Just for the fun of it, I tried to estimate how many items that were
in my 'Tolkien' folder in February 2012 in my RSS reader -- just
short of 400. Of course I haven't read all of that in detail, and I
suppose that this hasn't even been a particulary busy month in that
respect, but in a month that has been filled with other tasks,
getting through even the few of all these items that I had marked
for reading has been daunting. Still, here it is, such as it is.
As usual I claim absolutely nothing about newness, completeness and
relevance (and I certainly reject any other implication of
= = = = News = = = =
"ShadowCa7", Wednesday, 4 January 2012, "The Hobbit Misty Mountains
-- 27 Verse FULL Length COVER with Lyrics"
A young woman has recorded all 27 verses that Tolkien wrote to the
"Far over misty mountains cold" song (the Dwarves sing some new
verses to cheer up Thorin after Smaug's death) to the tune used in
the trailer for _The Hobbit_ film set for release this coming
December. Personally I think the hauntingly ethereal tune is more
appropriate for Elves than for Dwarves (in the story it is used as a
kind of battle song), but with that in mind I think her voice is
very appropriate for the tune.
Duncan Hall, _Digital Journal_, Wednesday, 1 February 2012, "Tolkien
letter discovered in book sold for over £1,500"
This is about the holiday letter that was discussed in the January
issue, and which has now been sold for £1700. If ever I win a
million or two, I think I'll start collecting :-)
Ethan Gilsdorf, _Wired.com_, Wednesday, 1 February 2012, "Unknown
Tolkien Letter Falls Out of Book"
Eric Rezsnyak, _City Newspaper_, Thursday, 16 February 2012,
"THEATER REVIEW: Rochester Children's Theatre's "The Hobbit""
> The reviewer is quite happy
with the 'stage magic' employed to bring Tolkien's children's story
to the stage in Rochester, though there are a few comments that I,
based on 'On Fairy-stories' think that Tolkien would have found
issue with -- not least the comment that 'kids love stories
featuring dragons and swords and all that good stuff' -- for my own
part I think that kids far more love the thrilling fright of the
on-rushing goblins that the reviewer warns against (he doesn't
report children crying which would, of course, change things).
Ilya Kozlovskiy, Monday, 20 February 2012, "Tolkien theme park will
be built in Poland"
A live-action role-playing theme park based on Tolkien's books is
being planned in Poland . . .
Tessa Hoffman, Wednesday, 22 February 2012, "Sculpture a towering
creation in Coburg"
A miniature of Howe's vision of Barad-dûr as it appeared in the New
Line Cinema films (once more proving that Ruth Lacon is entirely
right in her assessment of the pervasiveness of the New Line Cinema
films' visual conception). This is made in balsa wood and plaster
and stands about 2 m (still a miniature compared to the mile-high
tower envisioned in the films).
= = = = Essays and Scholarship = = = =
PC, "Original photograph of J.R.R. Tolkien signed and dedicated to
Patrick Hunt, plus signed letter"
I am not entirely sure when exactly Pieter put this item on-line,
but do take a look -- the story of Tolkien writing to a man in
prison, who has found some consolation in reading Tolkien's books
adds something to this letter.
JW, Wednesday, 1 February 2012, "Tolkien's incarnate angels"
The first of many highly interesting posts that Jonathan McIntosh
has made during February. I shan't be able to comment upon them all,
so get yourself to this one, read it, and start hitting "Next" until
you've come through them all. In this post McIntosh looks at
Tolkien's Ainur as, in some respects, a response, or reaction, to
St. Thomas. This line of inquiry into the self-incarnation of the
Ainur compared to the angelology of St. Thomas Aquinas as well as
other aspects of the Ainur (and, in particular the Maiar of these
mostly the Istari) is followed up in some of the following posts
e.g. on the 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th.
H&S, Wednesday, 8 February 2012, "Lord of the Rings Comparison"
A comparison of some of the many post-2005 printings of _The Lord of
the Rings_ to see which of the known addenda and corrigenda that
have been taken up in these. It is, I suppose, no surprise that no
edition has incorporated all of them, and though a bit frustrating,
I suppose that one shouldn't be surprised either that different
editions / printings incorporate different corrections. Still, warm
expressions of gratitude for the meticulous work (and the final
summary) are in order for Christina and Wayne: Thank you!
JW, Saturday, 18 February 2012, "Gandalf, O.S.A."
In his discussions of the Wizards in particular, and the Ainur in
general, Jonathan McIntosh has come to Gandalf's admonition to Frodo
not to 'deal out death in judgement' which he compares to a text by
H&S, Saturday, 18 February 2012, "Foreword to _The Hobbit_"
On Christopher Tolkien's foreword to _The Hobbit_ and its evolution
from its first appearance in 1987.
JW, Monday, 20 February 2012, "Creation: choosing the possible, or
choosing from the possible?"
