Tolkien Transactions XLI

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Troels Forchhammer

Oct 6, 2013, 10:18:34 AM10/6/13
September 2013

This has been a great month! I've been as busy as never before,
first with trying (and failing) to finish all my various projects
before starting the new job and then getting into speed at the new
job. I do hope that the lateness of my transactions is not going to
be a standard fixture, but it has been very difficult to find the
time to finish them this month -- actually I am not sure that they
are finished, but I need to get them out today, or it will be at
least another week before I can finish them ...

All the usual disclaimers apply about newness, completeness and
relevance (or any other implication of responsibility) :-) but this
time the disclaimer about completeness should be stressed a bit more
-- this is what I have at this time, and I need to get it out today:
if you know of other stuff, then please share in answers.

These transactions are posted to the usenet newsgroups
rec.arts.books.tolkien,, and alt.books.inklings, and
the usenet version can be accessed at
These transactions are also posted on my blog, Parma-kenta (Enquiry
into the books): <> and on LotR
Fanatics Plaza in the books forum:
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 = = = =

Hungarian Tolkien Society, Sunday, 1 September 2013, "TLV Goes
The Hungarian Tolkien Society, Magyar Tolkien Társaság, has, for the
past seven years, held an annual mail-based competition on Tolkien
topics, the TLV, Tolkien Levelezo Verseny. This year, they have
decided to add an international category open for contestants
between 15 and 35. So, if you have managed to sign up in time, it
will be an excellent opportunity to test your Tolkien mettle.
See also MB, Tuesday, 10 September 2013, "Tolkien Mailing
Competition goes international"

Zoe Hinchliffe, _Brisbane Times_, Monday, 2 September 2013, "Tolkien
fans invited to Middle Earth [sic]"
The Brisbane Tolkien Fellowship, with coordinator Fortinbras
Proudfoot, Esq. (a.k.a. Peter Kenny) is inviting Tolkien enthusiasts
and fans and other interested parties to an evening in Middle-earth
in favour of the Pyjama Foundation charity. Good luck with the

_The Telegraph_, Monday, 2 September 2013, "On the Tolkien trail"
A very nice picture gallery of Tolkien-related places including many
of the places where Tolkien lived (though it also includes some of
the more dubious "usual suspects" such as Perrot's Folly and the
Edgbaston Waterworks' Victorian chimney).

MB, Monday, 16 September 2013, "'There's an eye opener, and no
mistake' -- Greisinger Museum opened"
Congratulations to the Greisinger Musem!
The Greisinger Museum opened in the weekend of the 7-8 September in
Jenins, Switzerland, with a great gathering of Tolkien enthusiasts.
I would have loved to join the festivities, but will have to do with
Marcel's report and putting Jenins on my list of places to visit
before too long.
See also John di Bartholo, "Greisinger Museum Opening Ceremony"

MB, Tuesday, 24 September 2013, "Readings and radio plays & rumours
of an unpublished Tolkien speech"
Marcel Aubron-Bülles announces a new series on his Tolkienist blog
that will review various audio dramatizations (including readings)
of Tolkien's works, and incidentally also mentions the existence of
recordings of the Tolkiens and the possibility of hitherto unknown
recordings ...

Tunggul Wirajuda, Friday, 27 September 2013, "Tolkien Society Brings
Middle Earth to Life at Jakarta Event"
A report from the tenth anniversary party, of course named "A Long
Expected Party", of the Eorlingas -- the Indonesian Tolkien Society.
Congratulations to the Eorlingas!

= = = = Essays and Scholarship = = = =

Michael McCaughan, _Material History Review_, Tuesday, 3 September
2013, "Voyagers in the Vault of Heaven: The Phenomenon of Ships in
the Sky in Medieval Ireland and Beyond"
Though I am NOT suggesting any source relations, I could certainly
not help but think "Éala Éarendel engla beorhtast ofer middangeard
monnum sended" when reading this bit from the abstract: "This paper
explores the phenomenon of ships voyaging in the sky. Such
fantastical sightings are considered primarily in an early medieval
Irish context, but evidence from places as widely separated in time
and place as thirteenth-century England and eighteenth-century
Canada is also addressed."

