth-theme-park/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/b2ksc7r>
About rumours concerning a Middle-earth theme park. Tolkien's
Middle-earth and Rowling's Wizarding World are, however, two very
different things, so even if the rumours are true, I would think
that there is a long way yet to go. Time will tell.

Ryan Sohmer and Lar Desouza, Friday, 4 January 2013, "Flipping the
Bird"
<http://www.leasticoulddo.com/comic/20130104/>
Just for laughs . . .

John Goss, _News Junkie Post_, Wednesday, 16 January 2013,
"Tolkien's Hobbit Against Big Money"
<http://newsjunkiepost.com/2013/01/16/tolkiens-hobbit-against-big-money/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/amnpyxq>
You can call me a conservative traditionalist or a socialist, but in
any case I am all there, cheering the battle to conserve local
neighbourhoods and the friendly neighbour pub against big business
interest, including local industrialists as well as the Saul Zaentz
Company. Here the story of the long fight to save and keep Sarehole,
Moseley Bog and the _Hungry Hobbit_ sandwich bar.

University of Oxford, Thursday, 24 January 2013, "Oxford Tolkien
Spring School launched"
<http://www.ox.ac.uk/media/news_stories/2013/132401.html>
See also
<http://www.english.ox.ac.uk/news-events/upcoming-events/201303/oxford-tolkien-spring-school>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/ajt5c7p>
I wish . . . Actually I am going to spend my Easter helpting to set
up a scout gang show in Denmark, but I wish I could be in two places
at once :-)

Ted Johnson, _Film News_, Tuesday, 29 January 2013, "'Hobbit'
lawsuits mire Shire waters"
<http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118065378/>
About the various legal battles currently playing out around the
various rights to Tolkien's stories -- I cannot help but hope for
the fall of Barad-d�r and Orthanc (i.e. the Saul Zaentz Company and
New Line / Warner).
See also Graeme McMillan, _Wired_, Thursday, 31 January 2013,
"Tolkien's Estate Countersued in Legal Battle Over _Lord of the
Rings_ Slot Machines"
<http://www.wired.com/underwire/2013/01/lord-rings-slot-machines/>

BBC, Thursday, 31 January 2013, "First edition Lord of Rings trilogy
sells for �24,000"
<http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-gloucestershire-21270317>
All three books are signed by Tolkien and the set is said to be from
Rayner Unwin, which is doubtlessly the reason they are collecting as
much as �24,000. If the image accompanying the article is of the
actual books, they are also in a remarkably good condition.


= = = = Essays and Scholarship = = = =

Il, Saturday, 5 January 2013, "Reading The Hobbit: Out of the
Frying-Pan Into the Fire or the Notion of 'Other'"
<https://ilverai.wordpress.com/2013/01/05/reading-the-hobbit-out-of-the-frying-pan-into-the-fire-or-the-notion-of-other/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/bcmogh5>
Ilverai continues his reading of "The Hobbit". The discussion here
of chapter six made me think also of how our knowledge and
understanding of Tolkien's wider legendarium colours our reading of
"The Hobbit", which probably makes us see things in the children's
book that are not there by the design of its author.
Sunday, 13 January 2013, "Reading The Hobbit: Queer Lodgings or
Gandalf's Usual Tricks and The Mystery of Beorn"
<http://ilverai.wordpress.com/2013/01/13/reading-the-hobbit-queer-lodgings-or-gandalfs-usual-tricks-and-the-mystery-of-beorn/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/abmsurb>
For all the post-fact contextual hypothesising, wasn't Medwed >
Beorn just thrown in because Tolkien thought it would make a fun
episode along the way? (Oh, and though perhaps slightly better
naturalised than Bombadil, Beorn really is no more native to
Middle-earth than Bombadil)
All of Ilverai's _Hobbit_ read-through can be found here:
<http://ilverai.wordpress.com/the-hobbit-read-thru/>

_Tolkiendil_, Monday, 28 January 2013, "Tolkien 1892-2012"
<http://www.tolkiendil.com/essais/tolkien_1892-2012>
Very exciting! Here are the five originally English essays that were
translated to French for _l'Arc & le Heaume -- Hors-s�rie: Tolkien
1892-2012_. Essays by Ted Nasmith, John Rateliff, Tom Shippey, Jason
Fisher and Thomas Honegger. I have not yet had the time to read the
essays, but I am excited and look very much forward to doing so.
_Merci!_ ;-)

JM, Wednesday, 16 January 2013, "Tolkien's Thomistic Metaphysics in
Overview"
<http://jonathansmcintosh.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/tolkiens-thomistic-metaphysics-in-overview/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/bznqegv>
The first of three posts constituting the conclusion of Jonathan
McIntosh' doctoral dissertation (of which he has blogged about five
chapters over the past circa a year and a half). I shall not be able
to do justice to McIntosh' conclusion in a few lines anyway, so I'll
just say that the short version is that when reading Tolkien and
Thomas Aquinas together, they inform and enrich each other (I hope
this is a fair one-sentence summary). Go read it for yourself
instead of trusting my summary (hit "next" to get to the other two
parts of the conclusion).

