I cannot help a nagging feeling that there is something important
that I have forgotten to include in this month's transactions, but I
cannot pass^w remember what on earth it might be and I do wish to
get this issue on-line tonight before a new week starts, so ...
Having said already that I think that I have not even included what
I wished to include, it would appear almost superfluous to add that
all the usual disclaimers of course apply about newness,
completeness and relevance (or any other implication of
These transactions are posted to the usenet newsgroups
rec.arts.books.tolkien, alt.fan.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): <http://parmarkenta.blogspot.com
and on LotR Fanatics Plaza in the books forum:
This month it has suited my purposes to sort the contents under the
1: The Birthday Toast
3: Essays and Scholarship
5: Reviews and Book News
7: Tolkienian Artwork
8: Other Stuff
9: Rewarding Discussions
10: In Print
11: Web Sites
12: The Blog Roll
= = = = The Birthday Toast = = = =
As you are probably all aware, January 3rd was Tolkien's birthday --
his twelfty-second as the Tolkien Society ingenously calls it.
I will forgo a long list of articles and other celebrations and just
add this: "The Professor!"
= = = = News = = = =
Suzanne Camfield, _Focus Film_, Thursday, 9 December 2013, "Fox
Searchlight Developing J.R.R. Tolkien Biopic"
Sigh! So now Tolkien "was a code breaker during the Second World
War" (no he wasn't!) and "is believed to have been a large factor is
Lewis' conversion from atheism to Christianity" (the word is
'_known_', not 'believed'). I am still extremely sceptical of the
idea of a Tolkien 'biopic' -- mainly because I am convinced it will
not only get things wrong, but it will also emphasize some events /
experiences out of proportion because they make for good drama. And
these concerns are essentially my best-case scenario.
JF, Friday, 3 January 2014, "Stepping down from Mythprint"
On Jason Fisher's decision to step down as editor of _Mythprint_,
the quarterly bulletin of the Mythopoeic Society.
MB, Friday, 3 January 2014, "Middle-earth meetings of this year"
Being a list of Tolkien-related events in 2014 that Marcel has
gathered. A big "Thank you" to the Tolkienist for this excellent
Sarah Hoffman, Friday, 17 January 2014, "The Hobbit: an unexpected
lawsuit - breach of contract?"
An article about a lawsuit by Miramax LLC against Warner and New
Line for a bigger slice of the cake. The case is not really
interesting in itself, but as an illustration of the legal
complexities and the intricate squirming involved in these cases of
rights it is nonetheless enlightening.
= = = = Essays and Scholarship = = = =
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 a few that have stuck out more than usual for me:
"Beowulf in 100 Tweets" (19 Jan) -- though a funny idea, and one
that can surely be enjoyed by those who know the poem, I am not
convinced that it is always a good idea to deprive old tales of the
characteristics that give them their particular and individual power
"'The Torrent of the Human Race:' The Concept of Movement in the
Works of Saint Augustine and Its Impact on the Medieval Imagination"
(22 Jan) -- St. Augustine has been mentioned as one of the church
fathers likely to have influenced Tolkien's personal philosophies,
or at least his philosophical considerations.
"The Canterbury Tales as Framed Narratives" (25 Jan) -- Tolkien
famously worked with Chaucer both as a scholar and a teacher (the
failed Clarendon Chaucer and Tolkien's essay "Chaucer as a
Philogist: The Reeves Tale" are probably the best known examples).
And of course the idea of framed tales is also central to all of
Tolkien's Middle-earth writings (I do not mean to suggest a causal
connection here -- just a curious parallel).
-food-heavenly-meals-for-a-legendary-voyage/" (25 Jan) -- St.
Brendan ... _Imran_ ... "The Notion Club Papers" ... read here for a
bit of extra background.
"Figures of Evil in Old English Poetry" (25 Jan) -- One of the
things that have occupied me in my studies of Tolkien is the
philosophical underpinnings of his work, and this title recalls Tom
Shippey's excellent essay on Tolkien's "images of evil".