> While not directly connected to
Tolkien, I think the discussion of the nature of the divine free
will (that only truly free will, according to Tolkien, as he
considered the freedom of willing for any creatures to be
derivative) is not only interesting, but also pertains to our
understanding of Tolkien's writings, in particular the
JW, Tuesday, 21 February 2012, "Grendel and the
'un-theologizing' of Ungoliant"
There is something incredibly reassuring about an author that is
willing to reconsider an opinion based on new evidence -- of course
it happens all the time in the sciences, but still ;) In this case,
however, I am not convinced that Jonathan McIntosh needs to revise
his earlier position -- a tiny bit of softening up, perhaps, but I
don't think that there is reason for a complete rejection. The topic
is the nature of Wirilóme / Ungoliant and how it changes from _The
Book of Lost Tales_ to the 'Later Silmarillion' (see _Morgoth's
Ring_) and how this exemplifies some of the general changes that
Tolkien's legendarium underwent.
JW, Thursday, 23 February 2012, "Homer vs. Beowulf: Tolkien and
Nietzsche on the necessity of Monsters"
> This is the first of a couple
of posts that focus on some of Tolkien's response to _Beowulf_ and
the Northern spirit -- in this case the ideal of 'martial heroism'.
No such discussion would be complete without quoting Faramir, which
Jonathan McIntosh brings in in the follow-up post posted on the
JW, Saturday, 25 February 2012, "Théoden and Denethor compared
Comparing and contrasting Théoden and Denethor is not a new game,
but there are some ideas here that I haven't seen elaborated before,
but which seems quite interesting. In particular the way these two
use the people around them, with Théoden relying on family, riders,
servants, counsellors etc. Denethor is far more self-reliant (and
thus, presumably, lonesome). The discussion is followed up upon on
the 26th, where the way these two rulers relate to, and use, their
Hobbit retainers is discussed.
JW, Wednesday, 29 February 2012, "Boethius and Tolkien on providence
A comparison between the distinction Boethius makes between
providence and fate and then the distinctions inherent in Tolkien's
_Ainulindalë_. I am very pleased the Jonathan McIntosh notes the
_differences_ between Boethius' description and Tolkien's set-up.
While there is much in Boethius that can be used as a very valuable
starting point when wanting to understand the providential set-up of
Tolkien's sub-creation, it is also, I think, important to note that
there are some significant deviations in what Tolkien did. Notably
Boethius' set-up (obviously) doesn't allow for Elves, and thus not
for the different models of relating to 'fate' (the Music) that
apply to Men and Elves.
Steuard Jensen, February 2012, "Tom Bombadil is not Aule (and
Goldberry is not Yavanna)"
The idea that Tom Bombadil is Aulë in some kind of diguise has,
unfortunately, been quite persistent on the internet, and so it is
to be hoped that Steuard's detailed response in which the idea is
thoroughly refuted (with an admirable grasp of the strength of the
evidence) can help weed out this attractive, but fatally flawed,
= = = = Book News = = = =
JF, Sunday, 5 February 2012, "Is this a review? You tell me."
The review of _Tolkien and the Study of His Sources_ that appeared
in the January 2012 issue of _Amon Hen_ (#233) is, very justifiably,
criticised for not being a real review. The review is reproduced
here in its entirety, but the most worthwhile thing is to simply
skip it and move to the comments . . .
JF, Thursday, 9 February 2012, "My book reviewed in Beyond Bree"
Jason Fisher has received permission also to reproduce Nancy
Martsch's review of _Tolkien and the Study of His Sources_ from
_Beyond Bree_ October 2011, and at the same time he seizes the
opportunity to add a few comments, both in general on the reception
of the book, and at a couple of places on things in the _Beyond
Bree_ review. Martsch is very positive about the book (I agree with
the overall positive note, though I also think that there are some
two or three contributions that fall significantly below the quality
level set by the other contributions), calling it "an excellent book
which can serve as a 'how-to' guide for both research and writing."
Janet Brennan Croft, _Mythlore_, Friday, 10 February 2012, "Various
'[This review originally appeared in Mythlore 115/116.]'
Janet Brennan Croft here reviews issues of four scholarly journals
of Tolkien & Inkling interest. The journals are _Fastitocalon:
Studies in Fantasticism Ancient to Modern_ issue 1.2 (2010),
_Journal of Inklings Studies_ issue 1.1 (March 2011), _VII: An
Anglo-American Literary Review_ issue 27 (2010) and _Tolkien
Studies: An Annual Scholarly Review_ issue 7 (2010). Croft's review
is of course focused on a specific issue of each journal, but she
includes some more general comments on the scholarly aspirations of
the journal -- what are the interests of the editors etc.
David Larsen, _New Zealand Listener_, Sunday, 18 February 2012, "The
Art of the Hobbit by JRR Tolkien by Wayne G Hammond and Christina
> A review of _The Art of the
= = = = Other Stuff = = = =
JH, Wednesday, 15 February 2012, "Images Were Magic Once"
John Howe has written a very nice piece about the power of images,
though I think he forgets that _letters_ became even more magic than
the pictures -- but that may be just my own preferences shining
through again :)
JDR, Friday, 24 February 2012, "Rewatching Peter Jackson"
An interested account of John Rateliff's recent reviewing of Peter
Jackson's _The Fellowship of the Ring_ -- overall I find that I
agree with most of what he says, and I certainly agree with the
comment that 'even those who don't like them as adaptations of
Tolkien's work' may find it 'pretty clear that they are excellent
films' (or at least that _The Fellowship of the Ring_ is that).