Carl Phelpstead, Wednesday, 30 January 2013, "Tolkien, David Jones,
and the God Nodens"
<http://www.lotrplaza.com/showthread.php?28791-Carl-Phelpstead-Tolkien-David-Jones-and-the-God-Nodens>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/bjzxup4>
A very interesting essay by Carl Phelpstead, discussing parallels
between Tolkien and the "London writer with Welsh blood and strong
Welsh affinities", David Jones, as well as inspirations by the
former on the latter through his O'Donnel lecture _English and
Welsh_ as well as his scholarly work 'The Name "Nodens"'.


= = = = Commentary = = = =

Ruth Davis Konigsberg, Monday, 31 December 2012, "_The Hobbit_: Why
Are There No Women in Tolkien's World?"
<http://ideas.time.com/2012/12/31/the-hobbit-why-are-there-no-women-in-tolkiens-world/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/bdrscog>
Though more about the Peter Jackson film, the argument is of course
also applicable to Tolkien's story. Konigsberg does acknowledge the
argument that Tolkien does have some strong women, but I get the
impression that this doesn't satisfy her. There is also a very
lively discussion in the comments to this piece (though with more
than 1300 comments, I haven't read them all).

Linda Serck, Thursday, 3 January 2013, "Oxfordshire inspired
Tolkien's The Hobbit and Lord Of The Rings"
<http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-20894824>
It did indeed! Quite a nice article on Tolkien's relationship with
Oxford and Oxfordshire and how these influenced his writing.
Obviously, if you know Garth's work and Tolkien's biography, there
is little new to this, but I think it is important to get some solid
information on Tolkien's life out to the many people who like his
books, but who wouldn't dream of reading long books about his life.

David Smith, _The Guardian_, Thursday 3 January 2013, "A plaque, a
Hobbit hotel and a JRR Tolkien trail that's petered out" <http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jan/03/hobbit-author-tolkien-birthplace-south-africa>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/b6uczdp>
The only place outside Europe that is genuinely connected with
J.R.R. Tolkien is South Africa, where his parents were married and
where the author himself was born in Bloemfontein, where also his
father, Arthur Tolkien, is buried. Strangely, this connection is not
advertised in the tourist guides for Bloemfontein.

JPB, Monday, 7 January 2013, "Concerning Christopher - An Essay on
Tolkien's Son's Decision to Not Allow Further Cinematic Licensing of
His Work"
<http://www.theonering.net/torwp/2013/01/07/68174-concerning-christopher-an-essay-on-tolkiens-sons-decision-to-not-allow-further-cinematic-licensing-of-his-work/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/bklexju>
Ostensibly written in support of Christopher Tolkien, the basic
assumptions -- and presumptions -- of this piece have nonetheless
offended many Tolkienists, who, for instance, find the reduction of
Christopher Tolkien's life-long dedication to his father's work to
the level of "true fan" insulting of Christopher Tolkien.
A particularly well-articulated response is formulated by Marcel
Aubron-B�lles, Tuesday, 8 January 2013, "A commentary on 'Concerning
Christopher'"
<http://www.thetolkienist.com/2013/01/08/a-commentary-on-concerning-christopher/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/b4tbyqp>
The discussions surrounding the issue have been heated, but those
that I have seen and participated in have mostly been free of
"flaming" and other ad Hominem attacks.
See also Anjum Bhardwaj, Sunday, 20 January 2013, "The Jackson
Quibble: Is the new Hobbit flick harming the greater good?"
<http://tolkienlibrary.com/press/1081-The-Jackson-Quibble.php?551>

JF, Thursday, 10 January 2013, "Christopher Tolkien, Warren Hamilton
Lewis, and Laurence Housman"
<http://lingwe.blogspot.dk/2013/01/christopher-tolkien-warren-hamilton.html>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/azxrc8w>
Taking the cue from the above discussions of Christopher Tolkien's
dispositions, Jason Fisher moves on to look at other literary
executors -- notably some known for (or falsely accused of) burning
the papers of the author.

PC, Thursday, 10 January 2013, "Featured question: I want to learn
more about Tolkien. What books about Tolkien should I read?"
<http://tolkienlibrary.com/press/1076-Books-about-Tolkien.php?546>
Pieter Collier's list includes Carpenter's _Biography_ and _The
Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien_ as well as Garth's _Tolkien and the Great
War_, Shippey's _Author of the Century, and Hammond & Scull's
_Artist and Illustrator_ and _Companion and Guide_. _The J.R.R.
Tolkien Companion and Guide_ is perhaps not the place to start, but
it is one of the unavoidable resources for any Tolkienist. I did
wonder about Shippey's _Author of the Century_, but I think it makes
good sense to include some literary criticism, and Shippey's books
are excellent for this (either _Author of the Century_ or _The Road
to Middle-earth_ -- I think they'd probably work equally well).