"Medieval English for Dummies" (30 Jan) -- a half-hour video of a
presentation about medieval English, from the language of Beowulf
over practical pronunciation exercises of Middle English to an
interesting comment about the modern status of English as a global
Lingua Franca (yes, I do realise the irony here) as preventing any
JDR, Wednesday, 22 January 2014, "2014 Tolkien at Kalamazoo
Tolkienian events at K'zoo -- followed up in the following post
(fittingly named "More Tolkien at 2014 Kalamazoo").
JG, Saturday, 25 January 2014, "100 years of Middle-earth"
In celebration of the hundredth anniversary of "the first known
public reading of Tolkien's epic prose." It may be stretching it
just a bit to name this report of a meeting in the Stapledon Society
the beginning of Middle-earth, but there are certain elements of the
narrative style that can be traced on to the epic prose of Tolkien's
Sørina Higgins, Monday, 27 January 2014, "Arthurian Geographies in
Tolkien, Williams, and Lewis"
A talk that Sørina Higgins gave at New York C.S. Lewis Society on
January 10th "about The Fall of Arthur and an imaginary, composite,
Inklings Arthuriad". The video shows the slides with the talk, but
unfortunately not any subsequent questions and answers (I doubt that
this is because there were no questions). Though I am still
sceptical of Sørina Higgins' use of a a conglomerate Inklings
Arthurian mythology as a device for investigating their Athurian
excursions, I do find her comparative work intriguing.
JG, Wednesday, 29 January 2014, "Tolkien, the Somme and
On the question of Tolkien's experiences in the Great War. Did he
share the view that the soldiers in the trenches were "lions led by
donkeys", or did he hold the military leaders in greater regard than
that? And did his perception of the military leaders in the Great
War influence not just his fictional writing, but also his
scholarship? (The latter is, of course, far less likely than the
Tolkienseminariet, Thursday, 30 January 2014, "17 oktober 2013"
For those who can read Swedish (or make do with e.g. a Google
translation), the reports from the Swedish Tolkienseminariet are
always gold-mines of information.
= = = = Commentary = = = =
DB, Wednesday, 15 January 2014, "stupid hobbit tricks"
I try not to spend much (if any) space here on the film-adaptations
of Tolkien's work -- I agree with what Corey Olsen said of Peter
Jackson's films (at the time, I think it was the LotR films only),
that one needs to see them as something wholly distinct from
Tolkien's work; it is a different story happening to different
characters in a different world. Lately, however, there has been
some nonsense going about that the changes to _The Hobbit_ are
really based on what Tolkien would have wanted, and I have suggested
that I might write something up about it. It turns out, however,
that David Bratman has already written this, and as usual much
better than I could.
Il, Saturday, 25 January 2014, "The Nature of Morgoth"
Morgoth, Xena the Warrior Princess, Greek legend ... There are some
curious parallels that Ilverai points out in this post, but
ultimately, I am not sure if it leads anywhere -- or if it is
intended to lead anywhere but to the pointing out of some curious
= = = = Reviews and Book News = = = =
H&S, Wednesday, 15 January 2014, "New Tolkien Projects, Part One"
In which Christina Scull and Wayne Hammond tell of upcoming book
releases -- _Farmer Giles of Ham_ and _The Adventures of Tom
Bombadil_ with illustrations by Pauline Baynes and a Harper Collins
hardback edition of the _Reader's Companion_, all updated and
corrected. Another dent in my purse, I'm afraid :-)
JDR, Wednesday, 15 January 2014, "A Forthcoming Publication (Tolkien
About a chapter by John Rateliff that is to appear in _The Kobold
Guide to Magic_. The book itself is focused on the magic systems of
role-playing games, but Rateliff will be writing on magic in
Tolkien's works. I am sorely tempted to find myself a copy of this
book -- having played also my share of role-playing games, it would
also be fun to see the discussions of RGP-magic, though I cannot
imagine that Rateliff's approach will be to look at Tolkienian magic
in the game-mechanics discourse typically used in RPG contexts --
such an approach would, in my view, not be conducive for an
understanding of magic in Tolkien.
BC, Wednesday, 15 January 2014, "Review of JRR Tolkien audiobook Sir
Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, Orfeo - read by Terry Jones
What it says, really ...