Ayesha Raza, Friday, 6 September 2013, "Bodies, Saracen giants, and
the medieval romance : transgression, difference, and assimilation"
The giants and the medieval romances in the title of this 2012
Master's thesis from the Université de Montréal caught my eye (it
has been said that Tolkien's _The Lord of the Rings_ in genre terms
in many ways is closer to the medieval romance than to the modern
fantastic novel). I have scanned the introduction and the conclusion
of the thesis, and the applicability for students of Tolkien may be
limited, but I still thought it worth mentioning here.

James H. Barrett, Thursday, 12 September 2013, "What caused the
Viking Age?"
In this arcticle from _Antiquity_, Vol.82 No.317 (2008), James H.
Barrett discusses the underlying socio-economic causes for the
militant / mercantile expansion known as the Viking Age. There is of
course no way that I would _not_ find this interesting ;-)

In addition to the above, there have been a large number of
interesting-looking articles on in September -- some
of them clearly related to research that Tolkien would have found
interesting, on subjects that he worked with professionally, or on
subjects that were clearly inspirations for Tolkien's work. As
explained above, I have not had time to read anywhere near as much
as I would have liked this month, so I haven't read these, but I'll
mention a few headlines such as
"Bone-Hard Evidence" (15 Sep) asking the question "Raging marauders
or heroic warriors? What were the Vikings really like?",
"Oaths in The Battle of Maldon" (16 Sep),
"When Witches Communed with Fairies" (20 Sep),
"Creating the Christian Anglo-Saxon and the Other in the Old English
Judith and Beowulf" (21 Sep),
"The Dragon of the North: The Supernatural Nature of Knowledge in
Voluspá" (21 Sep),
"Time, consciousness and narrative play in late Medieval secular
dream poetry and framed narratives" (26 Sep),
"An Examination of the Family in 'The Tale of Sir Gareth'" (27 Sep),
"The Serpent in the Sword: Pattern-welding in Early Medieval Swords"
(28 Sep).
"Snorri's Trollwives" (29 Sep),
You'll see the point, I am sure :-)

John Garth, Friday, 27 September 2013, "Tolkien and the boy who
didn't believe in fairies"
John Garth's paper from _Tolkien Studies_ 7 is here published
on-line. David Bratman wrote about it, "I have never read a
scholarly paper that left me more thoroughly charmed than John
Garth's on Tolkien and Hugh Gilson," which is far better said than
my own terse summary of the contents from my review in _Mallorn_:
"John Garth explains that R.Q. Gilson's younger half-brother, Hugh
Cary Gilson was the boy Tolkien spoke of in an anecdote in his
drafts for 'On Fairy-Stories', and in J.R.R. Tolkien and the Boy Who
Didn't Believe in Fairies' Garth gives both the evidence and some
further information." Go read!

= = = = Commentary = = = =

BC, Monday, 2 September 2013, "Provenance of the Notion Club Papers
- both fictional and true"
One of the most interesting blog entries by Bruce Charlton for quite
a while. Charlton discusses the provenance of Tolkien's Notion Club
Papers, particularly the curious way Tolkien (with great skill, I
might add) manages to land somewhere between historical and
fictional by suggesting both.

James Dunning, Wednesday, 4 September 2013, "A passport to Faery"
A curious essay on Tolkien's Faëry and the traveller therein. I am
not entirely sure what to make of this -- Dunning appears to have
something he wishes to say, but I am not entirely sure what it is.