JF, Tuesday, 15 January 2013, "More like a grocer than a burglar"
<http://lingwe.blogspot.dk/2013/01/more-like-grocer-than-burglar.html>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/asrzy7g>
It's gross . . . (that was "a pune, or play on words" as Pratchett
would have said). Actually it's interesting and amusing, Jason's
blog about the grocer Bilbo. I'm in two minds whether to think that
Tolkien actually meant this in the way that Jason Fisher suggests,
but that is, for me, not terribly important: the whole idea is both
clever and enjoyable regardless.

JF, Sunday, 20 January 2013, "A Jewish analogue to The Doors of
Durin"
<http://lingwe.blogspot.dk/2013/01/a-jewish-analogue-to-doors-of-durin.html>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/a5ry32r>
A good catch here by Jason Fisher -- and full points for pointing
out that any cross-influencing either way is unlikely. However, this
makes me think that there might be something to the more generic
image that would be worth studying -- the basic design of door(s)
flanked by pillars and with an arch above is very common (it can,
for instance, be found also at the entrance to the Birmingham
Oratory's Retreat at Rednal), but could some of the decorations in
Tolkien's design for the Doors of Durin (inscribed arch, trees,
stars, crown, etc.) be well-known?

Mellone (Andrea), Sunday, 20 January 2013, "The Powers of Tolkien's
Melian and Galadriel"
<http://greyhavensgroup.com/2013/01/20/the-powers-of-tolkiens-melian-and-galadriel/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/bhheeao>
A look at Melian and Galadriel with a focus on their protective and
counselling roles. It is quite interesting and perceptive as far as
it goes, though I think there are some things that should have been
included (L�thien, Galadriel's desire to rule), but as an answer to
the perpetual complaints that there are no women in Tolkien's
writings, I think it misses the point.

MM, Thursday, 31 January 2013, "Q: Are There Female Orcs in
Middle-earth?"
<http://middle-earth.xenite.org/2013/01/31/are-there-female-orcs-in-middle-earth/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/b8sxy3o>
An excellent discussion by Michael Martinez which includes a
statement that I strongly agree with: "Careful readers will keep in
mind that there is no true 'Middle-earth canon'." Hear! Hear!


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

PC, Thursday, 3 January 2013, "Birthday gifts for hobbit and Tolkien
fans"
<http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/press/1068-Birthday-gifts-for-hobbit-tolkien-fans.php?537>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/9wuufz5>
Pieter Collier here suggests choosing from a list of new editions of
Tolkien's classic children's book. From the pocket edition of _The
Hobbit_ (I actually prefer the normal version with the dust-jacket
that Tolkien designed to the deluxe edition) over a special
collector's edition and a two-volume film tie-in that slightly
misfired to the 75th anniversary paperback edition.

Suravi Chatterjee-Woolman, Saturday, 5 January 2013, "Tolkien
translations: Tolkien in Bengali"
<http://tolkienlibrary.com/press/1070-Tolkien-in-Bengali.php?540>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/aedozdf>
About the Bengali translations of Tolkien's work. Follow the link in
the article to see some of the illustrations in the Bengali
translations -- there is some quite interesting stuff there.

JDR, Saturday, 5 January 2013, "More Trivia"
<http://sacnoths.blogspot.com/2013/01/more-trivia.html>
A review of Nick Hurwitch's _The Unofficial Hobbit Trivia Challenge_
-- apparently much better than the previous trivia quiz book that
Rateliff reviewed, but seemingly taking its subject in the widest
possible sense (i.e. it is not a Tolkien trivia quiz book as much as
a 'Hobbit' trivia quiz book).

JDR, Tuesday, 8 January 2013, "The War of the Ring (SPI game)"
<http://sacnoths.blogspot.dk/2013/01/the-war-of-ring-spi-game.html>
A review of an old board-war-game -- or perhaps a report on a day
spent at an enjoyable game.

DB, Wednesday, 9 January 2013, "reviews of The Hobbit"
<http://kalimac.blogspot.com/2013/01/reviews-of-hobbit.html>
A review of a review of reviews? That doesn't make sense, does it?
:-)
David Bratman has collected a few reviews of Peter Jackson's _The
Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey_ that are all remarkable for being
extreme in one way or another.

DB, Thursday, 24 January 2013, "digital publishing"
<http://calimac.livejournal.com/639474.html>
The question of the price of particularly academic books and
journals has come up often enough, and Douglas A. Anderson's
decision last year to leave the editorship of _Tolkien Studies_
brought the issue in focus of the Tolkien community, and David
Bratman who took over Doug Anderson's place as co-editor, here
discusses the issue based on his experiences with _Tolkien
Studies_.

