Matthew Bladen, Monday, 8 August 2011, "Öjevind Lång"
Early in August the Tolkien Newsgroups were hit by the sad news that
Öjevind Lång had died. A long-time regular of the newsgroups, and a
personal friend to many of the regulars, Öjevind's warmth, wit and
wisdom will long be remembered by those who experienced them in the
groups. Öjevind also translated _The Children of Húrin_ to his
native Swedish. He will be missed! _Namarië!_
= = = = News = = = =
Robert Marquand, _The Christian Science Monitor_, Friday, 5 August
2011, "Tea-party hobbits? Hardly, say indignant Tolkien scholars"
One of last month's more amusing items was the appearance of
'hobbits' in US politics -- presumably intended disparagingly.
Though gainsaid by such illustrious Tolkien scholars as Jason Fisher
and Wayne Hammond, I will maintain what I said last month that the
comparison need not be quite as far-fetched as all that (perhaps I
should add that I most certainly do _not_ sympathize with the Tea
Party movement). This, of course, does not invalidate the points of
critique here levelled against the usage.
Arwen, _Middle-earth News_, Sunday, 7 August 2011, "Mythgard
Institute Partners with UWIC"
The news that the two institutes offering on-line academic courses
on Tolkien, the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff and the
Mythgard Institute, have entered into a partnership and will
recognize the credits earned at each other. Strangely the linked
pages at the Mythgard Institute appears to have been taken down
again -- does this mean that the partnership has stopped before it
H&S, Monday, 8 August 2011, "New Website"
Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull are moving their web-site to a new
host and a new URL -- see under web sites below.
Glen Weldon, NPR, Thursday, 11 August 2011, "NPR's Top 100 Science
Fiction And Fantasy Novels: Parsing The Results"
NPR has had a vote on the 100 best science fiction and fantasy
novels, and has now released the results. Not surprisingly _The
Lord of the Rings_ comes in first, but it's more surprising that
_The Silmarillion_ gets in as number 46. Lewis' _Space Trilogy_
only just makes the list as no. 100. I haven't found any other
Inkling books on the list. Children's books and young adult books
were banned, which, while this means that _The Hobbit_ and the
Narnia books were ruled out together with _His Dark Materials_ and
the _Harry Potter_ books, it also kept out such as _Twilight_ and
_Eragon_ . . .
John Rateliff comments on the list here:
JDR, Friday, 12 August 2011, "And The WInner Is . . . (NPR Fantasy List)"
= = = = Essays and Scholarship = = = =
LS, Saturday, 6 August 2011, "A Saga sort of post....."
Primarily on compounding in Germanic languages with a focus on
compounds of the old word for an enclosure, _geard_ or _garthi_. I
first read this post shortly after having helped my daughter with
her homework on compounds in modern Danish. In modern Danish there
is only one way in which you can put two nouns next to each other an
keep them as two words: if the first is a genitive form. Otherwise
you run them together in a compound word (you do this iteratively,
so you can, if you will, construct completely legal compounds of ten
or more nouns run together). Speaking of compounds and words, Larry
takes his outset from _Miklagarthi_ (Constantinople) and also
touches on Tolkien's use of _Mundburg_ and _Isengard_.
BC, Saturday, 6 August 2011, "Tolkien and the nature of evil: Morgoth versus Sauron"
Tom Shippey has discussed Tolkien's portrayal of the nature of evil
in _The Lord of the Rings_, but I think that the study of this
question based on _The Silmarillion_, and particularly based on the
late work on the Silmarillion published in _Morgoth's Ring_ and _The
War of the Jewels_ is due. Bruce Charlton makes a start of this and
that deserves to be encouraged here.
TF, Sunday, 28 August 2011, "Source Criticism"
Prior to starting reading Jason Fisher's new book, _Tolkien and the
Study of his Sources_ I wanted to put down some of my thoughts on
source criticism. Jason has stated (see the Tolkien Library
interview below) that he would like to win over some sceptics, and
so I thought it a good experiment to see if he manages to sway my
views with his book.