= = = = Interviews = = = =
JG, Thursday, 9 January 2014, "Finding My Way to Middle-earth"
I am not entirely sure where this bit best fits in. Joe Gilronan
calls it an "interview" on his own blog, and it is in reference to
his article "Finding My Way to Middle-earth" in _Silver Leaves_
issue 5, but it sports a number of his delightful pictures of Shire
scenery. In the end I have let Gilronan decide and thrown it in here
with the interviews :-)
Wander, Edinburgh Book Review, Wednesday, 22 January 2014,
"Interview with Jemima Catlin"
An interview, as the title says, with Jemima Catlin, the celebrated
new _Hobbit_ illustrator.
= = = = Tolkienian Artwork = = = =
A collection of very good pictures (pencil, I believe) based on _The
Silmarillion_. The text is in Russian, but an automated translation
is good enough to identify the topics quite well.
AD, Thursday, 2 January 2014, "Silmarillion Chapter 7: Of Fëanor and
the Unchaining of Melkor"
Chapter illustration for _The Silmarillion_ chapter 7, 'Of the
Silmarils and the Unrest of the Noldor' (the title text is an error
-- it is correct in the illustration, though).
AD, Monday, 6 January 2014, "Silmarillion Chapter 8: Of The
Darkening of Valinor"
Lauren Davis, Tuesday, 7 January 2014, "_Dresden Codak_ creator
illustrates each chapter of _The Silmarillion_"
This article made me aware of the work of Aaron Diaz on illustrating
_The Silmarillion_ -- a project that uses a style / approach that I
do not recall seeing before (of course, I am not as well-versed in
Tolkienian art as many others ...)
JG, Tuesday, 14 January 2014, "Gossip at the gate."
AD, Thursday, 16 January 2014, "Silmarillion Chapter 9: The Flight
of the Noldor"
JG, Thursday, 23 January 2014, "Treebeard Wellinghall"
Treebeard is seen walking towards Merry and Pippin in his
Wellinghall on the morning of the Entmoot.
= = = = Other Stuff = = = =
Matthew Francis, Wednesday, 1 January 2014, "The Road goes ever on
OK, so this has nothing to do with Tolkien (except for the title and
a longer quotation), but it's about science, and scientists, and,
implicitly, about their love for Tolkien (on which I have commented
also at other times). And ultimately this is my list and so _I_
decide what goes on it ;-)
= = = = Rewarding Discussions = = = =
"The LotR Book Club"
At the LotR Plaza we have started a "chapter of the week" discussion
of _The Lord of the Rings_, beginning, of course, at the very
beginning: the author's foreword ...
= = = = In Print = = = =
Oloris Publishing, Friday, 24 January 2014, "Music in Middle-earth:
Call for Submission for Issue 6 of Silver Leaves"
Well, not in print _yet_, but it will be :-) A call for submissions
to issue 6 of _Silver Leaves_.
= = = = Web Sites = = = =
John Garth (JG), "John Garth"
John Garth has created a blog. If you have missed this so far (shame
on you), you now have the chance to catch up -- make sure to
subscribe by your preferred method (mail, RSS, atom, Wordpress
account ...) to get new posts while the digital ink is still drying
"The Silmarillion Project"
"Every chapter of J.R.R. Tolkien's Silmarillion, as illustrated by
Dresden Codak author Aaron Diaz." Diaz describes his motivation as
creating "a Middle-Earth visually unique from the style of the Peter
Jackson films," adding that he likes the films, but misses "the days
when there was more diversity and interpretation to Tolkien
illustrations." The visual representation he creates is certainly
different from most of what I have otherwise seen, but very
fascinating in its unique expression.
= = = = 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 comment very shortly on any
Tolkien-related posts in the month covered by these transactions.
Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond (S&H), "Too Many Books and
One Tolkien-related posts in January 2014, cited above.
Jason Fisher (JF) -- "Lingwë -- Musings of a Fish"
One post in January 2014 -- see above.