H&S, Friday, 25 January 2013, "The Many Lives of the Hobbits"
<http://wayneandchristina.wordpress.com/2013/01/25/the-many-lives-of-the-hobbits/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/bczq3x5>
An excellent and thorough review by Christina Scull of /The Hobbits:
The Many Lives of Bilbo, Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin/ by Lynette
Porter. One thing that comes across quite strongly is the impressive
knowledge that Christina Scull has of Tolkien and related matters,
but also the sense of conscious choice not to go into certain areas
such as fan-fiction (a choice I have also made myself). Overall
Christina Scull is positive about Porter's book, though she doesn't
agree with all the choices.

BC, Thursday, 31 January 2013, "Review of the Father Christmas
Letters Audiobook"
<http://notionclubpapers.blogspot.dk/2013/01/review-of-father-christmas-letters.html>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/bymmvum>
A caring, and praiseful, review of the HarperCollins audiobook of
Tolkien's _Letters from Father Christmas_ read by Sir Derek Jacobi.


= = = = Interviews = = = =

Sharon Eberson, _Pittsburgh Post-Gazette_, Sunday, 6 January 2013,
"Person of Interest: Janet Brennan Croft, Tolkien scholar"
<http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/ae/movies/person-of-interest-janet-brennan-croft-tolkien-scholar-669192/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/bbb9ak3>
An interview with Janet Brennan Croft, Tolkien scholar and editor of
_Mythlore_ (and a very nice person to boot).

PC, Tuesday, 8 January 2013, "Interview with Gary Raymond and John
Howe about 3-Minute JRR Tolkien"
<http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/press/1074-3-minute-Tolkien-interview-John-Howe-and-Gary-Raymond.php?544>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/awhwtc7>
Gary Raymond and John Howe have written _3-Minute J.R.R Tolkien:_ --
based on what they say here, this doesn't seem as a book that I will
be spending my money on, but it may be just the right thing for fans
who are discovering an interest for the author's life.

PC, Thursday, 17 January 2013, "Interview with Angela P. Nicholas,
author of _Aragorn, J.R.R. Tolkien's Undervalued Hero_"
<http://tolkienlibrary.com/press/1079-Aragorn-JRR-Tolkien-Undervalued-Hero-interview.php?549>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/aeb3mgv>
Obsessing over something Tolkienian is of course a good thing (a
_good_ thing, you hear!), and Angela Nicholas' obsession with
Aragorn commands respect and interest. Her book about Aragorn seems
to look at Tolkien's work on its own premises (with a sharp focus on
Aragorn) -- an approach that I would like to see more of (not that I
don't want the other approaches also, but this one has, in my view,
been underrepresented in recent years).

PC, Friday, 18 January 2012, "Interview with Matthew Dickerson,
author of _A Hobbit Journey: Discovering the Enchantment of J. R. R.
Tolkien's Middle-Earth_"
<http://tolkienlibrary.com/press/1080-A-Hobbit-Journey-interview-Matthew-Dickerson.php?550>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/b4vvg4a>
I like the way Pieter Collier is show-casing some of the work by
less well-known Tolkienist through the medium of these interviews.
In some cases the interview seems as useful as a proper review,
while in other cases it can make you aware of a book that you want
to seek out the reviews for. The present interview with Matthew
Dickerson lands his book solidly in the latter category for me -- I
want to see a review or two before I buy, but it certainly seems
interesting.


= = = = Tolkienian Artwork = = = =

Various, January 2013, "At The Sign Of The..."
<http://www.john-howe.com/portfolio/gallery/categories.php?cat_id=40>
Fan art on John Howe's site, this month focusing on inns and
inn-signs.

JD, Tuesday, 1 January 2013, "The Painting of the Sword"
<http://goldseven.wordpress.com/2013/01/01/the-painting-of-the-sword/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/b3uy2az>
Taking up from last month's post about illustrating the scene when
F�anor draws his sword on Fingolfin in Finw�'s hall in Tirion (the
action that earned F�anor his exile in Formenost). Jenny shows and
explains the evolution of her latest attempt to illustrate this
scene, and in the end we get to see the finished painting, which I
find very good.

JD, Friday, 4 January 2013, "One little, two little, fifteen little
Noldor"
<http://goldseven.wordpress.com/2013/01/04/one-little-two-little-fifteen-little-noldor/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/a8her7o>
Jenny Dolfen asks herself whether it is just she who can see the
differences in the facial features of these Noldor.

JDR, Thursday, 17 January 2013, "The Return of the King, Uh-huh."
<http://sacnoths.blogspot.dk/2013/01/the-return-of-king-uh-huh.html>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/b4nwade>
Art need not, of course, be just paintings and other pictures. In
this case the art is a filk song -- the one that John Rateliff names
"the best Tolkien filksong ever." Listen and judge for yourself if
you agree.

