Tolkien Transactions XLVIII

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Troels Forchhammer

May 18, 2014, 9:16:06 AM5/18/14
April 2014

This issue of my Tolkien Transactions is already much delayed, and
there is, I think, no reason to delay it any further. It does seem
to me that I must have missed some things at the start of the month,
but though I have tried to look back, it is a feature of my RSS
reader that posts that I have marked as unread nonetheless disappear
from sight after little more than a month.

All the usual disclaimers apply about newness, completeness and
relevance (or any other implication of responsibility) :-)

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: The Blog Roll
9: Sources

= = = = News = = = =

Daniel Helen, TS, Wednesday, 16 April 2014, "Beowulf Launch Party"
On the on-line launch party for Tolkien's _Beowulf_ translation that
the Tolkien Society organises along with others.

Shaun Gunner, TS, Sunday, 20 April 2014, "Inaugural Tolkien Society
Award Winners"
The winners of the first Tolkien Society Awards -- congratulations

= = = = Essays and Scholarship = = = =
As usual, I don't think you need me to point out the many intriguing
headlines on old Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian culture, so I will
just point out ones that have stuck out more than usual for me:
"The Concept of Time in the Medieval World View" (2 Apr) -- The
concept of time is of course also hugely important in Tolkien's
Fa�rie, so this article is quite interesting, though I would have
liked to see even more about the meeting of secular time with
"Returning the King: The Medieval King in Modern Fantasy" (5 Apr) --
A 2012 Master's Thesis.
"Theories of the Nonsense Word in Medieval England" (8 Apr) -- A
Ph.D. dissertation from Princeton, 2013 ... confusticate and
bebother these scholars ... :-)
"Old Norse Influence in Modern English: The Effect of the Viking
Invasion" (12 Apr) -- I guess there was just no way that I could
leave out something with that headline, was there ;)
"Enabling Love: Dwarfs in Old Norse-Icelandic Romances" (27 Apr) --
On the role of dwarfs in medieval and later folklore -- including a
role as enablers of love.
"Boethius's Misguided Theodicy: The Consolation of Philosophy" (28
Apr) -- Anicius Bo�thius is often mentioned in relation to Tolkien.
Though I think it is often because Bo�thius offers a philosophical
foundation that is medieval and yet relatively accessible to a
modern audience, it is nonetheless relevant for the student of
Tolkien to also keep an eye out for insights into the medieval
religious philosophy represented by e.g. Bo�thius.

Susan Abernethy, Friday, 18 March 2014, "Offa, Anglo-Saxon King of
You do know, I trust, that Tolkien identified himself as Mercian or
Hwiccian, but how well do you know the history of Mercia and Hwicce?
My own knowledge is certainly not above appreciating a bit of a
history lesson on King Offa of Mercia.

AH, Monday, 21 April 2014, "Travels on the Oloremalle -- The Musings
of a Tolkien Researcher"
Andrew Higgins has started blogging on the Tolkien Society web-site,
calling his series of blogs the "Travels on the Oloremalle"
(referring to the Ol�r� Mall� -- the Path of Dreams -- in _The Book
of Lost Tales_). Andy is doing a Ph.D. on the earliest stages of
Tolkien's mythology, and his bloggings are a must-read for anyone
interested in the genesis and emergence of the Middle-earth

Shreyas Warrier, Thursday, 24 April 2014, "Guest speaker explores
the mysteries of Tolkien"
A report from a speech by Maria Cecire on "Unfashionable Creatures:
Tolkien's 1931 Curricular Reforms and the Fantastic Imagination" at
Brandeis University.