Leslie, Friday, 6 September 2013, "Wagner's Influence on: J.R.R.
An interesting take on the influence of Wagner on Tolkien's _The
Lord of the Rings_ focusing on the transition from Andvari's cursed
ring (with no particular influence on the later plot) to Alberich's
powerful ring in Wagner's Ring-cycle, and on the transition from
Bilbo's simple ring of invisibility to the One Ring. I quite agree
that the transition of Tolkien's ring is inspired or influenced by
Wagner's ring, though I think Shippey nails it when he calls it a
negative influence: Tolkien wanted to do better. We should not
forget that Tolkien, as far as we know, only ever saw and heard one
of the operas in Wagner's Ring-cycle, and this was after he had read
all of them -- Wagner's work, I am told (even by some who love it)
is distinctly unimpressive when merely read like that, and what
little I have read strikes me as being very poor sub-creation (Renée
Vink interestingly suggests that Wagner's mode of sub-creation is
the music, which seems to me a very reasonable suggestion -- as far
as we know, however, Tolkien only experienced the music of one of
the Ring-cycle operas). I am sure that much work can still be done
on comparing Wagner and Tolkien, e.g. on shared influences and
shared themes, but as far as Wagner's influence on Tolkien's work is
concerned, I believe that everything relevant is said in the above.

MM, Monday, 16 September 2013, "Why Does Tolkien's World Lack
Well said! Michael Martinez here rejects both the most common
criticisms against the representation of women in Tolkien's works
and the standard knee-jerk reactions of many fans. The point, as
Martinez also concludes, is that there are no, or very few,
_realistic_ women in Tolkien's work (at least among those who are
more than a quick sketch such as Rose Cotton). With a Mythopoeic
Society collection on women in Tolkien's works putting the issue on
the more serious critical agenda, it is good to see a considered,
and relatively brief, statement such as this.

Lyn Forest-Hill, Monday, 16 September 2013, "September: First
The Southampton Tolkien Reading Group (Southfarthing Smial)
continues with Garth's _Tolkien and the Great War_, this time
chapters 11 and 12, with a bit more than the usual detours. As
always the discussions are full of insights and interesting

MM, Wednesday, 25 September 2013, "How Much Was J.R.R. Tolkien
Influenced by Wagner's Ring Cycle?"
I cannot go the whole way with Michael Martinez in this question,
but he has some very perceptive insights, including the point that
elements of the transition of Bilbo's ring to the Master Ring borrow
from the Silmarils. As for the larger question, I think think it is
foolish to reject the idea that other aspects of this transition
derive, whether consciously or not, from Wagner's treatment of the
old Germanic legends. I have, however, not seen any convincing
arguments that other aspects of Tolkien's work than the transition
of the Ring should derive from Wagner. We know that Tolkien was
reading at least parts of Wagner's ring-cycle (and that he watched a
single of the operas of the cycle), and my impression is that
Wagner's story-telling and sub-creation, _if read in this way_, is
distinctly unimpressive (see also above).

Ernie Rea, BBC Radio 4, Monday, 30 September 2013, "Beyond Belief:
JRR Tolkien"
Alison Milbank, Joseph Pearce, and Ronald Hutton join with Ernie Rea
for a talk about the enduring appeal of Tolkien's work (particularly
_The Lord of the Rings_), and as a bonus there is a pre-recorded
interview with the actor Robert Hardy who studied under both C.S.
Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien at Oxford. They have a truly fascinating
discussion about the pagan and Christian symbology in _The Lord of
the Rings_, though I am sorry to say that Joseph Pearce does not
come across here as particularly perceptive in his reading of
Tolkien which in many instances seems to me forced (I am not sure if
that is the right word -- it seems to me that he is squeezing
Tolkien's work into a shape that will fit the mould that he has in

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

The Italian Group on Tolkien Studies, Tuesday, 10 September 2013,
"Call for Paper: "Tolkien and the Classics""
As it says, a call for papers for an upcoming (December 2014)
collection titled _Tolkien and the Classics_ that will, of course,
investigate the relations between Tolkien's writings and the
classics. I hope the book will be released in English as well, or at
least that the papers submitted in English will become available in
that language.

DAA, Thursday, 19 September 2013, "Lost in Translation (the German
one, specifically)"
Douglas A. Anderson writes about some of the problems facing authors
of popular books on Tolkienian matters when they find their work
translated, both in general terms and with regards to a specific
translation. Seeing the problems introduced in this particular
translation, and remembering the comments Tolkien had on some of the
translations he was able to read, one can wonder what happens in
translations where the author has no chance of checking what is
published in their name ... In related news the comments show the
great helpfulness general found among Tolkienists, which is really
good to see!