JD, Sunday, 20 January 2013, "Custom sketchbooks!"
<http://goldseven.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/custom-sketchbooks/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/ba97nye>
If you like to draw, you might want to consider walking about with a
custom Tolkien sketchbook with cover art by Jenny Dolfen (now, you
do a set of notebooks also, Jenny, and I'm buying -- preferably
5-by-5 mm square, I _am_ a man of the natural sciences, after all
:-) )

Ruth Lacon, Monday, 21 January 2013, "Review of _Beyond Time and
Place - The Art of Paul Raymond Gregory_"
<http://tolkienlibrary.com/press/1082-Art-of-Paul-Raymond-Gregory.php?552>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/aydhzxg>
Ruth Lacon's husband, Alex Lewis, has helped make an art-book
featuring art by Paul Raymond Gregory, which includes
Tolkien-inspired art. A couple of works are featured in the review.


= = = = Other Stuff = = = =

Rachel Nuwer, Thursday, 3 january 2013, "The Tolkien Nerd's Guide to
The Hobbit"
<http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/The-Tolkien-Nerds-Guide-to-The-Hobbit--185546102.html>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/a7aofyg>
Unfortunately this article -- and the associated graphics -- is
riddled with errors. There are factual errors in the graphics (the
information purporting to be from _The Silmarillion_ and _Unfinished
Tales_ is really from _The Hobbit_ and _The Lord of the Rings_), and
if Michael Drout has really said that Peter Jackson "knows the lore
pretty well" or that the Tolkien Estate "are litigious", I have to
express my firm disagreement with Drout on these. I have seen
_nothing_ that suggests that Jackson knows the Tolkien lore (Drout
may of course have information that I am not privy to), and unlike
Saul Zaentz' Tolkien Enterprises, the Tolkien Estate does not appear
particularly litigious.

JDR, Thursday, 3 January 2013, "I Am Interviewed (Smithsonian)"
<http://sacnoths.blogspot.dk/2013/01/i-am-interviewed-smithsonian.html>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/bfxzhb3>
John Rateliff's commentary on the above.

Alice Philipson, _The Telegraph_, Wednesday, 9 January 2013,
"Tolkien trail: tower that inspired Lord of the Rings trilogy to be
opened to public"
<http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/9787971/Tolkien-trail-tower-that-inspired-Lord-of-the-Rings-trilogy-to-be-opened-to-public.html>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/axabsny>
Let's get some facts straight: Tolkien would undoubtedly have known
Perrolt's Folly. There is nothing that suggests that Perrolt's Folly
was a source of inspiration for anything in Tolkien's stories --
this part is a tourist fabrication. Of course that doesn't mean
that it would not be nice to be able to get inside even get a view
of Birmingham from the top, or that many other sites on the Tolkien
Trail in Birmingham are not genuinely relevant both for Tolkien's
biography and for his books.

Phil Wieland, Sunday, 13 January 2013, "NW Ind. School plans J.R.R.
Tolkien conference"
<http://www.wishtv.com/dpp/news/indiana/nw-ind-school-plans-jrr-tolkien-conference>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/azmgksp>
About a Tolkien conference in Valparaiso arranged by Brad Eden,
author of _Middle-earth Minstrel_. Plenary speakers so far are
Douglas Anderson, John Rateliff and Verlyn Flieger, with further
participation of other Tolkienists such as David Bratman, Christine
Larsen and of course Brad Eden:
<http://conference.valpo.edu/tolkien/>

BC, Tuesday, 15 January 2013, "The essence of The Inklings: idea for
an Inklings Reader"
<http://notionclubpapers.blogspot.dk/2013/01/the-essence-of-inklings-idea-for.html>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/abr8c52>
I am not particularly interested in the Inklings as a group, so I
can't really comment on Charlton's views on them, though by his own
description (rejecting Carpenter and Pavlac Glyer alike) his ideas
seem to be somewhat controversial. Charlton has also posted a couple
of times about Charles Williams in January.

James Daily, Thursday, 17 January 2013, "Read a Lawyer's Amazingly
Detailed Analysis of Bilbo's Contract in _The Hobbit_"
<http://www.wired.com/underwire/2013/01/hobbit-contract-legal-analysis>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/be39ywd>
This is actually not about Tolkien, but about the bogus contract
made for the Jackson film, but it is good fun nonetheless, and a few
points might also apply to Tolkien's much more succinct 'contract'
(Tolkien calls it a 'note').

EJ, Sunday, 20 January 2013, "Visual timeline of the One Ring"
<http://lotrproject.com/blog/2013/01/20/visual-timeline-of-the-one-ring/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/a7r8r8k>
A neat, so-called "infographics" of the nearly five millennia of the
Ruling Ring -- with some focus on where the Ring was and who bore
it.

MB, Thursday, 24 January 2013, "Middle-earth Tea & Coffee Mug
Special: Fond memories in ceramics"
<http://www.thetolkienist.com/2013/01/24/middle-earth-tea-coffee-mug-special-fond-memories-in-ceramics/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/aumftp8>
If Marcel keeps running things like this, I'll have to make a
category for 'Fan Boasting' ;-) Mugs are lovely memorabilia -- I
think I need a Tolkien-related mug to take to work.