MM, Tuesday,29 April 2014, "J.R.R. Tolkien Slept Here"
Being of a scientific persuation myself, I might wish for just a bit
more justification / confirming evidence (in the Bayesian sense)
than just getting the hypothesized cause _before_ the proposed
effect, but otherwise I largely agree with what Martinez has to say

Andrew Higgins, Wednesday, 30 April 2014, "Travels on the Oloremalle
-- Questing for The Leaf-Mould of Tolkien's Mind"
Here Andrew, in addition to talking about his current projects,
gives some excellent resources for someone interested in trying to
understand something of the mind-set of the literature with which
Tolkien grew up and which he studied while at university (perhaps it
would be more appropriate to describe it in the plural -- the many
mind-sets of many authors that all form a part of that leaf-mould of
the mind in which Tolkien's works grew).

= = = = Commentary = = = =

Josh Jones, Wednesday, 2 April 2014, "Read an Excerpt of J.R.R.
Tolkien's 1926 Translation of Beowulf Before It's Finally Published
Next Month"
Along with an introductory discussion of the poem, Jones compares a
few lines from Tolkien's alliterating translation that are, IIRC,
known from Michael Drout's work on Tolkien and Beowulf, to Heaney's
1999 translation.

Mabel Slattery, Saturday, 5 April 2014, "Why J.R.R. Tolkien's
Beowulf translation is one of the best things to happen to
A coherent argument from someone who is not herself a fan of
Tolkien's fiction, but a huge fan of his work on Old English.

Sean Michaels, _National Post_, Tuesday, 22 April 2014, "On J.R.R.
"This is what sets [Tolkien's] Middle Earth [sic] apart from [...]:
those lands have fine yarns, but they never taught me anything about
myself." Need I say more? This is exactly what sets Tolkien's work
apart: it allows the attentive and thoughtful readers to learn
something about themselves!

Daniel Hannan, Monday, 28 April 2014, "Supposing him to be the
gardener: Sam Gamgee, the Battle of the Somme and my Great Uncle
Perhaps not terribly interesting from a Tolkien perspective, but
still a good way to approach Faramir's commnet, "You are a new
people and a new world to me. Are all your kin of like sort? Your
land must be a realm of peace and content, and there must gardeners
be in high honour."

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

PC, Saturday, 26 April 2014, "Moments of Grace and Spiritual Warfare
in The Lord of the Rings"
The question of religious meaning in Tolkien's work is probably
always going to be contentious because people will insist on reading
their own meaning into his work, and thus tend to either exaggerate
or understate the importance of Tolkien's own faith in shaping his
Sometimes it is merely a matter of language -- I am often far more
comfortable with a statement that "this is what I get from reading
it" compared to the claim that "this is what Tolkien intended us to
get from reading it".
In any case, I have long since found that a bit more than a passing
knowledge of medieval Catholic philosophy is invaluable when trying
to carefully excavate deeper layers of Tolkien's work.

AS, Sunday, 27 April 2014, "Dictionnaire Tolkien review in
Medievally Speaking"
Commenting on her review of _Dictionnaire Tolkien_ from _Medievally
Speaking_ (see last month), Anna Smol takes up on the question of
the translation and reception of Tolkien's works in other languages.
This is indeed an interesting topic. Most of the discussion that I
know of looks at single languages (comparing translations,
discussing translation choices etc.) and it could be interesting to
see a thorough study of translations in general (there is Allan
Turner's contribution, "A Theoreticl Model for Tolkien Translation
Criticism" in the book _Tolkien in Translation_ (ed. Thomas
Honegger, Walking Tree Publishers, Cormar� series no. 4).

= = = = Interviews = = = =

Philipp Rhensius, _Der Spiegel_, Monday, 7 April 2014, "J. R. R.
Tolkien und der Erste Weltkrieg: "Mordor erinnert an Schlachtfelder
und Sch�tzengr�ben""
An interview, in German, with John Garth, about his book, _Tolkien
and the Great War_, which has been published in German. The
description of the TCBS core as believing with "jugendlichem
�bermut" that they could help change the world through Art sticks
out -- if the interview was conducted in English, I suspect that
Garth did not use _ofermod_ to describe the TCBS, but it might not
be wholly inappropriate.