Laura H., Oloris Publishin, Sunday, 22 September 2013, "Silver
Leaves Issue 5: The Hobbit -- Now Available!"
I suppose that the headline says it all -- issue 5 of _Silver
Leaves_ sub-titled 'The Hobbit' is now available for order. My
review will follow when I've had the time to go through it.

PC, Monday, 23 September 2013, "The pocket Roverandom by J.R.R.
A new edition of this children's book by Tolkien edited by Tolkien
specialists Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond.

PC, Tuesday, 24 September 2013, "The Riddles of The Hobbit by Adam
About a new book, _The Riddles of The Hobbit_, which is a critical
discussion of the riddles in _The Hobbit_ by Adam Roberts. Though
somewhat surprised not to find any mention of the Saga of King
Heidrik the Wise, I am intrigued by the review here.

= = = = Interviews = = = =

Thomas Quinn, _The Big Issue_, Tuesday, 3 September 2013, "The
Hobbit and I: Jemima Catlin on Reinventing a Legend"
As announced last month -- a wonderful and charming interview with
various of Catlin's illustrations for _The Hobbit_ and the story of
how she got to be chosen for the job.

= = = = Tolkienian Artwork = = = =

JD, Saturday, 7 September 2013, "A sorrowful meeting"
A meeting of Finarfin and Galadriel, father and daughter, about the
time of the War of Wrath (well, depending on the version, but before
Galadriel went further east with Celeborn).

Joe Gilronan, Sunday, 8 September 2013, "Osgiliath (Pause For
This picture by Joe Gilronan is, to my eyes quite nice -- though it
doesn't really match up with anything in Tolkien's story, there is
an air to the picture that is nonetheless reminiscent of Ithilien.

Joe Gilronan, Sunday, 22 September 2013, "Bilbo's Eleventy-First
Birthday (The Party Tree) Happy Hobbit Day."
Bag End at the party. Bilbo has just disappeared and stands outside
Bag End, having taken off the Ring, and enjoys the commotion (quite
practically the tent as been abandoned). A following post (from 23
Sep) shows Bag End on the following morning (considering the age of
Merry and Pippin as well as Sam's subservient status at this point,
I suppose it can be argued that it is not quite appropriate to have
the four of them chatting idly before the gate of Bag End, but
that's what artistic license is for, isn't it)

= = = = Other Stuff = = = =

MM, Monday, 9 September 2013, "Why Didn't the Elves Help the Dwarves
in the Hobbit?"
Michael Martinez is back with his series of short(ish) answers to
story-internal (or "Ardalogical" if you're more familiar with the
Unquendor term) questions. This kind of discussions is not my main
focus with these transactions, but I wanted to highlight that
Michael has started blogging his answers again (and you will find
references to a couple of less story-internal questions above).

"Gibbelins", Wednesday, 11 September 2013, "The Familiar Face of the
A curious article in which the author gives a fairly reasonable
summary of some aspects of Tolkien's Orcs (obviously _much_ more
can, and should, be said about them than this) and particularly how
Tolkien himself used the image of the Orc in contemporary
commentary. The text itself is, despite its lack of depth,
uncontroversial, but the use of portraits of modern politicians to
illustrate the text may be seen as rather more controversial.

BBC, Monday, 23 September 2013, "Did gold ring inspire Tolkien's
Lord of the Rings?"
I've been debating internally whether to include this piece or not,
but in the end I've decided it is better to set some things
straight. There is no evidence suggesting that Tolkien visited the
Lydney Park dig, actually what little evidence there is (all of it
circumstantial) suggests that he did _not_ visit the dig. Similarly
there is nothing to suggest that Tolkien knew of the gold ring that
had been found elsewhere at another time -- Tolkien's only
involvement was the name Nodens, and the ring offers no link or clue
to this name. All in all careful analysis leads a rational student
to reject the ideas presented here (unless and until, of course,
further, and far stronger, evidence should be discovered).