EJ, Saturday, 26 January 2013, "The true nature of the Ring"
<http://lotrproject.com/blog/2013/01/26/the-true-nature-of-the-ring/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/a85mkhp>
Emil couldn't resist, and as a long-time (albeit now former) Nokian
myself, I of course can't resist either :-)

AW, Saturday, 26 January 2013, "Tolkien slept here"
<http://wellinghall.livejournal.com/1038393.html>
It's amazing what you can find -- just don't trust it until you can
verify it.

Tad Wise, _Woodstock Times_, Monday, 28 January 2013, "J.R.R.
Tolkien and the Ballantines"
<http://www.woodstockx.com/2013/01/28/j-r-r-tolkien-and-the-ballantines/>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/ab2x24e>
An interview with 93 years old Betty Ballantine about the Ballantine
paperbacks of Tolkien's books, and about meeting Tolkien in London.

JDR, Tuesday, 29 January 2013, "Also Coming Up Soon: More Tolkien at
Marquette"
<http://sacnoths.blogspot.dk/2013/01/also-coming-up-soon-more-tolkien-at.html>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/asqwmyk>
About the last of the of the three special Hobbit 75th anniversay
events at the Marquette -- this one a round-table discussion of the
latest Hobbit film. The list of round-table participants looks
promising, but the topic is not one that I'd be much interested in.


= = = = Rewarding Discussions = = = =

"Bettering the Bumbling Bestiary: A David Day Fact Check"
<http://www.lotrplaza.com/showthread.php?25579-Bettering-the-Bumbling-Bestiary-A-David-Day-Fact-Check>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/asyly2c>
David Day is infamous in Tolkien circles for his creative
re-interpretation of Tolkien's work, and here is a thread that goes
through his _A Tolkien Bestiary_ (or at least has started on it),
with a view to point out and correct the creative imprecisions,
errors and outright misrepresentations that litter Day's work.

"Mesopotamia"
<http://www.lotrplaza.com/showthread.php?28559-Mesopotamia>
About Mesopotamian influences -- inspired by (but also critical of)
Nicolas Birns' article in _Tolkien and the Study of his Sources_,
but moving beyond it to look at the topic with a greater degree of
scholarly systematism (and rigidity).

"Tolkien's Old English"
<http://www.lotrplaza.com/showthread.php?22104-Tolkien's-Old-English&p=519066#post519066>
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/bbxnsoa>
This wonderful thread has been revived, now with posts addressing
Mercian as well as a list of all (in intention) the Old English
found in _The Shaping of Middle-earth_, _The Lost Road and Other
Writings_, and in 'The Notion Club Papers' in _Sauron Defeated_.


= = = = In Print = = = =

_Beyond Bree_, January 2013
The newletter unsurprisingly starts this issue with reactions to the
new Jackson film and associated matters, both positive and negative.
Nancy Martsch then reviews Jef Murray's 2013 calendar, and Mark
Hooker (presumably) continues the series looking in to the word
'hobbit' by noting that it is, etymologically, a diminutive of
'hob'. Bruce Leonard's report from the Return of the Ring also
continues, covering Saturday and Sunday morning, and Jim Allen
reviews Ren�e Vink's _Wagner and Tolkien: Mythmakers_ (my own
distaste for Wagner probably makes me a very unreliable commentator
on that, though I think Allen's review makes Vink come across as an
insufferably arrogant know-it-all, which she is certainly not in
person). Various smaller letters and announcements along with the
usual columns round off this issue.


= = = = Web Sites = = = =

"The LotrProject Blog"
<http://lotrproject.com/blog/>
By Emil Johansson -- mostly a combination of Tolkien humour and
Tolkien infographics.

"Tolkien in Bengali"
<http://tolkieninbengali.com/>
Dedicated to the Bengali translations of Tolkien's work and their
illustrations.

= = = = Sources = = = =

Added this month:

Emil Johansson (EJ), "The LotrProject Blog"
<http://lotrproject.com/blog/>

See <parmarkenta.blogspot.com/p/sources.html>

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

A common mistake people make when trying to design
something completely foolproof is to underestimate the
ingenuity of complete fools.
- Douglas Adams, /Mostly Harmless/

Igenlode Wordsmith

unread,
Feb 13, 2013, 4:56:34 PM2/13/13
to
Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote in message <XnsA15AABDD...@130.133.4.11>

> January 2012
>

[snip]
> DB, Wednesday, 9 January 2013, "reviews of The Hobbit"
> <http://kalimac.blogspot.com/2013/01/reviews-of-hobbit.html> A review
> of a review of reviews? That doesn't make sense, does it? :-) David
> Bratman has collected a few reviews of Peter Jackson's _The Hobbit: An
> Unexpected Journey_ that are all remarkable for being extreme in one
> way or another.