Corey Olsen, Wednesday, 16 April 2014, "Listen In - Dr. Robin Reid
An interesting interview with Dr. Reid who will be teaching a course
on the cultural studies and audience reception approaches to
Tolkien's work.

Stacia Joy, Thursday, 3 April 2014, "Author/Illustrator Interview:
Jenny Dolfen and 'Darkness Over Cannae'"
A good interview with Jenny Dolfen -- mostly about her newest
project, 'Darkness over Cannae', but of course it is not possible to
avoid Tolkien entirely.

= = = = Tolkienian Artwork = = = =

Graeme, Saturday, 12 April 2014, "Where are we?"
The two 'lost' blue Wizards ...

MB, Wednesday, 16 April 2014, "A wealth of art at HobbitCon"
On the Tolkien-inspired art at HobbitCon -- and yes, those artists
really are good!

Jef Murray, Thursday, 24 April 2014, "The Knighting of Gimli"
Gimli being knighted by Galadriel -- an interesting way of showing
the bond between the two.

Jef Murray, Friday, 25 April 2014, "Echoes on the Road"
A scene from Three is Company where one of the three Hobbits (Frodo?
He's a bit sturdy, as Frodo was when they set out, and seems the
older of the three) is looking behind them with some concern,
listening, I think, for the sound of hooves.

JGi, Sunday, 27 April 2014, "A Stroll Through The Shire"
Is that Bilbo taken a stroll? Or perhaps a young master Frodo who
has gotten used to being the master of Bag End ...

Jools, Monday, 28 April 2014, "The Grey Wanderer"
A knitted Gandalf ... and he's a wonder!

JD, Tuesday, 29 April 2014, "It's a GO! Darkness over Cannae on
Though strictly speaking not Tolkien, I can break my own rules as
often as I like, and there was no way that I would not mention Jenny
Dolfen's brilliant 'Darkness over Cannae' project, that is doing a
pre-order/fundraiser at Indiegogo:
This promises to be a both interesting and beautiful historical
novel, so get yourselves there and help bring even more perks to the
supporters :-D

= = = = Other Stuff = = = =

Brian Sibley, Thursday, 17 April 2014, "Here There be Dragons"
A single Tolkien-inspired work, but otherwise also a fantastic
gallery of artwork from a book of art by Ian Miller -- including
dragons, and "the world that contained even the imagination of
F�fnir was richer and more beautiful, at whatever cost of peril."
Though not (at least not all of them) F�fnir, Miller's dragons do
make the world a richer place.

Dean Burnett, _The Guardian_, Thursday, 24 April 2014, "Here be
dragons: the science of the flying fiery reptiles"
Posted on the day after St. George's day, this article on dragons in
general seems highly appropriate. Looking at the plausibility of
dragons is, of course, a bit of good fun, but as Tolkien also knew,
there is something incredibly attractive about the idea of the
Dragon -- something that leaves the world both richer and more
beautiful for being.

= = = = The Blog Roll = = = =

These are blogs you really should be following yourself if you're
interested in Tolkien ...
This month, being late and all, I've just reduced the list to those
who have posted in April (whether Tolkien-related or not), without
giving details on posts not discussed above.

Pieter Collier (PC), "The Tolkien Library"

John D. Rateliff (JDR) -- "Sacnoth's Scriptorium"

Marcel Aubron-B�lles (MB), "The Tolkienist"

David Bratman (DB), "Kalimac"

Jenny Dolfen (JD), "Jenny's Sketchbook"

Anna Smol (AS), "A Single Leaf"

Various, The Mythopoeic Society

The Tolkien Society (TS)

Southfarthing Mathom

Michael Martinez (MM), "Middle-earth"

Bruce Charlton (BC), "Tolkien's The Notion Club Papers"

= = = = Sources = = = =

No new sources added in April 2014. For older sources, see

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

Elen s�la l�menn' omentielvo
- /The Fellowship of the Ring/ (J.R.R. Tolkien)
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