Lauren Davis, Sunday, 29 September 2013, "Are Elvish, Klingon,
Dothraki and Na'vi real languages?"
A look at languages through the lens of constructed languages
(conlangs) and particularly Tolkien's Elvish languages. Apart,
possibly, from some of the other conlangs mentioned, there is little
new to the dedicated Tolkien student, but the presentation and the
animation adds something here, making it worth watching.

= = = = Web Sites = = = =

The Norse Mythology Online Library
I've listed the Norse Mythology Blog before, but I hadn't realised
that there is a large on-line library on Norse (and related) topics
... enter at your peril -- or at least at the peril of your time!

"The Lord of the Rings and its Medieval Origins: The Bones in the
A wonderful resource on the medieval sources for _The Lord of the
Rings_ by Alaric Hall. Here is a good opportunity for a bit of
research to fill any non-existing slow periods at work ...

Kristine Larsen, "The Astronomy of Middle-earth: Astronomical Motifs
and Motivations in the Work of J.R.R. Tolkien"
A list of Kristine Larsen's writings on this topic, a number of
which are available on-line in which cases the list includes a

J.R.R. Tolkien singing extract from The Hobbit "That's what Bilbo
Baggins hates"
In the Master's own voice ... what more needs to be said? This,
surely, is _not_ what Bilbo Baggins hates ;-)

= = = = 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"
No posts in September 2013

Jason Fisher (JF) -- "Lingwë -- Musings of a Fish"
No posts in September 2013

Pieter Collier (PC), "The Tolkien Library"
In addition to the three posts mentioned above, there are a few
other more or less Tolkien-related posts in September 2013

Douglas A. Anderson (DAA), "Tolkien and Fantasy"
1 Tolkien-related post in September 2013, mentioned above.

John D. Rateliff (JDR) -- "Sacnoth's Scriptorium"
Apart from a line wishing a happy Hobbit Day on the 22nd, there are
no Tolkien-related posts in September 2013

Marcel Aubron-Bülles (MB), "The Tolkienist"
3 (+1) Tolkien-related posts in September 2013 -- in addition to the
three posts mentioned above, there is a post with various pictures
from Tolkien-related events and travels.

David Bratman (DB), "Kalimac"
and the old home:
The closest to a Tolkien-related post in September 2013 is the 7
September "rename notice" that explains that the name of the
Livejournal is now spelled correctly, "Kalimac" -- the Tolkien
relation of course coming from this name and the associated
explanation for the name.

Jenny Dolfen (JD), "Jenny's Sketchbook"
A single Tolkien-related posts in September 2013 (see above) --
apart from this, Jenny Dolfen has been pursuing Hannibal this month,
which is definitely also worth taking a look at.

Holly Rodgers (HR), "Teaching Tolkien"
A single post in September 2013 about watching the New Line Cinema
version of _The Fellowship of the Ring_ with a live philharmonic
orchestra playing the music.

Anna Smol (AS), "A Single Leaf"
No posts in September 2013

Various, The Mythopoeic Society
A single review of two Lewis books is the only post in September

Morgan Thomsen (MT), "Mythoi"
No posts in September 2013

Emil Johansson (EJ), "LotR Project Blog"
A single Tolkien-related post in September 2013 on Hobbit Day.

Michael Martinez (MM), "Middle-earth"
16 Tolkien-related posts in September 2013 including the three posts
mentioned above.

Bruce Charlton (BC), "Tolkien's The Notion Club Papers"
3 Tolkien-related posts in September 2013

= = = = Sources = = = =

No new sources in September 2013

For older sources, see <>

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

"He deserves death."
"Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve
death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to
them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in
judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends."
- Frodo and Gandalf, /The Fellowship of the Ring/ (J.R.R. Tolkien)

Troels Forchhammer

Oct 6, 2013, 11:56:00 AM10/6/13
In message <news:XnsA251A5E8...@>
Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> spoke these staves:
> September 2013


In case Google Groups continues not to display the main post, the
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Troels Forchhammer
Valid e-mail is <troelsfo(a)>
Please put [AFT], [RABT] or 'Tolkien' in subject.

Truth in science can be defined as the working hypothesis
best suited to open the way to the next better one.
- Konrad Lorenz
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