Brendon Connelly, Friday, 24 February 2012, "Does This Lord Of The
Rings Family Tree Teach Us Anything About Gender Representation In
> Having played around with the
much advertised family tree project (see last month's transactions),
Brendon Connelly has noticed the gender discrepancy, but apparently
without realising that the majority of the entries in the trees
aren't characters in the books, but mere names of rulers in the
(mostly) patrilinear ruling families of Middle-earth. The surprise
should possibly be that Tolkien does include cases where the right
to rule is inherited through a mother rather than a father (without
ever coming out and saying it, I think that Tolkien implies that the
Lords of Andúnië, and thus the Line of Elendil, were the more true
heirs to the Line of Elros).
AW, Tuesday, 28 February 2012, "Tolkien's favourite tree"
A nice picture of Tolkien's favourite tree in the Oxford Botanical
Garden from February 2012.
= = = = Rewarding Discussions = = = =
February has seen me finish my last tasks for Nokia. I am still
employed by them, but my tasks are now all aiming at my future
outside Nokia. It is, I think, a very generous severance package
that Nokia has offered us, and so I feel no bitterness towards Nokia
for closing down a site that I have been very happy to work at.
However I have been keeping so busy all month that I have not had
time to follow any discussions (barely time to be present in the
newsgroups and web-sites that I usually frequent), and so I can't
really emphasise any of this month's discussions as particularly
= = = = Web Sites = = = =
The Flame Imperishable
Once in a while you are lucky enough to find a blog that has been
going on for a while and and feel (apart from the exhileration of
finding a nugget) chagrined that you hadn't found it before (and
even more so at the thought of the vast back-list of
interesting-looking posts that you would like to read). This is how
I felt when I discovered Jonathan McIntosh's 'The Flame
Imperishable' blog. McIntosh is a Ph.D. in philosophy and teaches at
New Saint Andrews College in Idaho, and in his blog he writes about
'Tolkien, St. Thomas, and other purveyors of the Philosophia
Perennis'. This philosophical approach to Tolkien's writings is not
very common in English-language blogs, and so my desire for this has
certainly not yet been sated :-)
A fan-page including a couple of interesting bits such as a list of
women of Middle-earth and an index to _The Hobbit_.
Joe Gilronan (Tolkien inspired art)
There's some rather nice pictures here by Joe Gilronan. I like the
way that he leaves details just slightly unclear -- enough that you
would not, for instance, be able to recognize any of the characters
that he depicts on the street. This way the pictures still leave
something for the viewer to fill in, which I think is a good thing
(and probably something that Tolkien would also have approved of).
J.R.R. Tolkien - Fantasy Literature - Research Guides at Pima
listing of some of the most interesting Tolkien-related scholarly
contents on the internet, including free e-books and sample
chapters, articles and other good stuff. There is a lot of good
things to mine in this (though it is a bit sad that it lists Gene
Hargrove's Bombadil essay without the later refutations of his,
logically unsustainable, idea about the nature of Tom B.).
= = = = Sources = = = =
John D. Rateliff (JDR) -- "Sacnoth's Scriptorium"
Jason Fisher (JF) -- "Lingwë -- Musings of a Fish"
Michael Drout (MD) -- "Wormtalk and Slugspeak"
Wayne G. Hammond & Christina Scull (H&S) -- "Too Many Books and
Pieter Collier (PC) -- "The Tolkien Library"
Douglas A. Anderson (DAA) et Al. -- "Wormwoodiana"
Corey Olsen (CO), "The Tolkien Professor"
David Bratman (DB), "Kalimac"
and the old home:
Larry Swain (LS), "The Ruminate"
Andrew Wells (AW), "Musings of an Aging Fan"
Various, 'The Northeast Tolkien Society' (NETS), "Heren Istarion"
Bruce Charlton (BC), "Tolkien's The Notion Club Papers"
Andrew Higgins (AH), "Wotan's Musings"
Various, The Mythopoeic Society
Henry Gee (HG) 'cromercrox', "The End of the Pier Show"
Jonathan S. McIntosh (JM), "The Flame Imperishable"
John Howe (JH)
David Simmons (DS), "Aiya Ilúvatar"
Michael Martinez (MM), "Tolkien Studies Blog"
Michael Martinez (MM), "Middle-earth"
Troels Forchhammer (TF), "Parmar-kenta"
_Mythprint_ -- 'The Monthly Bulletin of the Mythopoeic Society'
_Amon Hen_ -- the Bulletin of the Tolkien Society
- and others
Valid e-mail is <troelsfo(a)gmail.com
Please put [AFT], [RABT] or 'Tolkien' in subject.
As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they
are not certain, as far as they are certain, they do not
refer to reality.
- Albert Einstein