Given the huge amount of Tolkien-related stuff that is going on on
the internet every month, these _Transactions_ are inevitably going
to reflect my personal tastes and prejudices -- there is no way that
I would be able to even read, much less comment upon, every single
Tolkien-related item that I come across.
Much is sorted away based merely on headline and preview, while
other things are quickly closed. This e.g. happens to reviews of
other authors whose work is compared to Tolkien as well as to most
of the rumours concerning the _Hobbit_ films that are being made in
New Zealand. I am not much interested in films in any case and so I
am utterly indifferent to any discussion of which actor gets to play
which part and similar rumours.
Inevitably I will miss something -- it would be naïve to think
otherwise, and I often discover things soon after posting that ought
to have been included, which is why you will occasionally find items
listed with dates that lie before the start of the month of the
issue in question. I am grateful for any suggestions and pointers
that you can come up with, so please post them! As usual I make no
claims about newness, exhaustiveness and relevance, but contrary to
earlier statements, I actually am proud enough of this to take full
responsibility for what I am doing here ;-)
The items have been sorted into the following sections:
3: Essays and Scholarship
4: Reviews and Book News
5: Other Stuff
7: Rewarding Discussions
8: In Print
9: Web Sites
= = = = Obituary = = = =
Another of the most respected on-line experts on Tolkien lore has
I never knew David M. Gransby by other name than his user-name,
halfir, but i quickly learned to respect his knowledge both on
Tolkien and on related matters (halfir was very well read indeed),
and his judgement. One rarely learns and grows only by speaking
with those who agree with you, and I learned a lot from the few
discussions where I happened to not agree fully with halfir --
learning for which I will always be grateful.
I am sure that halfir now is perfectly capable of holding his own,
as Kristine Larsen suggests, 'in a lively discussion with the Good
Professor in whatever version of the Eagle and Child awaits the
Second Born beyond the Walls of the World.' ('Sea Birds and Morning
Stars' in _Tolkien and the Study of his Sources_ p. 82). Whether we
knew him as halfir or David, his wisdom and his wit will be sorely
missed by us who remain _within_ the Circles of Arda.
= = = = News = = = =
Erik Kain, _Forbes_, Friday, 1 June 2012, "On The Jackson-ification
Of 'The Lord of the Rings'"
Erik Kain admits to getting 'a little tired of the Peter
Jackson/Warner Bros. version' of Tolkien's stories -- not, I
suppose, because they are bad, but rather because it is a 'shame'
that they are 'quickly becoming the only way we experience Tolkien’s
work.' I suppose Kain would find himself agreeing with many of the
points that Ruth Lacon makes in her essay on the Tolkien Library
website (see the _Transactions_ for January 2012 -- no. XXI). In
this case the immediate cause for this concern is the Lego imagery
which is clearly copying the visualization from the Jackson / New
Line Cinema films.
Josh Vogt, _Examiner.com_, Thursday, 7 June 2012, "Warner Bros.
reveals extent of 'The Hobbit' licensing deals"
Well -- what it says, basically ;-) A reminder to those of us who
labour out of our love for Tolkien's work that this is not what
makes the world go round. At some level I am also reminded of Doug
Anderson's announcement in April that he has left the editorship of
_Tolkien Studies_ -- the Mordor business style is not limited to
Josh Vogt, _Examiner.com_, Friday, 8 June 2012, "LEGO designer
videos highlight LEGO: Lord of the Rings sets"
A reference to the new videos that Lego have put on-line about their
'Lord of the Rings' series.
_Geeks of Doom_, Monday, 11 June 2012, "Check Out These Beautiful
'Lord Of The Rings' Illustrations By Frank Frazetta"
A gallery of illustrations by Frank Frazetta inspired by _The Lord
of the Rings_. I don't think the mail that Éowyn wears in Frazetta's
version is very practical, nor that it would have served to hide her
gender . . ..
Lynn Maudlin, _Mythcon_, Sunday, 17 June 2012, "Mythcon 43 (Aug
2012): Progress Report 2 Available"
People will, as usual, be gathering for the annual Mythcon, and
those planning to attend (and even some of those not) will be
pleased to know more about the progress.
Sohmer and Lar, Sunday, 17 June 2012, "Least I Could Do"
Just for laughs: on the child-rearing effects of the all-seeing eye
. . . :-)
John Kovalic, _Dork Tower_, Monday, 18 June 2012, "Novel Game"
John Kovalic has created a series of comics that portray the
evolution of _The Lord of the Rings_ as the result of the Inklings
playing a table-top role-playing game. The idea is, I think, amusing
enough to warrant mention here, but I can't help but believe that it
would have been more funny if the author knew (considerably) more
about the history of the writing of the book ('Blimey, Ronald, old
man! You can't have us roll up that same group again -- I simply
won't play that silly Hobbit ranger, "Trotter" , any more!' "Well,
Jack, in that case . . . we do need a ranger, but why don't you try
to roll up a Man . . . we can call him "Strider" instead . . .'). Of
course, in that case the humour might be lost on the majority of the
audience (on the other hand -- who reads a comic called 'Dork Tower'
if not people who know about Trotter, the Hobbit ranger?). And do
read the following posts to "Dork Tower" since these are also about
the Inklings role-playing game.