What was the attempt -- mentioned here -- by Tolkien to rewrite "The
Hobbit" in the style of the Appendices to the Lord of the Rings which he
gave up after two chapters? I don't think I've encountered that one.


[snip]

> JDR, Thursday, 17 January 2013, "The Return of the King, Uh-huh."
> <http://sacnoths.blogspot.dk/2013/01/the-return-of-king-uh-huh.html>
> <http://preview.tinyurl.com/b4nwade>
> Art need not, of course, be just paintings and other pictures. In
> this case the art is a filk song -- the one that John Rateliff names
> "the best Tolkien filksong ever." Listen and judge for yourself if
> you agree.

That is *brilliant* (and makes me nostalgic for Bakshi and curious about
Rankin-Bass, believe it or not!)


[snip]


> "Bettering the Bumbling Bestiary: A David Day Fact Check"
> <http://www.lotrplaza.com/showthread.php?25579-Bettering-the-Bumbling-Bestiary-A-David-Day-Fact-Check>
> <http://preview.tinyurl.com/asyly2c>
> David Day is infamous in Tolkien circles for his creative
> re-interpretation of Tolkien's work, and here is a thread that goes
> through his _A Tolkien Bestiary_ (or at least has started on it),
> with a view to point out and correct the creative imprecisions,
> errors and outright misrepresentations that litter Day's work.

Hmm... glancing through the beginning of this I find myself unexpectedly
in sympathy with Day. The general gist of the commentary seems to be
that of criticism in the most minute detail (which one feels that upon
this level few works could withstand) of evocative phrases.

For instance, a listing of the Valar: "Those of the Ainur counted among
the Valar are: Manwe, the Wind King; Varda, Queen of the Stars; Ulmo,
Lord of the Waters; Nienna, the Weeper; Aule, the Smith; Yavanna, Giver
of Fruits; Orome, Lord of the Forest; Vana, the Youthful; Mandos, Keeper
of the Dead; Vaire, the Weaver; Lorien, Master of Dreams; Este, the
healer; Tulkas, the Wrestler; Nessa, the Dancer; and Melkor, later named
Morgoth the Dark Enemy."

This is criticised on the grounds that Manwe is more properly referred
to as 'Lord of the Breath of Arda‘, Varda as Queen and not Lady, Nienna
as "Lady of pity and mourning" as per the Index (although not the
Valaquenta) -- I concur that 'the Weeper' is an ungainly construction,
but it can hardly said to be an error as such -- Orome should have no
official title, Vana should be "Ever-Young" and not Youthful, Lorien and
Mandos should be Irmo and Namo (names which are used about as often as
Curufinwe) and the former should be "Master of visions and dreams"
rather than of Dreams, Este should be "the healer of hurts and of
weariness" rather than the Healer, and Tulkas "the Valiant".

In the context of such a listing, the last complaint is the only one I
would uphold as being a phrase both frequently used in the story itself
and one that is euphonious; the other changes are either very minor
abbreviations of lengthy descriptions, or rhythmic re-workings in the
vein of other Great Lists ("half-grown hobbits, the hole-dwellers").
Elsewhere the changes appear similar, with the broad gist of a
sentence/paragraph coming across as entirely unobjectionable, only for
it to be pulled apart to be condemned on the tiniest of minutiae. I'm
sure the writer didn't mean to come across as an irascible and
cloth-eared nit-picker, but the project leaves an unfortunate impression
:-(

The objection being made seems to be that David Day should have produced
a concordance consisting of verbatim quotations from Tolkien's own
words, nothing more and nothing less. From the little I have seen here
it doesn't appear that he set out to do this; he was writing a Bestiary
*based on* Tolkien's work, paraphrasing and extending it in the 'heroic'
style in his own right. What you are getting is a re-telling of material
based on the same sources -- on differing translations of the
'original', if you like :-)

--
Igenlode Visit the Ivory Tower http://ivory.vlexofree.com/Tower/

loose (archaic): set free, unleash - lose: mislay, be defeated

Paul S. Person

unread,
Feb 16, 2013, 1:49:28 PM2/16/13
to
On Wed, 13 Feb 2013 21:56:34 GMT, Igenlode Wordsmith
<Use-Author-Supplied-Address-Header@[127.1]> wrote:

>Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote in message <XnsA15AABDD...@130.133.4.11>
>
>> January 2012
>>
>
>[snip]
>> DB, Wednesday, 9 January 2013, "reviews of The Hobbit"
>> <http://kalimac.blogspot.com/2013/01/reviews-of-hobbit.html> A review
>> of a review of reviews? That doesn't make sense, does it? :-) David
>> Bratman has collected a few reviews of Peter Jackson's _The Hobbit: An
>> Unexpected Journey_ that are all remarkable for being extreme in one
>> way or another.
>
>What was the attempt -- mentioned here -- by Tolkien to rewrite "The
>Hobbit" in the style of the Appendices to the Lord of the Rings which he
>gave up after two chapters? I don't think I've encountered that one.