Pieter Collier (PC), "The Tolkien Library"
Six Tolkien-related posts on the Tolkien Library in January 2014 --
three small articles and tree on books, a call-for-papers (Sørina
Higgins' _The Inklings and King Arthur_), an announcement (facsimile
edition of the first edition _Hobbit_) and a review (Devin Brown's
Douglas A. Anderson (DAA), "Tolkien and Fantasy"
No posts in January 2014
John D. Rateliff (JDR) -- "Sacnoth's Scriptorium"
Seven Tolkien-related posts from John Rateliff in January 2014. One
on the occasion of Tolkien's birthday, one relating to Bernal ("The
Thought Police" from 7 Jan), announcing the arrival of _The History
of the Hobbit_ for Kindle, the post on Tolkien and magic (see
above), one on what, at the face of it, looks a very far-fetched
attempt to link Tolkien's Middle-earth to Abyssinia, and the two
posts on the Kalamazoo Tolkien-programme referred to above.
Marcel Aubron-Bülles (MB), "The Tolkienist"
5 (more or less) Tolkien-related posts in January 2014. In addition
to the most excellent list of Tolkien-related events (see above),
Marcel has also proven that "It simply isn't an adventure worth
telling if there aren't any dragons" and "Fantasy is escapist, and
that is its glory." are NOT by Tolkien -- let's take that again:
those quotations, though often MISattributed to Tolkien, are NOT by
him at all. (Ah! That feels better!) Oh, and there are also a couple
of other fan-activity-related posts.
David Bratman (DB), "Kalimac"
and the old home:
Two distinctly Tolkien-related posts in January 2014 -- on the day
following Tolkien's birthday, Bratman posted on the Wikipedia
treatment of the story of Tolkien's brief encounter with the secret
world of code-breaking during WWII, and then there is the post on
Peter Jackson's _Hobbit_ films listed above. I will also recommend
the January 2nd post on Isaac Asimov's predictions for 2014 (Tolkien
expressed a fondness of Asimov's work), and the 'world according to
cat' series. The post 'Maia' is, despite the name (and the
appearance of Pippin), not about Tolkien ...
John Garth (JG), "John Garth"
2 Tolkien-related posts in January 2014 -- both referred to above.
Jenny Dolfen (JD), "Jenny's Sketchbook"
One Tolkien-related painting in January 2014 -- a tutorial featuring
a role-playing character from Tolkien's work.
Holly Rodgers (HR), "Teaching Tolkien"
No posts in January 2014.
Anna Smol (AS), "A Single Leaf"
Two posts in January 2014, one spreading the word on the
call-for-papers for _Humour in and around the Works of J.R.R.
Tolkien_ (Walking Tree) where the deadline has been extended to
March 3rd, and one referring to Marcel Aubron-Bülles' list of
Tolkien-related events and John Rateliff's posts on the Tolkien at
Various, The Mythopoeic Society
No posts in January 2014.
Morgan Thomsen (MT), "Mythoi"
No posts in January 2014.
Lynn Forest-Hill (and others), "Southfarthing Mathom" SM
2 Tolkien related posts in January 2014. The Southampton Reading
Group has had their usual two meetings in January, first ending
their reading of _Sigurd and Gudrún_ and then starting on _The Fall
of Arthur_. As always the reports of their discussions are very much
worth reading (if ever I'm in the area in time for a meeting, I will
certainly be begging to be allowed to sit in on it).
Emil Johansson (EJ), "LotR Project Blog"
No posts in January 2014
Michael Martinez (MM), "Middle-earth"
Eight story-internal Tolkien-related posts in January 2014 (and two
relating to the Peter Jackson films).
Bruce Charlton (BC), "Tolkien's The Notion Club Papers"
2 Tolkien-related posts in January 2014: the review linked to above
and a brief mention of Charlton's own first encounter with Tolkien's
= = = = Sources = = = =
New sources in January 2014
John Garth (JG), "John Garth"
Aaron Diaz (AD) "The Silmarillion Project"
For older sources, see <http://parmarkenta.blogspot.com/p/sources.html
Valid e-mail is <troelsfo(a)gmail.com
Please put [AFT], [RABT] or 'Tolkien' in subject.
We're leaving WISDOM
to starve and thirst
when we cultivate
KNOWLEDGE as such.
The very best comes
to the very worst
KNOW TOO MUCH.
- Piet Hein, /When Ignorants --/