Kirsten Acuna, _Business Insider_, Friday, 22 June 2012, "Um, An
IMDB User Actually Thought 'Lord of the Rings' Ripped Off 'Harry
I am sure that most of you have seen this story in one variant or
another. Surely this must be a troll -- and one that is just on the
edge between clever and too stupid, but I can't imagine anyone
actually being that . . . uninformed while still having the urge to
communicate on the subject.
= = = = Essays and Scholarship = = = =
JDR, Friday, 1 June 1 2012, "Final Thoughts re. Wilson"
I am just a little wary of my own reaction to these posts by John
Rateliff as I suspect that there might be just a bit of spite
involved in my amusement, but I can't help being both interested and
amused . . . ;-)
JM, Friday, 1 June 2012, "Tolkien's Metaphysics of Evil"
Part 41, "Hegel, Marx, and Sauron's Ring"
In his series on Tolkien's Metaphysics of Evil, Jonathan McIntosh
this month takes us futher along the road of his thoughts on
Tolkien's ponerology. In the first posts McIntosh is still dwelling
on the idea of the desire for domination (as the fourth sage in
Tolkien's 'lowerarchy of evil'), discussing the dependency of the
master upon the slave -- or upon his Machine: a theme that is easily
extended to a discussion of Sauron's dependency upon the Master Ring
and further to the concept of Morgoth's Ring. From there he moves on
to what he consideres the fifth and final stage of evil which is the
will to annihilation. From Melkor's nihilism (see e.g. _Morgoth's
Ring_) this moves on to claim that only God (Eru) can truly
annihilate anything, and to discuss suicide as an expression of this
nihilistic desire -- by committing suicide you do annihilate the
whole world from your own perspective. The last posts in the
'Metaphysics of Faërie' section this month are not marked as being
part of this series, but I suspect this is a mere oversight -- they
certainly follow on nicely from the discussions. The final posts
that I suspect belong to the 'Metaphysics of Evil' series deal with
Ungoliant and her 'unlight' which, in particular with the general
(albeit not universal) identification of darkness with evil, would
seem to imply a Manichaean kind of evil force -- hopefully McIntosh
will discuss this subject further in July.
Category 'Metaphysics of Faërie':
BC, Saturday, 2 June 2012, "Charles Williams - "phenomenally
This month Bruce Charlton writes mostly about Charles Williams,
whose vision he seems to attach much import to. Personally my only
interest in Williams is in his relation to Tolkien (who, despite
their being very good friends, apparently didn't like William's work
very much), and so I am unable to comment much on the contents of
these posts, though I found them interesting to read.
JM, Monday, 11 June 2012, "Saruman the Gollum"
A series of three posts (so far) dealing with Saruman and his fall
from grace -- his 'Gollumification'. I can see the point, but I am
not ultimately convinced of McIntosh's initial claim, which can be
summarized in the final sentence of the first post: 'Saruman is
sounding like a learned Gollum.' The idea that is developed in the
third post, however, seems far more convincing. The basic idea is to
see a number of the interactions with Saruman as 'an encounter or
conflict between a hierarchically lower yet more virtuous being and
a higher yet morally compromised being', which compares very well to
a passage from Milton's _Paradise Lost_.
JM, Wednesday, 13 June 2012, "Sub-creation and Augustine's
Expanding on John Houghton's work in the article 'Augustine in the
Cottage of Lost Play' in _Tolkien the Medievalist_ (edited by Jane
Chance), this post looks into the parallels between what Augustine
calls 'seminal reasons' and Tolkien calls 'sub-creation'.
JM, Tuesday, 18 June 2012, "One greater than Beowulf: Aragorn and
Tolkien's marginalization of the monstrous"
Some thoughts on Aragorn and Beowulf as rulers and as fighters of
MM, Thursday, 21 June 2012, "Did Pauline Baynes Choose the Location
On the placement of Dorwinion on the 1969 Pauline Baynes map, which
'it must be presumed' was 'communicated to her by' J.R.R. Tolkien
along with other places and names.
= = = = Reviews and Book News = = = =
JDR, Tuesday, 5 June 2012, "The New Arrivals"
This time we are told about a string of new Tolkien-related arrivals
at the Rateliff residence: a second edition copy of Drout's _Beowulf
and the Critics_, _Amon Hen_ no. 235 along with _Mallorn_ no. 53 and
an unnamed book (presumably the advance copy of Corey Olsen's book
on _The Hobbit_ which Rateliff discusses in a later post).
PC, Thursday, 8 June 2012, "The Hobbit is coming as are the film
Some news from the Tolkien Library about the planned publication of
film tie-in products from Harper Collins and Houghton Mifflin.
Mark T. Hooker, _Mythprint_, Tuesday, 12 June 2012, "Hobbit
A review of _Hobbit Place-names: A Linguistic Excursion through the
Shire_ by Rainer Nagel (originally appearing in _Mythprint_ 49:3
(#356) in March 2012). Mark Hooker is quite pleased with Nagel's
book, which investigates the place-names of _The Shire_ in both the
English original and the German translations.