= = = = Taum's Aphorisms = = = =
JDR, Wednesday, 10 August 2011, "Taum: Twenty Years"
John Rateliff has been publishing a series of posts containing a set
of aphorisms written by Taum Santoski (what Rateliff says might be
called 'Aphorisms Towards a Poetics of Fantasy'), celebrating
Santoski's life and his contributions to Tolkien studies up to the
twentieth anniversary of his death.
No. 1: Wednesday, 10 August 2011:
No. 2: Thursday, 11 August 2011:
No. 3: Friday, 12 August 2011:
No. 4: Saturday, 13 August 2011:
No. 5: Tuesday, 16 August 2011.
No. 6: Thursday, 18 August 2011:
No. 7: Friday, 26 August 2011:
No. 8: Saturday, 27 August 2011:
No. 9: Sunday, 28 August 2011:
No. 10, Monday, 29 August 2011:
No. 11, Tuesday, 30 August 2011:
No. 12, Wednesday, 31 August 2011
JDR, Friday, 26 August 2011, "Taum's Aphorisms, parts I to VI"
One of the advantages of writing in aphorisms is that it lends
itself to a great deal of ambigiuity, so there is some room for
interpretation ;-) Rateliff says, in his comments to no. 6, that he
thinks that this one is 'entirely specious' though of course he
can't rule out the possibility that he doesn't see the subtlety, and
this is, I think, one of the dangers of this form. I am trying
myself to make sense of it all, and I think that there is some
valuable help both in Rateliff's comments and in other comments on
the individual aphorisms.
= = = = Book News = = = =
PC, Monday, 1 August 2011, "Interview with Jason Fisher about
Tolkien and the Study of His Sources"
One of the big news of late has been the book that Jason Fisher has
been editing on source criticism in a Tolkien context, and here is
an interview that Pieter Collier has done with Jason on the subject.
I doubt that Jason will win over many of those who reject source
criticism as a valid approach to Tolkien's work because they
probably will not read his book, but people such as myself, who are
very wary of source criticism without rejecting it outright may come
to view it in a more positive light. I look very much forward to
reading this book.
Damien Bador, _The Tolkien Library_, Tuesday, 2 August 2011,
"Interview with Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull about The Art of
A little extra information on the upcoming book by Wayne and
Christina on Tolkien's own artwork for _The Hobbit_. There is very
little to add, I think, except to note the intriguing promise of
their having 'one or two ideas' which they 'hope to develop with
HarperCollins and the Tolkien Estate' but which they are 'not yet
free to talk about'.
JDR, Thursday, 4 August 2011, "The Bones of the Ox"
We are, it appears, several who are reading _Tolkien and the Study
of his Sources_ edited by Jason Fisher. John Rateliff is one of the
contributors, but at the moment of writing, I have not yet reached
his essay on _She_ and Tolkien.
Kunochan, _Periannath.com_, Monday, 8 August 2011, "Glow-in-the-Dark
Hobbits & Homophobic Frodos: Rankin Bass' 1980 'The Return of the
(Thank you, internet, for URL shorteners!)
A rather humorous review of the abominable (as most viewers appear
to agree) 1980 animated adaptation of _The Return of the Ring_ by
Rankin & Bass.
JF, Friday, 12 August 2011, "My book is now published and
Jason Fisher is understandably elated that his book, _Tolkien and
the Study of his Sources_ is now available from the book sellers.
Kristin Thompson, Thursday, 18 August 2011, "editors discuss
"picturing tolkien," a new anthology on the lotr film trilogy"
Kristin Thompson, who wrote _The Frodo Franchise_, interviews the
editors of _Picturing Tolkien: Essays on Peter Jackson's The Lord Of
The Rings Film Trilogy_, a new book dealing with Tolkien and
TF, Tuesday, 23 August 2011, "Tolkien and Wales"
My on-line review of Phelstead's book _Tolkien and Wales_. The short
version is: it's an excellent book, buy it and read it yourself! The
long version? Well, read the review ;-)
JF, _Mythprint_, Tuesday, 23 August 2011, "Reviews: A Tolkien
'This review originally appeared in Mythprint 48:6 (#347) in June 2011.'