The second volume of /The History of The Hobbit/ presents it in full.

IIRC, it is basically a rewrite of the first two chapters or so, with
a different style. I don't recall the different style being that of
the LOTR Appendices, but it has been a while since I read any of the
relevant material.

The effort stopped when a publisher's reader, having read the material
produced so far, said (more or less) that it was very nice, but it was
not /The Hobbit/.
--
"Nature must be explained in
her own terms through
the experience of our senses."

Troels Forchhammer

unread,
Feb 16, 2013, 7:49:01 PM2/16/13
to
In message <news:ttkvh81a4jg31fhoq...@4ax.com>
Paul S. Person <pspe...@ix.netscom.com.invalid> spoke these staves:
>
> On Wed, 13 Feb 2013 21:56:34 GMT, Igenlode Wordsmith
> <Use-Author-Supplied-Address-Header@[127.1]> wrote:
>>

<snip>

>> What was the attempt -- mentioned here -- by Tolkien to rewrite
>> "The Hobbit" in the style of the Appendices to the Lord of the
>> Rings which he gave up after two chapters? I don't think I've
>> encountered that one.
>
> The second volume of /The History of The Hobbit/ presents it in
> full.
>
> IIRC, it is basically a rewrite of the first two chapters or so,
> with a different style. I don't recall the different style being
> that of the LOTR Appendices, but it has been a while since I read
> any of the relevant material.

Normally referred to as the '1960 Hobbit' it was, as Paul says, an
attempt to rewrite _The Hobbit_ to be more in the style of _The Lord
of the Rings_ -- the appendix Bratman thinks of may have been the
text now known as 'The Quest of Erebor' which was written to be an
appendix for LotR (Rateliff, in _The History of the Hobbit_ certainly
implies that this was an inspiration), but which was abandoned
because of the size, though a few hints did make it into the
published appendices (IIRC the hints are in the text on Durin's Folk
in appendix A). "The Quest of Erebor" can now be found in _The
Annotated Hobbit_ and in _Unfinished Tales_ (in, IIRC, slightly
different versions).

I cannot help but find Rateliff's criticism of the 1960 Hobbit to be
rather far from the mark -- I don't think that Bilbo is being made
considerably more foolish or bumbling than he is in the book as it is
now (nor do I think that this is true for 'The Quest of Erebor' --
anyone who stop to think about it ought to be able to get a good idea
of how Bilbo must have appeared to the Dwarves in Bag End, and
'fatuous' really only begins to describe it). Rateliff seems very
determined to distance himself (and Tolkien) from the views of _The
Hobbit_ that are implied in 'The Quest of Erebor', in the 1960 Hobbit
and in some of Tolkien's published letters, but though Tolkien did
abandon the attempt to completely rewrite the book, I doubt that it
was because he became satisfied with it.

> The effort stopped when a publisher's reader, having read the
> material produced so far, said (more or less) that it was very
> nice, but it was not /The Hobbit/.

According to Rateliff, Christopher Tolkien says that the reader was
an unidentified female friend of Tolkien's.

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

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded
gold, it would be a merrier world.
- Thorin Oakenshield, /The Hobbit/ (J.R.R. Tolkien)

Clams Canino

unread,
Feb 16, 2013, 10:06:29 PM2/16/13
to

"Troels Forchhammer" <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote in message

>> The effort stopped when a publisher's reader, having read the
>> material produced so far, said (more or less) that it was very
>> nice, but it was not /The Hobbit/.
>
> According to Rateliff, Christopher Tolkien says that the reader was
> an unidentified female friend of Tolkien's.

The bottom kine here, is that "The Hobbit" was so well established by then,
that no wholesale rewrite would have passed muster with anyome familiar with
the original text. (Human resistance to change and all that....)

-W


Troels Forchhammer

unread,
Mar 1, 2013, 6:23:34 AM3/1/13
to
In message <news:tICdnf5DNM2k1L3M...@earthlink.com>
"Clams Canino" <cc-m...@earthdink.net> spoke these staves:
>
> The bottom kine here, is that "The Hobbit" was so well established
> by then, that no wholesale rewrite would have passed muster with
> anyome familiar with the original text. (Human resistance to
> change and all that....)

I am quite sure that you are right.

And I don't think that Tolkien's own opinion of the book changed at all
-- I am sure that he would still have preferred to do the wholesale
rewrite, but he accepted as inevitable the situation you describe.
Abandoning the 1960 Hobbit and instead limiting himself to the mid-
sixties revisions in the third edition /Hobbit/ was, I believe, to
Tolkien at most the second-best solution.

This, however, is very much my own interpretation, and I am sure that
others will disagree :)

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

Love while you've got
love to give.
Live while you've got
life to live.
- Piet Hein, /Memento Vivere/
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