PC, Friday, 15 June 2012, "What Would Bilbo Do? The Unofficial
About an upcoming handbook written by 'The Shire Collective', who
proudly proclaim on the front cover of the book that 'Everything I
Need to Know about Life I learned from Tolkien'.
David Oberhelm, _Mythlore_, Friday, 15 June 2012, "Good Dragons
The fact that this book, edited by Fanfan Chen and Thomas Honegger,
collects essays in English, and German as well as in French does
seem rather daunting, and Oberhelm also observes a 'lack of a
cohesive structure' which certainly will not help someone likely to
get lost in the several languages. Still, it would seem that there
are some gems in this volume for the selective (or dedicated)
JDR, Sunday, 24 June 2012, "Advance Reading Copy"
Rateliff has, probably not really surprisingly, been sent an advance
reading copy of Corey Olsen's forthcoming book, _Exploring J.R.R.
Tolkien's The Hobbit_, and speaks highly of it, though he doesn't
reveal much about the actual contents (except with regards to the
chapter on the riddle game, which has been read out earlier this
= = = = Interviews = = = =
MM, Friday, 15 June 2012, "An Interview With John Garth"
Michael Martinez' interviews with Tolkien scholars are usually
highly interesting, and his interview with John Garth is no
exception to that. The focus is, very naturally given the focus of
Garth's own Tolkien research, on Tolkien's experiences in the First
World-war and other very early experiences.
= = = = Other Stuff = = = =
H&S, Saturday, 2 June 2012, "Well, We're Back"
After a trip to England, Christina and Wayne are blogging again.
Among the news this time is the information that their _Art of the
Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien_ has been nominated for the Mythopoeic
Scholarship Award in Inklings Studies (see also the announcement
last month from the Mythopoeic Society, and their appearing at
Tolkien-related events this autumn. Among the other items from June
are accounts of various trips, including the trip to England in May,
that are quite charming.
JDR, Wednesday, 13 June 2012, "In Praise of (Other People's)
An old friend has gifted John Rateliff a number of calendars
including a number of old Tolkien calendars . . . three cheers for
that kind of old friends!
LS, Thursday, 14 June 2012, "Kalamazoo 2012"
Larry Swain's report from Kalamazoo -- officially known as the
'International Congress on Medieval Studies'. Larry went to his
first-ever Tolkien session (insert appropriate comment here) and
then only sort-of half-reports on it (please, we want to _know_!),
but Merlin DeTardo was reading a source-study paper on Sigurd and
Gudrún. Otherwise it seems an enjoyable affair as, it is my
= = = = Rewarding Discussions = = = =
LotR Plaza: "Tom B: Peeling the Onion (Collegium 1)"
To commemorate halfir, here is a link to a very thorough
investigation of Tom Bombadil that is mainly carried out by halfir,
but in discourse with other posters.
An interesting discussion of tragic figures in Tolkien. Somewhat
marked by a lack of common understanding of what constitutes a
'tragic figure', but that just makes for some equally interesting
"Tolkien's 'chief hero'"
Inspired by a blog-post in May, this thread includes Wayne Hammond
and Christina Scull's explanation of why they were so sure that
Tolkien's use of 'chief hero' refers to Sam.
"The Narrator's Voice"
A discussion of the narrator's voice in _The Hobbit_ -- probably the
one narrative element in all his published works that Tolkien
expressed the greatest regret for. What is good about it, and what
is bad? Does it make a difference whether something is meant to be
= = = = In Print = = = =
_Beyond Bree_ June 2012
The June issue of _Beyond Bree_ features a long article by Anne
Marie Gazzola titled 'One Lucky Hobbit: The Spiritual Journey of
Bilbo Baggins' dealing with Bilbo's great luck in _The Hobbit_.
Other notable articles include the seventh (and last -- at least for
now) part of Dale Nelson's series 'Days of the Craze', this time
dealing with the reaction of one Bill Meyers to Tolkien's work. Mark
T. Hooker has a very interesting comment to the change in editorship
of _Tolkien Studies_ in which he looks at alternatives to the
traditional academic publishing. On top of these there are the usual
collection of smaller articles, letters, comments, news and reviews.
Really, if you have not yet taken out a subscription, you should do
= = = = Web Sites = = = =
Now there is one lucky man ;-)
On how he received (part of) a letter by J.R.R. Tolkien and what is
Tolkien manuscript page
Manuscript page from the chapter 'The Stairs of Cirith Ungol' with a
picture of Cirith Ungol showing the entrance to Shelob's lair and
the the pass and tower beyond.
= = = = 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"
Morgan Thomsen (MT), "Mythoi"
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
_Beyond Bree_ -- the newsletter of the Tolkien Special Interest
Group of the Americal Mensa
- and others
Troels Forchhammer <troelsfo(a)googlewave.com
Valid e-mail is <troelsfo(a)gmail.com
Please put [AFT], [RABT] or 'Tolkien' in subject.
If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was
standing on the shoulders of giants.
- Sir Isaac Newton