Jason Fisher applauds the concept, but doesn't find the execution at
all up to it.
JDR, Thursday, 25 August 2011, "My Newest Publication: "Two Kinds of
John Rateliff has also contributed to the volume _Picturing Tolkien:
Essays on Peter Jackson's The Lord Of The Rings Film Trilogy_ and
here offers a few comments.
PC, Sunday, 28 August 2011, "A Tolkien Tapestry: Pictures to
Accompany The Lord of the Rings Will be Released Next Week"
The text of the news-item from Pieter Collier doesn't appear on the
page that it refers to, but the news run:
Next week, on the 1st of September, there will be released
the book called A Tolkien Tapestry, that brings together
all art by Cor Blok. I'm very proud to announce this, since
I was asked to edit the book and find and scan all of the
art that was sold all accross the globe. Hope you will all
enjoy the result. Further this month there will also be
released a signed limited deluxe edition.
Cor Blok's illustrations to _The Lord of the Rings_ have produced
some very strong reactions -- one needs only to read a few of the
on-line discussions on the 2011 and 2012 calendars -- but though I
have, initially, had to admit that Blok's artwork was outside of my
limited sympathies, I have become increasingly curious about his
work. I have started to seriously consider buying this book.
= = = = Other Stuff = = = =
JDR, Friday, 19 August 2011, "Taum Santoski"
On the day of the twentieth anniversary of Taum Santoski's death, a
Tom O'Boyle, _Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Sunday, 28 August 2011, "The
Next Page / The eternal C.S. Lewis: now, more than ever"
I love Tolkien's work, and I am interested in the other Inklings
insofar as the group was an important part of the context in which
Tolkien wrote, but I have never read very much of their work (I've
read the _Narnia_ books, which I found preachy, but nothing else).
So, I glean what I can from what I can find, and here was some bits
that I didn't know about C.S. Lewis, and which I found interesting.
The perspective is quite obviously Christian (the article describes
what can best be termed a pilgrimage to Lewis' Oxford), but not in
an importunate way.
= = = = Rewarding Discussions = = = =
RABT/AFT: "Jackson's Dwarves are smarter Dwarves"
There were some attempts made to try and bridge the usual trenches
into which discussions of Jackson's film-versions of _The Lord of
the Rings_ too often, and too easily, fall. Though the attempts may
not in all ways have been successful, the chance to discover that it
is often minute differences in perspective that decide whether you
end up being regarded as for or against the films more than made up
for the eventual reversal to the entrenched positions of some of the
LotR Plaza: "The Ring and Ofermod"
The best thing about this debate, from my perspective, was that I
learned something about the scholarly discussions regarding the
interpretation of the Old English word _ofermod_ and of Tolkien's
interpretation of _The Battle of Maldon_.
= = = = Web Sites = = = =
I will try to present a couple of sites every month -- if I've found
a new site (of any kind) that I have found interesting, then I will
add that, and then I'll throw in some oldies to keep things rolling
Wayne & Christina
That Christina Scull and Wayne Hammond has a web-site is nothing
new, but it has now moved to a new URL, so remember to update your
The Tolkien Usenet Groups' Web-site Project
The pages at SilenceIsDefeat.net have apparently grown unstable
again, and so I will advocate using the mirror I have made on my own
web-hotel. Everything that was on the other site is also found
here, including the full overview of all our Chapter-of-the-Week
= = = = 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"
Larry Swain (LS), "The Ruminate"
'Wellinghall', "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"
David Simmons (DS), "Aiya Ilúvatar"
Troels Forchhammer (TF), "Parmar-kenta"
_Mythprint_ -- 'The Monthly Bulletin of the Mythopoeic Society'
_Amon Hen_ -- the Bulletin of the Tolkien Society
- and others
The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.
- /Hogfather/ (Terry Pratchett)